Christian biology teacher emphasizes evolution in classroom, taunts his creationist students

Regular reader and blogger Biodork just shared a story over at her blog that made me smile. It’s a simple story (link). She works at a bookstore and, well, let me let her tell you. It’s titled, “I love my customers”:

I just met a gentleman who wanted to sign up for the bookstore’s educator discount. While he was filling out the registration form, I asked what subject he taught, and he told me he taught high school biology, with an emphases on ecology and evolution – Yeah! We traded favorite authors and podcasts (also, dude had to be in his 60s, so he’s hip, he’s with it), and he shared his guilty secret: He loves to antagonize his evangelical fundamentalist young earth creationist students (even though he’s a Christian) Hehehe…mean ol’ guy!

It’s okay to be a Christian and accept science. The evidence is overwhelming.

Just sayin’.

Be sure to check out her blog!

Thanks, Biodork!

29 thoughts on “Christian biology teacher emphasizes evolution in classroom, taunts his creationist students

    1. You’ve got to be kidding me.

      Taunt was my verb, not Biodork’s. You can read what she wrote. She said he “antagonizes” them.

      And antagonize them or taunt them he should. Those kids come to class equipped with nonsense, and this poor teacher has to re-teach them, because their inferior parents and churches can’t figure out what’s truth and what’s fiction.

      But seriously, by that logic that anyone who taunts someone is “not a Christian”, that means my dad isn’t a Christian, and I’m sure he would take you to task on that statement. I think that would call your beliefs into question as well, Marianne.

      “Oh, I don’t taunt anyone,” you’d say.

      Really? Really.

      Except for the comment on the video recently, your responses are strictly taunting.

      And that fucking post you made on your blog about the weather in D.C. being the equivalent to a “plague”, that makes you no different than Pat Robertson. Foul, ugly taunting, that’s what that post was. It’s endlessly surprising to me that you are in “science” and yet you believe your deity sent a storm D.C. — in the WINTER! to squelch legislation.

      Maybe if there was a winter storm in the dead of summer, would it make ANY sense that it was some form of providence.

      I read that the other day, and I was completely appalled.

      If I had any time in the world, I was going to put together an entire post dedicated to how ugly that notion was. UGLY.

      If that’s where your bar for holy miracles or “plagues” is set, I’m not sure it could get lower.

      Tauntingly yours,

      Jeremy

  1. It’s great that he teaches evolution but I’m not impressed that he taunts his students.

    (Does he “taunt them” by embarrassing them publicly, or by challenging them to think outside their self-imposed box? If the latter, then I take back my objections)

    1. I would hope that he does it in a way that fits within his Christian beliefs. I would imagine he did.

      I’m really surprised that the verb “taunt” was so controversial.

      He’s not hosing them down with insults … he wouldn’t keep his job.

      Suppose I used the wrong verb. My dictionary says that it is a comment made to anger, wound or provoke someone.

      Any oppositional comment made to someone who holds a sacred belief is going to find themselves red with anger if someone opposes them.

      By that notion alone, this man will be guilty of “taunting”.

      Provocation of thought is what teachers should do.

      I’m surprised by these responses.

      My best teachers and professors taunted me to no end. And I went to exclusively Christian schools.

      She’s Marianne’s saying that the entirity of my education came from non-Christians.

  2. Sometimes people identify themselves as Christians because they think themselves to be a good person, or because they go to church. Neither thing makes you a Christian. Sometimes also, wolves like to mingle with the sheep.

  3. It’s amazing how indistinguishable from tone and emotional cues the “bless you”s can be from “fuck you”s. It’s kind of like the “I’ll pray for you”s often coming off no different than “go fuck yourself”s.

    Maybe I’ve just known too many angsty younger Christians who’ve delighted in “knowing” they still win no matter what, because we get sent to hell. meh…

  4. Hey Jeremy – thanks for the mention – as a new blogger, I am always delighted to see my posts somewhere other than where I left them!

    I am bemused at some of the comments above, and thought I’d let your readers in on a bit more of the conversation, which was left out of the original telling. I’m relating from memory here, but the extremely nice teacher with whom I spoke this evening had this to say:

    “I have to admit that one of the joys of my job is antagonizing my students – I mean, when one of my kids tries to tell me that that intelligent design has to be true, I challenge them to tell me why. I just sit back and listen and and occasionally ask: Why do you believe this?, and How does that support ID?, and after they have successfully defeated their own arguments, we get down to the business of learning about evolution.”

