Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Calculating Lite

David Gibbs III of the Christian Law Association, who conspired to keep Terri Schiavo's brain-dead body alive long past decency, and who is well known for taking even loopier legal stances, is back in the news, tempting one or more Florida citizens to make legal asses of themselves. Gibbs has argued in a five-page memo sent to the state Board of Education that the proposed science standards could face a legal challenge for violating the constitutional separation of church and state.

Pinellas lawyer David C. Gibbs III wrote in a recent legal memo that by singling out Darwin's theory of evolution as the sole pillar of modern biology, the proposed standards leave no room for other philosophical perspectives and cross the line between science and faith.
So, let's see ... science, which is not a philosophy but a method of investigating the material universe, because it is so successful at that objective, "leaves no room" for theological ... opps ... "philosophical" explanations of the material universe? Is that about right, Mr. Gibbs? The real complaint is that those nasty scientists keep showing that your Bronze Age understanding of how the world works is ludicrously wrong, isn't it?

Becky Steele, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, called Gibbs' claim "cockamamy."
I think she was being kind. She may also be naive about a certain brand of Christian:

"He claims that teaching science, based on well-accepted theories backed by factual evidence, is somehow promoting a particular religion in public school," she said in an e-mail. "Imagine them arguing that the Establishment Clause would be violated by teaching a calculus class that only expresses the 'worldview' of mathematics without any sense of the divine."
Oh, it doesn't take much imagination.

Bob Jones University Press: "Who needs a Christian math book? You do."

... "2 + 2 equals 4 whether you're a Christian or not," right? To most people that phrase sums up their belief that in certain areas there need be no difference between a Christian textbook and a non-Christian one. But what 2 + 2 equals is only a tiny piece of math. Far more important questions in math would be "Why does 2 + 2 = 4" or "Why does it matter?" Questions like those are the stuff of a worldview, something all textbooks -- even math ones -- communicate, and those questions will be answered differently by different worldviews.

Okay, Christian mathematicians, why does 2 + 2 = 4? What is the evidence that demonstrates that mathematicians who learned math using a Christian math text have contributed more to human understanding of mathematics than have mathematicians who studied normal math texts?
I hope you aren't holding your breath.
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