Conversations with the Atheists at the National Center for Science Education – Part 1: Philosophy

The National Center for Science Education is a lobbying organization whose stated mission is “ … providing information and resources for schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education.”

NCSE greatly concerns me because in reality they are aggressively pushing an atheistic regime onto the public square, in particular in the schools, by totally and completely censoring any contrary points of view on the issue of evolution. intelligent design and creation.

Further, in my on-line discussions with folks on this site I find that they label any teaching of creation in the home or in Sunday Schools to be child abuse. I kid you not, go to their site and look at some of the responses to my comments under my moniker “AYearningForPublius.”

Don’t be surprised when you start seeing activity from groups such as NCSE to pass federal laws banning the teaching of Genesis 1:1 as child abuse.

The following is my recent comments into the NCSE blog.

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Good day, and thanks once again for allowing a contrary point of view. A point of view from a “son of an immigrant TV repairman from Butte Montana.” I hope it’s understandable for you Ivy Leaguers and Berkley types.

Several have responded to my comments, so I will try to gather my remarks into a somewhat general response. This will be part 1 of a 2 part reply … questions of philosophy.

What I have observed in my brief time here; reading various articles, responses to my comments as well as replies to a Mr. Robert Byers, and in browsing through a recommended web site is that NCSE is very strongly atheistic. Although NCSE’s stated mission is “ … providing information and resources for schools, parents, and concerned citizens working to keep evolution and climate science in public school science education.”, I find that a stronger motivation comes across as a mission of closing out any and all discussion of contrary points of view when it comes to the issue of “origins.”  A mission of keeping the kids in the dark and ignorant.

So let me cut to the chase. I may be naive, but I also remain the optimist. Many have engaged in this debate over the centuries, and many much more eloquently and persuasive than I. But I believe I can offer something of value to the readers of this organization; both to the hard core NCSE membership but more importantly to the casual visitor and just curious … value that may cause one to think a little differently from the received wisdom of the modern secularist as put forth by NCSE.

Although couched in terms of evolution vs. creation, the debate is in reality not one of evolution vs. creation but is a debate of atheism vs. theism; of atheism vs. God, and that is what I will address here. And in the context of NCSE, the battlefield of the debate is “what will be the world view of American culture?”

Atheism vs. God: At the bottom line these are the choices in the debate. Nuances and various flavors of each, but it boils down to Atheism vs. God.  Stated a bit differently, and as shorthand, but representing the positions, these are the two choices

“ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged”  Stephen Hawking

“In the beginning God created … “ Genisis1:1

So let me start with Stephen Hawking.

A fair characterization of atheism is the idea of naturalism; “the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.” This is also a fair characterization of NCSE as shown in their documentation and purpose; in other words “Atheism” plain and simple, with science playing a far distant second fiddle.

But may I suggest to you ladies and gentlemen of NCSE that this stance puts you into a position that is unnecessarily constraining and irrational. It is a self-imposed position that in essence puts you in a cave. NCSE’s position of naturalism is irrational simply because no person alive today, or at any point in history could make the truth claim that “nothing exists beyond the natural world.” You see, to make such a claim as truth would require a point of view, from beyond the very natural world spoken of in the idea of naturalism. So the very foundation of the definition of NSCE’s brand of science (i.e. naturalism) is brought into serious doubt.

In stating this position, I realize and fully accept that we, as limited humans, can only physically examine and study that which we can observe. But by opening up our minds to the idea that “In the beginning God created … “and informing our science with ideas that may be beyond the natural world , and turning loose our wonder and curiosity on that which has been created, we can seek to more fully understand the wonder of what we find. Instead of limiting our scientific search with such irrational concepts as “the illusion of design” or the “appearance of design” we can recognize the “apparent” designs as what they really are … real no kidding designs, and multitudes of them at many levels. And with this recognition seek to deepen our knowledge and understanding, and in many cases use such knowledge to our advantage.