    I hope this puts the original post a bit more in context, and makes the professor sound a little less like a douche.

  5. Hey Biodork – thanks for clarifying. With that new information, he does sound like the best sort of teacher: the kind that asks you questions that stimulate you to think for yourself.

  6. This world lures you, moves you along by peer pressure, to force you to conform to it’s ever changing standards. It draws you deeper and deeper into the pain, where you can’t feel God’s love. I’ve been there. It tries to convince you that God isn’t good if there is a God. Those with “higher education” will belittle you, to force you into silence.
    On the cross, you can see how it hurts God to hold those he holds. You can also see how it hurts him to let the others go. If someone is determined to go, you can’t hold them. They won’t feel your love either way. The Lord says to bless those who curse you. Maybe some way, some day, they’ll grasp the difference. But if you want to see God, don’t look at me or any other person too closely. Look on the cross.

    1. You know what hurt me the most during my years of struggling with agnosticism? The psychological abuse of my childhood tormenting me with the threat of hell. That took years to deprogram from. You know what else hurt? Never being given a conscious choice to make up my own mind on religion, instead of being indoctrinated it before my child’s mind had developed to even question things as absurd as Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny.

      Now that I’ve emerged from the other side of undoing all of the painful things religion had done to me, I’m a pretty happy and content human being. Getting out of that oppressive mind numbing nonsense and being able to appreciate a real pursuit of truth is the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

      If inexplicable explanations satisfy you. Fine. If throwing in your bets with bronze age prophets to get fulfillment after you’re dead. Great! It ain’t for me. No staring at crosses fixed that when I was losing my faith. It’s not like I wasn’t looking for years. I just finally realized those feelings from childhood were just feelings. There’s no invisible friend behind that cross.

      As a special favor to me though, could you avoid indoctrinating your children to worship a genocidal god? Oh, and not teaching that “his” holy book that advocates the slaughter of my friends, family, and loved ones (and me too!) is the literal truth of that genocidal god’s rules for us.

      I’d really appreciate that. There’s a cute little heathen kid here who’d really appreciate that too. We’re not keen on being slaughtered, dashed on rocks, or her being kidnapped as a rape slave. Oh, and have fun with your ‘pain-free’ religion… or whatever you guys are calling it these days. k’thx’bai!

  7. It is man that commits genocide. You know as well as I that Jesus advocates none of these things. Anyone that thinks man can establish either their own paradise or the kingdom of God upon the earth is deluded. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me… for of such is the kingdom of God.”

    1. Actually, what exactly Jesus meant when he talked about “the Kingdom of God” is quite a fascinating subject. Looking at early sources, before all the revisions/exaggerations, makes it difficult to tell whether it, in his mind, was something that could be achieved on earth or is something not obtainable until you die. For more information about that (and other things regarding what we can, historically, conclude about Jesus), consider reading the book, “The Historical Figure of Jesus”, by EP Sanders. Here’s the amazon link if you want to check it out. I highly recommend it:

      1. Timothy Freke is also a pretty good resource for looking into that version of Jesus’ message.

        Although he seems to be building an small empire on a loony version of Christian spirituality.

        It’s as if there are guys positioning themselves to pickup people who would otherwise become atheists, but get stopped in a form of spirituality on their ways out.

        Thanks for the response.

    2. “It is man that…”

      C’mon now. Does your bible still have that “new book smell” if you crack open the early OT? Or are you really suggesting that men callaborated to create giant whether machines, fire from the sky, plagues, etc… and that all those prophets claiming divine commandment for their deeds were full of crap… and further arguing that Jesus was not the same god behind all that and claiming he had come to fulfill their prophecies and law?

      If so, you might have your own problems “identifying as a Christian” that you should look into before pointing fingers.

  8. No Glock, I’m not saying those things. I am saying that mankind bears the responsibility for all that happens in this world. Man chose to trust in his own knowledge, and swallowed the forbidden fruit, hook, line, and sinker. It’s our world now, for the time being. I realize that I haven’t been very convincing at this point, but it takes time.

    1. Damn him for being flawed in a way that would allow him to question his creator forcing that creator to commit unspeakable acts of cruelty against him for all time.

      If only the creator could have been a god who could have seen that coming and avoided having to endlessly go medieval on his ass. Next time we should definitely try to pick a universe where the god is omniscient instead of just omnipotent and omnipresent.

