Had a vengeful God not struck him down for heresy, the famed naturalist Charles Darwin would be turning 204 years old on February 12, and literate folks around the world are marking the occasion by planning celebrations in his honor. I had forgotten that “Darwin Day” was upon us until earlier this evening, when a hilariously stupid internet fable concerning a Christian soldier who, thanks to God’s divine intervention, was able to drive a truck without an engine, was brought to my attention. (note: The original story has since been removed from the web, but a screen capture can be found here.) Well, one thing led to another, and I found myself on Reddit, catching up on the anti-science internet memes spread by those among us who believe that evolution, as articulated by Darwin, and perpetuated by liberal, God-hating academics, is pure evil. Here, for those of you who don’t have a crazy, tea-partying aunt to send you such things through Facebook, is one of my favorites.
A United States Marine was taking some college courses between assignments. He had completed 20 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.
One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, “GOD, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform… I’ll give you exactly 15 min.”
The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, “Here I am GOD, I’m still waiting.”
It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and hit him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.
The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.
The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, “What in the world is the matter with you? Why did you do that?”
The Marine calmly replied, “GOD was too busy today protecting soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me.”
The classroom erupted in cheers!
And, now, here’s a slightly improved version authored by someone on Reddit calling himself Grimster.
Reminds me of another true story:
A liberal muslim homosexual ACLU lawyer professor and abortion doctor was teaching a class on Karl Marx.
“Before the class begins, you must get on your knees and worship Marx and accept that he was the most highly-evolved being that the world has ever known, even greater than Jesus Christ.”
At this moment, a brave, patriotic, pro-life Navy SEAL champion who had served 1500 tours of duty and understood the necessity of war and fully supported all military decision made by the United States stood up and held up a rock.
“How old is this rock?”
The arrogant professor smirked quite Jewishly and smugly replied “4.6 billion years, you stupid Christian.”
“Wrong. It’s been 5,000 years since God created it. If it was 4.6 billion years old and evolution, as you say, is real…. then it should be an animal now.”
The Professor was visibly shaken and dropped his copy of Origin of the Species. He stormed out of the room crying those liberal crocodile tears.
The students applauded and all registered Republican that day and accepted Jesus as their lord and savior. An eagle named “Small Government” flew into the room and perched atop the American Flag and shed a tear on the chalk board. The pledge of allegiance was read several times, and God himself showed up and enacted a flat tax rate across the country.
I’m sorry if that last piece is a bit of a distraction, but I couldn’t help myself… At any rate, I hope it doesn’t distract from the very serious fact that there are people in the world who, despite the fact that 150 years have passed since the publication of Origin of Species, are still fighting to keep scientific fact out of the classroom, as they fear that it may lead young Americans to question whether or not we’re really all the inbred descendants of two people who were plopped down by God into the Garden of Eden… among the friendly dinosaurs. Here, for those you who don’t believe that the threat is very much real, is a clip from Mother Jones.
In Texas public schools, children learn that the Bible provides scientific proof that Earth is 6,000 years old, that the origins of racial diversity trace back to a curse placed on Noah’s son, and that astronauts have discovered “a day missing in space” that corroborates biblical stories of the sun standing still.
These are some of the findings detailed in Reading, Writing & Religion II, a new report by the Texas Freedom Network that investigates how public schools in the Lone Star State promote religious fundamentalism under the guise of offering academic courses about the Bible. The report, written by Mark Chancey, a professor of religious studies at Southern Methodist University, found that more than half of the state’s public-school Bible courses taught students to read the book from a specifically Christian theological perspective—a clear violation of rules governing the seperation of church and state.
Many school districts pushed specific strains of fundamentalism in the classes:
• “The Bible is the written word of God,” proclaims a slide shown to students in suburban Houston’s Klein Independent School District (ISD). Another slide adds: “The Bible is united in content because there is no contradictions [sic] in the writing. The reason for this is because that Bible is written under God’s direction and inspiration.”
• A PowerPoint slide in Brenham ISD in Central Texas claims that “Christ’s resurrection was an event that occurred in time and space—that is was, in reality, historical and not mythological.” (emphasis in original)
• In North Texas, Prosper ISD promotes the Rapture, claiming in course materials that “the first time the Lord gathered his people back was after the Babylonian captivity. The second time the Lord will gather his people back will be at the end of the age.”
Some Bible classes in Texas public school appear to double as “science” classes, circumventing limits placed on teaching creationism. Eastland ISD, a school district outside Fort Worth, shows videos produced by the Creation Evidence Museum, which claims to posess a fossil of a dinosaur footprint atop “a pristine human footprint.”
While I suspect that this isn’t the case in most Texas schools, it’s certainly something to be cognizant of, and fight against. And, if for no other reason than that, I think Darwin Day is a holiday worthy of our support. (Personally, I’d be happy to make it a “real” holiday. I know we can’t have too many federal holidays, but what if we agreed to give up Columbus Day in trade? I could totally get behind something like that.)
As for local celebrations this year, despite the thoughtful warnings of scholarly men, like master-thespian Kirk Cameron, I’m told that the Michigan Skeptics Association will be meeting to celebrate on February 9, at an undisclosed location somewhere around Plymouth. (I intend to just drive around, looking for men in cloaks, carrying sacrificial goats.) And, here, if you’re not inclined to drink among skeptics, is a link to a list of things that you can do with friends and family to keep the spirit of Darwin alive. I particularly like the idea of hosting a Phylum Feast, but, as that would probably require work, I think I’ll probably just warm up some dino nuggets, and gather the family around the laptop to watch Carl Sagan explain evolution…. like this: