If We Evolved From Monkeys

Nearly every day on Twitter, I watch arguments between theists and atheists unfold regarding evolution.
Evolution is a huge stumbling block for many theists because — for them at least — admitting that our species arrived on the scene via an evolutionary process and not by magic is an admission that the creation story in the Bible is wrong, and that god may not exist.
Knowing this, it’s not surprising that so many theists defend their position to the point that they not only refuse to look at the evidence presented to them, but they go out of the way to mock that evidence. Their hubris is such that they think the question, “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” is not only valid, but that a person holding a Ph.D in evolutionary biology would suddenly be rendered speechless at it being asked.
Although in these people’s minds accepting evolution would kill off the notion of god — it doesn’t have to — I think there’s another reason for this behavior and it is this: People who aren’t smart don’t like to be not smart.
By clinging to the creation story, and the notion that God did it, the theist can claim to have knowledge that even the egghead scientists don’t have. It places someone who lacks the education on the same plane or above those who have the education.
I’m not saying everyone who believes in God is dumb, but saying “God did it” is much easier than reading a textbook or scientific paper about concepts that can be hard to understand.
There’s a small part of me that feels sorry for people who intentionally stunt their intellectual growth like this because they’re afraid of what getting educated might mean for their belief system. However, I think it’s worth engaging these people when you get an opportunity because every now and then you manage to break one out of the Matrix. And even if you don’t, some of their arguments can be quite humorous.

Supreme Court to hear case on state funds going to religious institutions

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a Missouri case in which state funds can be used for religious institutions. The case stems from a program in which recycled rubber from tires is used to create a safer surface for children’s playgrounds.

A church in Missouri wanted funds from this grant program to improve their playground, but were denied because of a constitutional amendment restricting public funds to be used for churches.

According to the story, the church initially sued and lost on appeal, but now the Supreme Court is taking up the case.

The attorneys for the church make the argument that the use of the funds don’t promote any religion and therefore the church should be able to participate in these grant programs, however, people like Richard Katskee, legal director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State disagree. He says:

“It’s a competitive grant program, with winners and losers. … There’s a government official who decides who gets the money. That can be done because that’s the favorite faith of that government official. Even if it’s done on neutral criteria, those whose houses of worship don’t get the money are going to feel rightly it’s favoring other faiths.

According to the report, this is going to be a case to watch because it will challenge Blaine Amendments that exist in 38 states. About Blaine Amendments, the report says:

In 1875, Maine Sen. James G. Blaine proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would prohibit public money from going to “sectarian” schools.

At the time, “sectarian” was code for “Catholic.” Public schools required students to read from Protestant texts, sing Christian hymns and say Protestant prayers.

Religious scholars attribute the widespread adoption of Blaine Amendments to increased Catholic immigration — and the opening of more Catholic schools — in the 1800s, which led to a fear that the government would begin to fund Catholic education.

What’s interesting is this all started because you had one sect of Christianity trying to discriminate against the other.