Tag Archives: secularism
“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Antonin Scalia, in the case Edwards v. Aguillard, U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
This is one of the most hated, denied, and attacked statements on our entire blog. We used it in our book Antidisestablishmentarianism in the section “What Is Secular Humanism?” Both are available on Amazon for those interested in the context we provided. For those not interested in reading our book to find out the full context, this blog is a brief explanation of why this statement by Justice Scalia is an accurate statement.
First, here is a link to the entire case Edwards v Aguillard. It is available many places. This is just one possibility. It is large and requires a lot of bandwidth.
Second, Justice Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion in this case. If you understand how the SCOTUS works, you will understand that this quote is in the background section of his decision. This is not, in and of itself, either Justice Scalia’s ruling or an opinion. He is simply stating historical background.
Third, Justice Scalia took notes on testimony of Senator Keith. These may or may not be the exact words of Senator Keith. They might be the words of another witness or they might simply be the words of Justice Scalia. They are the notes of Justice Scalia which Justice Scalia entered into the official record. This notes section begins with the following words: “Senator Keith and his witnesses testified essentially as set forth in the following numbered paragraphs:” I have no doubt that both Senator Keith and Justice Scalia believe these words.
Fourth, here is the paragraph in full so that the reader may understand the complete context.
“(5) The censorship of creation science has at least two harmful effects. First, it deprives students of knowledge of one of the two scientific explanations for the origin of life, and leads them to believe that evolution is proven fact; thus, their education suffers, and they are wrongly taught that science has proved their religious beliefs false. Second, it violates the Establishment Clause. The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Id. at E-36 (Sen. Keith) (referring to Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495, n. 11 (1961));1 App. E-418 (Sen. Keith); 2 id. at E-499 (Sen. Keith). Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion. 1 id. at E-282 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-312 – E-313 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-317 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-418 (Sen. Keith); 2 id. at E-499 (Sen. Keith). Thus, by censoring creation science and instructing students that evolution is fact, public school teachers are now advancing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. 1 id. at E-2 – E-4 [p625] (Sen. Keith); id. at E-36 – E-37, E-39 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-154 – E-155 (Boudreaux paper); id. at E-281 – E-282 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-313 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-315 – E-316 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-317 (Sen. Keith); 2 id. at E-499 – E-500 (Sen. Keith).”
Fifth, Here is the Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 US 488 – Supreme Court 1961 case which was referenced by Justice Scalia.
It reads in part:
“The appellant Torcaso was appointed to the office of Notary Public by the Governor of Maryland but was refused a commission to serve because he would not declare his belief in God. He then brought this action in a Maryland Circuit Court to compel issuance of his commission, charging that the State’s requirement that he declare this belief violated “the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States . . . .” The Circuit Court rejected these federal constitutional contentions, and the highest court of the State, the Court of Appeals, affirmed…”
The important part is the last words of this next paragraph:
“Appellant also claimed that the State’s test oath requirement violates the provision of Art. VI of the Federal Constitution that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Because we are reversing the judgment on other grounds…” (Emphasis added)
You may look up the case for yourself, but the important part is that SCOTUS did not rule on the basis of “no religious test” but instead found Secular Humanism (not using those exact words) to be a religion.
Here is the exact wording of the 1961 ruling;
“This Maryland religious test for public office unconstitutionally invades the appellant’s freedom of belief and religion and therefore cannot be enforced against him.”
The exact words of SCOTUS;
a refusal to “declare his belief in God” is “the appellant’s freedom of belief and religion.”
Torcaso v. Watkins,367 US 488 – Supreme Court 1961
Sixth: “”Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.” Torcaso v. Watkins, United States Supreme Court, 1961
This is the same case quoted in point five.
Seventh: Justice Black based his comments on the 1957 case of Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda. In this case an organization of humanists sought a tax exemption on the ground that they used their property “solely and exclusively for religious worship.” The court ruled that the activities of Fellowship of Humanity entitled it to an exemption. These activities included weekly Sunday meetings. The Fellowship of Humanity case used the word humanism, not secular humanism.
