The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘David Barker

Creationists get on the floor, everybody Walk the Dinosaur

with 2 comments

Another day, another attempt by Christians to push their ideologies on the general masses. Nothing new there, right? I’m surprised I’ve managed to make it almost a full week without vociferating about a religiously themed topic that’s pissed me off in the news. What makes the story different this time, however, is that Creationism is being taught in public schools, and students are being fed scientifically inaccurate, absurd explanations to justify the theory. Worse still, the information is being primarily provided to the students by volunteers with no formal teaching qualifications or experience – just an ingrained belief that Christianity has all the answers, even if the answers are about as credible as the existence of the Easter Bunny. Have you ever wondered why carbon dating puts dinosaurs on Earth so long before any form of humans? If you listen to Tim McKenzie, one of the Religious Instruction (RI) teachers interviewed for the story, it is because the great flood must have “skewed” the data. Are you fucking serious Tim?

PhD researcher Cathy Byrne found in a NSW-based survey that scripture teachers tended to discourage questioning, emphasised submission to authority and excluded different beliefs. She said 70 per cent of scripture teachers thought children should be taught the Bible as historical fact.

When looking from a scientific perspective, the Bible could hardly be classed as an historical text, given that it is open to incredible individual interpretation, and the validity of some of the information contained therein – such as the whole able-to-rise-from-the-dead concept – is somewhat dubious at best. But I will get to the feasibility of zombies shortly. A fact is something “that is known or proved to be true”, not something that is believed to be true by a specific group. That being the case, for these individuals to assert that the Bible provides historical fact and should be used in schools as an historical text is incredibly condescending and narrow-minded – is it the Christian way or the highway?

One of the facts apparently taught to the students was that Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell, which seems about on par for Christians from a perspective of rationality, considering that their faith is based on the premise that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified. One would have to suppose that if the concept of a zombie makes sense to these people, then the notion that dinosaurs could be held at bay by some sort of Hogwarts-type incantation seems perfectly reasonable. According to the The Courier-Mail article, when one Year 5 student was told that all humans had descended from Adam and Eve, she questioned how this was possible, given the scientific acceptance of DNA. The teacher – and yes, I have used substantial creative licence with that description – responded to this by stating that “DNA wasn’t invented then” and essentially dismissed what was a genuine, very valid question. This riposte affirms the position that if you question any aspect of a religion you are automatically labelled as trouble and a non-believer. That sort of approach isn’t that conducive to encouraging individual thought or tolerance, is it? Why the hell is it being allowed in our public schools?

Is it time to forego any form of religiously themed learning in our public schools, if for no other reason but then to ensure that the inquisitive, malleable minds of these children are filled with actual scientific fact, and not the unsubstantiated, nonsensical beliefs of self-appointed (and undoubtedly intransigent) instructors? If RI is to continue, how does one decide on what is taught? All religions have differences in their beliefs – be they small or immense – and the very unyielding nature of religion ensures that any faith that differs is seen as wrong. How is the point of difference to be worked around? Why not replace the RI with learning to encourage free thinking, as well as respect for other cultures and philosophies, and leave the pontifical teachings to the home of the individual parents and to their place of worship?

Why do I get the feeling that David Barker has had a stint as a purveyor of religious instruction at some stage?

Advertisements

God: Liberal candidate for Chifley

leave a comment »

I didn’t realise that elected members had the ability to bestow their votes, let alone to a fictitious, omnipotent being. If that’s the case, why doesn’t someone run in the next election and then give their votes to Batman – at least then things will get done, albeit in an unconventional, vigilante manner. As far as I can ascertain, the only person aware of this apparent loophole was David Barker, the dumped Liberal candidate for Chiefly, who – according to his now defunct Facebook account – believes that the Almighty would be an excellent candidate for Federal Parliament.

Religion has no place in politics. It never has and never will, because religion at its core promotes (even if inadvertently) the notion that only the values and beliefs that it is based on are correct, and that any non-believers or those of differing religious affiliation are wrong and misguided. David’s bigoted attitude certainly backs this observation up, as he has stated that non-Christians are “worshipping a false god” and that if elected, would give his votes to God. He has openly asserted that he believes there is no place in Australian politics for either an atheist or someone of Islamic faith, but that he, as someone of strong Christian faith, can push our country in the right direction.

The individuals we need in Parliament to develop and administer policy for the collective population as a whole need to be able to transcend their personal religious ideologies for the greater good. They need to work alongside those who are of a similar religious persuasion and those who are not – some will even be non-religious. People have a predisposition to distrust and cynicism when it comes to politicians, and we need more voters to take a genuine interest in politics. Having someone like David Barker using the political forum as his own personal pulpit does nothing to aid the cause of politics in Australia, especially when he comes out with nuggets of wisdom like “Voting should only be voluntary for Liberal and National voters the rest can not bother since with every vote they bring the nation closer to the brink of disaster and closer to the hands of a [sic] muslim country.” If I understand this correctly, he assumes that all Liberal and National Party voters are Christians? So by his reasoning, if one were to vote for Labor or (heaven forbid, the Greens) we would be dooming Australia to certain disaster? Where the fuck did the Liberals find this moron?

I am a big advocate of free speech and free choice. The concepts are part of what make Australia a great place to live. You can essentially believe and say whatever you wish – this of course includes religious choice. My biggest gripe is when people choose to push their thoughts and beliefs on the rest of the population without any regard for whether the masses want to hear their message, or whether they agree with the beliefs. The only thing that pisses me off more than this is when some clown uses religion as the base for their political platform and sees fit to subtlety attack anyone who doesn’t align themselves with the beliefs of the aforementioned clown. While I do agree that Julia Gillard isn’t our best option as Prime Minister, it’s not because she’s an atheist. Actually, the fact she doesn’t reference everything she does to God is one of her most endearing qualities – I just don’t agree with the ALP policies or her as a leader. That’s the difference Mr Barker – some of us base our votes and decisions on more than what religious figure a candidate does or doesn’t believe in. Did you actually have a strategy to win votes David, or were you just running for selection because God had told you to? I guess God neglected to mention that coming across as an unintelligent, bigoted, religious nut case with your constituents was never going to wash.

For some obscure reason, I’ve got an inclination to watch Star Wars. Damn, I nearly got through the whole post without a Jabba the Hutt reference. Oh well, I guess I’m going to be condemned to the depths of hell. What’s new?