Returning to Stephen Hawking, I wonder if he is perhaps a bit uncomfortable in his naturalistic position. I wonder at his searching for answers beyond the constraints of the natural world in his development of the “theory of everything”, and the idea of multiverse … an idea that is beyond the reach of science, but well within the realm of philosophy and speculation … and an idea that violates the basic tenants of the naturalistic brand of science. But such ideas could very well provide the beginnings of escape that some of you may be seeking from your unease with atheism and strict materialism. Or more realistically, but unfortunately, Hawking is simply seeking ways to deepen his atheism … but I can be hopeful, both for him and for some of you.

So now let me turn to the competing idea that “In the beginning God created … “ The Judeo/Christian world view has God existing beyond time and space … indeed He created both. With this view, it is not surprising or unexpected at all to find Lawrence Krauss, a world-renowned physicist stating “There’s absolutely no evidence that we need any supernatural hand of god.” At this point many of you will be yelling “god of the gaps … god of the gaps! He’s invoking that faith thing and the flying spaghetti monster!”

Fair enough, and that moves us to discuss the issue of faith and to the point where you and I both are confronted with the choice of what kind of faith to believe in. At a certain point both of us are faced with “scientifically” un-provable assertions which require a leap of faith in one direction or another. I believe the assertion “In the beginning God created … “ is an assertion, but an assertion from God … an assertion that cannot be scientifically proven, and I accept that. Many of you believe in the assertion “ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” or something akin to that, likewise, an assertion that cannot be scientifically proven but believed nonetheless.

Which is the more rational faith stance – the view from the cave, or the view from the cave but with the door to an outside world open?

The world view of the atheist requires Neo-Darwinism or something like it – it’s a necessary add on to atheism – the idea that nothing can create something. And thus is the heart of the battlefield where NCSE is fighting, as am I.

Next I will tackle the issue of evidence … and again, from a point of view of the “son of an immigrant TV repairman from Butte Montana.”

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4 responses to “Conversations with the Atheists at the National Center for Science Education – Part 1: Philosophy

  1. I looks like I have been expelled from the NCSE classroom. I’ve tried to submit my piece 3 times now, and it hasn’t showed up on their site as of now. I did however receive yet another nasty-gram when I inquired about my status in the NCSE site.

  2. This is just echoes of conservative fear-mongering. Whom are these people censoring? They are a non-profit organization that simply advocates a point of view with no governmental or institutional power whatsoever. And what offends so many people is not belief in god, but religious attempts to undermine science and pass religion off as science, which is dishonest and inaccurate. Also it is by definition not an atheist organization and has members from many different religious backgrounds. If only atheists cared about separation of church and state or accepted evolution then it would be a non-issue, as atheists are in a small minority and would have no power over theists in any democracy.

    • Not many organizations would publish an article bashing their organization and misrepresenting them on their homepage. Are you being persecuted and censored if you give someone a tee shirt that says “I’m an idiot” and they didn’t wear it? Most people would not be so obnoxious as to expect them to.

  3. This from CdnMacAthiest, a commenter on the NCSE site:

    AYFP, your missing Post was held back in Moderation for several hours, but I was able to view it since it was in response to me.
    It has been removed, which isn’t surprising as it was a subtly disrespectful, distorted muddle of faith-influenced, biased statements, insulting to NCSE, to science, to all rational thinkers & proof of why NCSE is a much needed, valuable resource for our youth, teachers & politicians.
    I spent hours writing a very long rebuttal to you – where I tore apart every sentence in your post – which I’ll keep a copy of for later, to remind me of mainly why I’ve been here for a month.
    I’ve been to your website & read some of your blogs, which are an indication of many aspects of your beliefs, worldview & politics, therefore this is the last time we’ll communicate, since I don’t wish to pollute my mind with delusional beliefs, or with junk science as at Answers In Genesis or the Discovery Institute, which you hold in some regard & along with far too many other financial supporters help them to export their nonsense to other countries & infecting them too.
    As with RB, I feel sad for the effects that the god virus had on you, & sincerely hope that you’re able to get well in the future.
    To the SLofA Moderators, I apologize for my rather harsh treatment of 3 Posters here, but I have little respect for folk who come here to spread their infections while thinking they are somehow doing good…. Mac.

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