Eighth: Torcaso v. Watkins is just one of hundreds of cases, most of them on state and local court (magistrate) levels. However, the most remarkable feature is the amount of agreement with Torcaso v. Watkins.
Ninth: Many Secular Humanist organizations have organized as religions and been granted 501c3 (charitable organization), as a religion.
Examples of such organizations are the First Church of Atheism, http://firstchurchofatheism.com/
The American Humanist Association http://americanhumanist.org/
The Church of Reality http://www.churchofreality.org/wisdom/humanism/
There are many other secular organizations with legal religious status with the IRS. Here are a few of the more well known “statements of belief” or creeds or manifestos. These are not recommended reading, but they are easy to find if you so choose.
Humanist Manifesto I, II and III;
A Secular Humanist Declaration by CODESH (Council for Democratic Secular Humanism);
A Secular Humanist Manifesto
“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Antonin Scalia, in the case Edwards v. Aguillard, U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
As President John Adams said,
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
“Trust me. I’m a Scientist.”
Hubby is working on the Conflict of the Ages Part 3: “They Deliberately Forgot” –The Flood and the Ice Age. Yes, this series has pretty cumbersome titles, doesn’t it? The first part is based on 2 Peter 3:5, where Peter nails the whole secularist amnesia and its resulting erroneous dogma.
In this work-in-progress, he quotes from a site called Talk Origins, where Secularists prepare their minions to go forth and do battle with nasty Creationists. That’s not the way they put it, of course. They claim to be objective educators simply trying to teach truth and prevent lies from invading impressionable minds. Uniformitarians are the truth-tellers, of course, and Creationists are the liars.
In our book, we are talking about science and history related to the flood and the ice age. You don’t really need to understand radiohalos to get the point of this blog post, but here’s a brief explanation. They are tiny colored spherical shells in rocks caused by alpha particle decay of radioactive isotopes, usually uranium, found primarily in biotite crystals within pieces of granite. These can be evidence of the age of the sample.
What you do need to understand is that the article on the Talk Origins site about radiohalos: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/po-halos/gentry.html:
is classic secularist strategy. Here are the steps in their process of discrediting Creation Science.
#1 Assert millions of years
“Plutonic rocks on the other hand cool very slowly, on the order of a million years or more for some deeply buried and insulated magmas.”
Very near the beginning is the usual dogmatic assertion quoted above. Plutonic Volcanic rocks are millions of years old, because they form deep in the earth and that’s how long it must take them to harden. No evidence. No proof. Just the minions gathering around with open mouths and adoring eyes at this “truth” that needs no proof.
Circular reasoning is essential for obfuscation
“Age dating” [is]“never fully successful as…observed damage halo was also a function of…the crystalline structure of the host mineral.”
Obfuscation means making clear stuff murky. The article claims that you can’t use radiohalos to date rock samples because the results also depend on the age of the “host mineral”, which uniformitarians “know” is millions of years. In other words, see point one above. And all the minions said, “ooohh.”
Invent an adversary
The Talk Origins Radiohalos article mentions “Gentry’s Thesis” as if this scientist were the only originator and exclusive propagator of the theory they want to discredit. The work they seek to refute has been a scientific position since at least 1918 and represents the work of many scientists past and present. There is no “Gentry Thesis”, but this artificial man and this misrepresented theory are easy to attack and discredit. They also mention the “Polonium Halo Hypothesis”, which is also a fake construct, because Polonium radiohalo information is not a theory. It is a tested and long-proven fact. This all reminds me of the “Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Good” mantra of the sheep in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Tell people you’ve put a lot of work into this … whatever it is
“… Decades of intensive field and laboratory investigations by thousands of geologists.”
Talk Origins asserts that because lots of people who worked a long time on lots of rocks disagree with that imaginary single man mentioned above, he can’t possibly be right.