      What’s that you say? He is? So every sinner who ends up in hell or who was punished in horrifying brutality on earth too, your god was fully aware of that eternal damnation and punishment when he made that person, fully aware of how he’d use his free will… but created him anyways to be smote and burned for all eternity!

      Now that is love! (or as some might claim: *buh-buh-buh-bullshit!*)

  9. Would it please us if God had created us without freedom of thought? Maybe it would because we wouldn’t know anything different. If I had been the Creator, I would have been tempted to do it that way. I know in my heart that I would have been wrong though. That would be like never wanting your children to grow up. I personally wish we could have it both ways. Maybe we can in Heaven.
    I think the way things are is a clue that God wants much more for us than mere existence. I’m looking at these things as if God exists, because I’ve come to believe he really does. What about freedom of speech? We’ve seen what happens in countries where speech is restricted. What would it be like to have freedom of thought, and not be able to say or do anything?
    Does God tolerate greater freedom than you or I would if we were in control? Remember that God warned Adam and Eve about the tree of knowledge. He wanted to retain the right to make the moral decisions that arise as knowledge is gained. Now we have billions of “gods” fussing and fighting over what’s right and what’s wrong. When life is good, it’s kind of like Heaven, but the world has a dark side that is more like Hell.
    If I were the Creator, I would be torn between whether to create robots, or humans, how much to let them think, say, and do. How long could I let the world go on? How could I just end it all. I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
    I think all people wish God would restrict some thoughts, speech, and actions, but then we want to tell him which ones. To let God decide these things requires faith in him. That’s where Jesus comes in.

    1. You’ve got it absolutely ass-backwards. Nobody was arguing against freedom of thought. But your view of an all-knowing, loving, eternal punishing god make for a triple paradox. You could philosophically justify two of three:

      1) An all knowing god who loves you but who wouldn’t create you knowing you’d just end up burning for eternity.

      2) An all knowing god who doesn’t love you and would burn you for all eternity in spite knowing that would be the result of your choices when he made you.

      3) A god who loves you and would send you to hell but unaware of what your choices or the end result of them might be.

      As soon as you add in a third one it ceases to make any sense. Nobody is arguing against freedom of thought. We’re arguing if you want to be convincing that your god should make a lick of sense, stop contradicting with all available evidence, and send witnesses with an ounce of believability. Sending legions of yahoos to change our opinion on evolution who don’t even know what evolutionary theory is… well… apparently your god ain’t very bright.

      Just sayin’…

    2. —Would it please us if God had created us without freedom of thought?

      It’s debatable whether we actually HAVE free will, even without gods mucking about. With this certain God of yours however, the New Testament co-opts the creation story: if Adam and Eve had never “sinned”, Jesus’ “sacrifice” would have had no meaning, narcissistic as it is all ready.

      —Maybe it would because we wouldn’t know anything different.

      It’s an interesting thought experiment to be sure. However, would God be more, or less, involved, than say, he is in this world? Where people can believe in a myriad of gods and think theirs is the right one? Yahweh isn’t even an old god.

      —If I had been the Creator, I would have been tempted to do it that way. I know in my heart that I would have been wrong though. That would be like never wanting your children to grow up. I personally wish we could have it both ways.

      You’d be more interested in creating a slave race? A group of people that would only ever do what you commanded? They’d never rebel for starters, and anything that happened would be your fault.

      Which is apparently still Christian doctrine any way.

      —Maybe we can in Heaven.

      Whoa whoa whoa.

      Whoa.

      Whoa.

      There’s life after death? Since when was there any positive evidence?

      —I think the way things are is a clue that God wants much more for us than mere existence.

      Sicknesses, earthquakes, hurricanes and typhoons, oh my! Killer asteroids, gamma ray bursts, solar flares! This world, this universe, is so apathetic to our mere existence (beyond the fact that we are alive and thinking about it, any slight change to our biosphere could eliminate us) that I’m not surprised you could delude yourself in to thinking thus.

      Unless of course burning forever or praising forever is more than mere existence.

      —I’m looking at these things as if God exists, because I’ve come to believe he really does.

      And others think he doesn’t. Kind of funny if he only makes himself known to a minority of people on the planet and expects the others to convert off the words of others (especially when those doing the converting are going about it in a sloppy manner, like abducting children in Haiti, or diddling children like the Catholic priests are wont).