Trust me, I’m a scientist, and I’m ‘way smarter than you or that guy you’ve been listening to
The Talk Origins article contains the assertion that Gentry was never properly qualified to speak on radiohalos in rock samples because he wasn’t a geologist, he was a physicist. How a physicist is not qualified to talk about radiohalos is anybody’s guess. But this secularist “teaching moment” is essential to convince the uninitiated that the high priest is the only one qualified to dispel the ignorance of the masses on their religious beliefs. Any creationist can be immediately dismissed as a reliable source if the secularist asserts he doesn’t have the proper qualifications to speak on the subject they want to discredit him about..
Hubby got into a fb message conversation with a person who adopted the position that he had never worked in the sciences and was therefore not qualified to speak in the discussion groups where he participates. The truth is that he has postgraduate coursework, has taught science, and is perfectly qualified. But his comments are dismissed because he isn’t a member of the secularist high priesthood. “Go away, little man. I’ve tried to be nice, but you won’t listen. Your words are of no importance.” Well, no, he’s not going away. The minions need to hear the truth with proof.
Secularists, when asked for evidence to support their position, reply with comments that show they neither read the article in question, nor do they understand the issues being discussed. Instead they reply with mockery, insults and ridicule. Their comments are usually off-topic.
They constantly ask, “What evidence would you accept?” like verifiable evidence is a matter of opinion. They also frequently ask, “What are your qualifications for saying that?” Perhaps they believe that truth and verifiable evidence changes depending on your degree, certification or some other way you meet their approval.
However, there are a few exceptions. Out of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Secular Humanist comments on the facebook page “Creationism,” I have seen a few attempts to present actual evidence.
First, I wish to thank Secular Humanist James Dickson for defining the Humanist position so clearly in two brief paragraphs. He opens by saying, “When I was walking home from work, I noticed people putting salt on their walkways. I know that salt will create a reaction that will melt the ice. I know this for a fact. I, however, could not see a reaction taking place with my eyes. We would be able to measure the reaction with the proper equipment, but just with my eves, I couldn’t notice a difference.”
Twice he says, “I know.” How do we know this common piece of knowledge? Someone with “the proper equipment,” to use James Dickson’s words, examined, measured and published the results of placing salt on an icy sidewalk. People like James, myself and the rest of you reading this article believe those test results. We have faith in the “proper equipment” and we trust the people publishing the results of their measurements of the reactions. That is exactly the way the words believe, faith and trust are used in the Bible. Those words mean examine and verify evidence, then accept the results of that examination.
James Dickson then continues. “We can’t see evolution over just one generation. It takes eons. It takes a LOT of time for evolution to occur. Why then, do creationists insist that we should be able to see great changes in a few generations?”
[ James has said we misquoted him in this statement. Here is the correction he asked us to include. “Why do creationists ask to see great changes over SHORT spans of time when they take eons?” You cut out ” over SHORT spans of time when they take eons?” This is very important information!]
I, as a Creationist, have often written similar statements and said that this is what secularists believe. I am always called a liar, because this is such obvious circular reasoning. “Why then, do creationists insist that we should be able to see great changes…?” means “Why do you insist on verifiable evidence?”
In this statement James Dickson is first accepting evolution on faith. He then says that evolution “takes a LOT of time” so of course there is no evidence.
Second, Ecotropic Recombinant Viruses, ERVs, or retroviruses, were presented as proof of evolution. ERVs exist today. They can be examined. However, when I asked how that is a proof of evolution, an article was linked to which “proved” that ERVs are responsible for mammals developing placentas. The article contained many observations of the way ERVs act and react in modern laboratories.
The article had no record of anyone observing anything like a placenta developing from nonplacental tissue. When I brought that key point up, the comments were all along the line that placental evolution occurred millions of years ago. They say that the current evidence proves that ERVs are the mechanism by which placental development must have happened.
Once again, this is circular reasoning, not evidence. Accept evolution as a fact, then believe that EVRs are the mechanisms that caused at least some part of evolution.