      Evidence points against your anecdotal experiences.

      —What about freedom of speech? We’ve seen what happens in countries where speech is restricted. What would it be like to have freedom of thought, and not be able to say or do anything?

      Have you ever been to North Korea? Christopher Hitchens likens it to “heaven on Earth”, because you must spend every day in worship of the glorious leader.

      —Does God tolerate greater freedom than you or I would if we were in control?

      Why would he have to? He’s GOD. You’re dancing to his tune, whether you want to or not.

      —Remember that God warned Adam and Eve about the tree of knowledge.

      And did nothing to stop them? Would he not have known they would have eaten from it after they were tricked?

      —He wanted to retain the right to make the moral decisions that arise as knowledge is gained.

      Moral absolutes are the worst kind.

      —Now we have billions of “gods” fussing and fighting over what’s right and what’s wrong.

      /yawn

      Yahweh wasn’t around for much of ancient history. He came AFTER many other gods. Go do some research into ancient civilizations.

      —When life is good, it’s kind of like Heaven, but the world has a dark side that is more like Hell.

      Heaven is kind of like getting lots of money so you won’t have to worry about health care, taxes, or job loss?

      Hell is kind of like getting sick, losing jobs, starvation, and death?

      Those are very worldly definitions of what is supposed to be flip-sides of the perfect afterlife.

      —If I were the Creator, I would be torn between whether to create robots, or humans, how much to let them think, say, and do. How long could I let the world go on? How could I just end it all. I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

      Go raise an ant farm.

      —I think all people wish God would restrict some thoughts, speech, and actions, but then we want to tell him which ones. To let God decide these things requires faith in him. That’s where Jesus comes in.

      The moment Jesus comes in, Adam and Eve MUST eat the fruit and be kicked out, thus eliminating free will for this little mythology.

      Keep deluding yourself otherwise.

  10. Could somebody explain viruses to me? These should be the lowest creatures on the evolutionary ladder, yet they can’t exist without the higher creatures that actually have cells. For those who don’t know, viruses are merely some genetic material surrounded by some protein. They lack the complex machinery required to reproduce their genetic material, so must take over the machinery of higher organisms. So this seeming link between mere organic molecules and living organisms can’t exist without living organisms. Getting back to the initial subject of evolution here.

    1. “Could somebody explain viruses to me? These should be the lowest creatures on the evolutionary ladder, yet they can’t exist without the higher creatures that actually have cells.

      Why would you believe that makes them the lowest? You seem to be making a value judgement rather than an objective one here. Their chemical structure is well suited to replicate and adapt over time in the current environment of more complex organisms. Perhaps there is some confusion on what you mean by an “evolutionary ladder” here.

      “So this seeming link between mere organic molecules and living organisms can’t exist without living organisms.”

      Did you just confuse yourself hear? It all comes down to chemistry on both sides. A tedious organic chem class for starters and some heavier bio courses on genetics might help clear some of that confusion up for you. There are symbiotic and parasitic relationships between all sorts of creatures, from the complex organisms we generally assign more value to, to the more simpler organisms that still have fascinating chemical adaptations that have allowed them to survive in their current state.

      Modern viruses have evolved along with far more complex organisms (and given their reproduction rates and increased chances of mutation), they can be evolutionary speed demons.

      But a modern virus wouldn’t with its adaptations for modern hosts wouldn’t resemble the earliest molecular origins of life, which would likely resemble a chemical chain reaction / catalyst situation where variation is (or becomes possible) in a much different environment than we have today.

      I’m not even convinced that premordial “organic chem” would overlap as much as we think it should with modern organic chem basics. A very different set of chemical reactions may have eventually got to the needed state or replication and potential for variation. As with many modern biochem events, catalysts and materials from the environment an organism is in plays a serious role… and even within cells, the roll of DNA would be non-functional without globs of other molecules that allow it to be “unzipped” from his double helix.

      But your whole comment seemed to be confusing the idea that living organisms aren’t somehow made up of organic molecules in both form and function. A lot of the chemical reactions necessary for viral infection of cells is constantly going on in our body as normal functions of chemical reactions. Proteins and various other molecules chemically interact to allow material into and out of cells and within cellular structures themselves. This is happening throughout your body right now as a living organism… dependent on those organic molecules interacting in ways you probably learned about in high school or college chemistry courses, without the context.

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