I am not this writing to question any of the laboratory work done on EVRs. But neither is any of the research done on EVRs any kind of verifiable evidence of what happened millions of years ago. The current lab work on EVRs demonstrates without question what can be done now, in a laboratory, directed by a human intelligence. There is no verifiable evidence of what an EVR could have done millions of years ago by random chance.
The scientific fact of a placenta today has no scientific connection to EVRs millions of years in the past.
But both of these points collapse if the earth is only 6,000 years old. Evolution requires time, a great deal of time, millions of years. As James Dickson said, “It takes a LOT of time for evolution to occur.” Creationist Science agrees with this statement completely.
So I was very pleased when Jake Benicio Lorenzo attempted to defend the concept of deep time. These earlier points are moot without deep time. He said, “”There are many processes which are simply more than 6,000 years.”
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof.
“It takes a photon a minimum 17,000-50,000,000 years to reach the surface of the sun once it is released, and our sun is a comparatively small star compared to others that have been discovered which are much greater in size and density.
When Olaf Roemer made “the first true measurement of the speed of light” in 1676, he did not know the actual distance from the earth to Jupiter. He measured the time discrepancy between the disappearance and reappearance of Jovian moons behind Jupiter when the earth was close to Jupiter and when the earth was maximum distance from Jupiter.
This measurement is not perfect. It is, however, considered very good, exceptional for the equipment and information available to Olaf Roemer. Even before this, men were measuring the diameter of the sun. They concluded that the sun was losing mass (shrinking) at a rate of .01 percent per year, on average. They used the same type of equipment and had access to the same information as Olaf Roemer.
Based on centuries of measurements of the diameter of the sun, Lord Kelvin worked with Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz to develop the Kelvin-Helmholtz contraction theory for the power of the sun. This theory would have the sun too hot for life on earth a mere 50,000 years ago. The current orbit of the earth would have been inside the sun about a million years ago.
The point is that humans have no instruments inside the sun. We have no way of knowing for certain how the sun is powered internally. So the statement that “It takes a photon a minimum 17,000-50,000,000 years to reach the surface of the sun once it is released” is belief, not science.
His next point was craters on moon. (Note that the writer used hyphens as bullet points)
“-When we look at craters on the moon and other bodies in the solar system, we find many craters. Debris are constantly bombarding the moon, however the impact craters that we observe are generally due to more substantial impacts. The newest crater (named Giordano Bruno) is thought to have hit the moon in 1178 AD which was observed by an estimated 5 people – this eyewitness account coincides with the results of independent tests. Many craters have craters within them and those craters often have more craters within them. This helps us to determine how old some of these craters are, and the estimates go way beyond 6,000. Even if you are skeptical about the testing processes, it is difficult to explain how our moon, peppered in many craters could only be 6,000 years old.”
This is very believable. That is, if there was no change in the rate of crater formation on the moon for millions of years. That is an act of faith, not science. It is physically possible for almost every single crater on the moon to have been put there on the same day. Not likely, but possible. Once again, this is not science. The scientific, verifiable fact is that we have no idea when most of the moon’s craters were formed.
The last evidence offered by Jake Benicio Lorenzo is fossil evidence on different continents.
“-When we look at certain fossils, we find that they are present on different continents. This is most reasonably explained by continental drift, which is known to take a lot longer than 6,000 years. The following image shows examples of this:
Once again, a superficial look at the evidence might cause someone to come to the conclusion that the earth is “a lot [more] than 6,000 years old.” The fossils are very real. They are very good evidence that there was only one continent sometime before the fossils were embedded. And there are far more fossils which can be presented as evidence.
The problem is “continental drift, which is known to take a lot longer than 6,000 years.” Yes, there was once only one continent. And yes the continents split apart. But scientifically, there is no evidence that the continents “drifted” apart. That “assumes” the continents have always moved at the same, or similar, rate of speed as they are moving now. That is not science. That is faith.
In a paper which does not support creation-science, “Not Continental Drift but Plate Tectonics,” this statement is made. “Plate tectonics enjoys nearly universally acceptance, and Wegener’s continental drift is recognized as a perceptive but fatally flawed forerunner of the modern theory.” The position supported here is that plate tectonics, a comparatively rapid movement of the continents, is true, and Continental Drift is not. The paper can be found at:
It is possible that plate tectonics caused continents to move apart very rapidly, perhaps in less than one year. It is also possible that this is not the way the continents moved. But the scientific evidence does not support the statement than continental drift is known to take more than 6,000 years. People may choose to believe that, but the evidence does not support their beliefs.
Everything that I have seen presented as evidence of deep time by secularists falls into the same pattern. First, observe some current phenomenon, such as the number of craters on the moon, the amount of salt in the oceans, the movement of the continents or the Grand Canyon. Second, carefully observe how the phenomenon is acting now or in the near past. Third, assume both deep time and uniformitarianism. Apply deep time and uniformitarianism to the current phenomenon. Fourth, claim that the current rate of the phenomenon is proof of deep time and uniformitarianism.
I used the Grand Canyon as an example because even though creationists and the National Geologic Society disagree over the amount of time it took to form the Grand Canyon, we agree on the method. The physical evidence proves that the Grand Canyon was formed by an upthrust. The National Parks Service has two monuments explaining how this happened, one in Flagstaff, AZ and the other at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon at the national park. On these signs it explains that the “Kaibab Uplift” took place “at least” 75 million years ago. Even though the physical evidence forces them to admit that the Grand Canyon was formed by a catastrophe, they still use uniformitarian beliefs to date the catastrophe. Since the physical evidence demands that the Grand Canyon was formed through a catastrophe, that catastrophe which formed the Grand Canyon could just as easily have taken place less than 5,000 years ago.
Nothing offered as evidence of an earth more than 6,000 years old stands up to true scientific scrutiny. And without millions of years, evolution is not possible.
Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods and other books about archaeological sites he has personally explored and studied in his search for facts about ancient times, is certainly no creationist. Yet he said, “The further back you go, the more that the history that’s taught in the schools and universities begins to look like some kind of fairy tale.”
Secularists have questioned how well homeschooled students do on the life science sections of standardized tests, since a belief in evolution is incorporated into the tests. Home-schooled students average in the eighty-sixth percentile, national average K-12, for life sciences. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/30/home-schooling-outstanding-results-national-tests/
“The study included almost 12,000 home-school students from all 50 states who took three well-known standardized achievements tests — the California Achievement Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Stanford Achievement Test — for the 2007-08 academic year. The students were drawn from 15 independent testing services, making it the most comprehensive home-school academic study to date.”
I choose to link to this article because it is representative of many similar studies. While there are exceptions in every category, such as home-schooled students who flunk and home-schooled students with perfect scores, these are average parents who produce exceptional results with very hard work.
But this blog is specifically about evolution and the life sciences. If the home-schooled are not indoctrinated into evolution, why do they do so well in geology and the life sciences?
The following is not based on a study. It is simply based on my personal observations working for decades with of home-schooled students, parents, and developers of curricula.
First, a large number of parents who homeschool believe in evolution and deep time. There are no hard and fast numbers that I am aware of, but one-quarter to one-half of all home-schooling parents believe in evolution, according to estimates.
Second, families who reject evolution are well aware that standardized tests include questions on evolution. Just as Esther did not want to be included in the king’s harem in Persia, we all are thrown into situations beyond our control. Many booklets and websites include the basics of what a student is expected to know about evolution on these standardized tests. It is a matter of conscience for the individual student. Should he put the expected answer which will be graded as correct by the standardized testing service? Or should he put the actual correct answer and have the standardized test mark it as incorrect? Because of the prevalence of secular indoctrination in standardized test taking, parents need to begin ethical training to face this dilemma in preschool.
Third, evolution does not have anything to do with real science, so the real science questions present no ethical problems to students. Over ninety percent of life science questions involve real science, such as, “what is mitosis and how is it different from meiosis?” “What is the genus name for a common frog?”
These are simply my observations which I believe you might find helpful.
Image from http://1photos.com