Biologos: People To Ponder

Typo fixed.

Thanks for the link. It is unclear to me what religious content this author put into her public school science classes (part of what she talks about is what she said to students in church youth groups, and that’s not relevant to your complaint). She seems to have mentioned Francis Collins as a person who was both a scientist and a Christian, but it’s not clear that she stressed the Christian aspect in her public school classes, as opposed to her church youth group classes, and it’s not clear that merely mentioning that some scientists have religious faith is in itself a violation of the Constitution.

In your position, I would have written to her to ask her for more specifics – what she actually taught or said about Christianity in her science classes – before contemplating any action against her.

@Patrick I’m convinced that BioLogos is not trying to insert religion into public schools as any sort of intentional strategy. It seems rather they are not terribly sensitive to the challenges of talking about public high school education in the current context.

I can’t speak for them here, but they might need to get some push back in order to learn how to adapt. It is not part of their mission to insert themselves into public schools, so I expect they will adapt.



Interesting to see these cases slowly working their way through ever higher courts, none of whom can agree, it seems. Thanks for pointing it out. Both the key cases mentioned began several years ago - pretty traumatic and expensive for all concerned going through a continent’s entire court system.

At the time, the whole zeitgeist around it was something to do with it being discriminatory to show you were a Christian airline clerk or nurse - nobody able to say quite what was wrong about it, except that religion was something to be hidden from the public.

It was tied up at the time with Muslim workers being permitted (or refused, I forget which) to wear headscarves in comparable jobs. The nurse being refused her cross on hygiene grounds seems sensible - but I’m not sure that was the original reason, and I’m not sure whether or not the current decision in her case actually reflects the best science, or just the judges’ deferment to the local policy - which might, of course, be for political as well as health reasons. You have the feeling the hospital were more afraid of patients catching the Christianity than methicillin resistant Staph., but maybe the judges did take expert advice, who knows?

My own practice was that rare beast in England - a Christian NHS partnership. It was started by two ex missionaries just before the NHS was invented and they contracted into it, and has remained more or less overtly, though not intrusively, a Christian outfit ever since - not without difficulty.

What was interesting was that in an entire career there I never had any non-believing patients (or staff, for that matter) complain about the ethos or how it was managed, and that most of the Muslims in town sought us out because we were religious. And some of the Hindus too, because one of us spoke Gujurati.

The freedom, and willingness, to give of what were were as human beings, rather than medical technicians alone, made us one of the more popular practices in town. Freedom of speech (as opposed to insistence on saying what you please) makes nations work better, not worse.


I am really concerned about this young woman’s career. I hope the nastiness doesn’t harm her too much. She seems like a fine educator who has done much for science education during her career. I would hope it gets handled fairly and appropriately with out any grandstanding by any organization.


Eddie, please take a look at the statement that I put in bold concerning Dr. Collins resume that she advocated other teachers telling their students about. As a government employee is she favoring Christianity over Atheism in what can be accomplished in science? Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Collins is the type of scientist the kids should know about but without any reference to Dr. Collins beliefs and certainly not advertising Biologos. Note that I would not advocate Dawkin’s, Coyne’s or Krause’s non-beliefs to be mentioned in public school.

I agree that her statement could be read that way. But I find her whole article so fluffy and vague that I would prefer to have a list of exactly what statements she has made in actual public school classrooms about Collins, God, and Christianity, before accusing her of constitutional violation. And I would prefer to have confirmation from students who heard her make the statements, regarding exactly what she said. I don’t like putting people on trial on imprecise charges and without the testimony of witnesses.

I think there are two issues.

  1. What she actually did in the classroom, which may very well have been benign.

  2. The article itself, which she does from a policy setting position in a school district, without clarifying how this should be done in a way that maintains neutrality.

I think @Patrick is more concerned about #2, not #1. It is possible that better context and clarification in the article could have removed concern too.

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She is not in the classroom at all. So #1 doesn’t enter into anything. She is the County coordinator of science curriculum which recommends policy to the County Board of Education. She has no authority to set policy just make recommendation that the County Board of Education could adapt or not. So the real question here is why a low-level county dept of education science corrdinator posting on a Biologos webstie about what Christian science teachers can do in their classrooms?

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If I understood her article, she indicated that even if she was not in the classroom now, she had been in the past, and that she had made some comments about Collins and scientists with faith in that context. That is why I would like to hear from students who were in those classrooms: Did any of them launch any protest against anything she said? Did any complain that religion was being improperly introduced into the classroom?

However, I agree that the larger issue is the policy issue. It should be said, however, that her remarks are very atypical of BioLogos. I have never before seen a BioLogos column advocating any kind of discussion of faith in science class. She is an outrider, not typical of BioLogos thinking on this subject. Which is not surprising; she is a guest columnist, probably one-shot, and BioLogos always indicates that such columnists don’t speak for it.

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Very good.thank you.

Not that I am aware of and it wouldn’t matter anyway as it happened long ago. (No standing to sue) Protests are usually not made as the overwhelming majority of public school students are Christians. What would they have to complain about? FFRF doesn’t get many complaints from Jews or Muslims about the Christianities dominance in US society. Until very recently the Nones were very ambivalent and wouldn’t come out of the closet to complain.

Biologos is now short on staff. They don’t have material writers left to write material. It is a boring 501c3 corp with not much to show for the Templeton dollars it receives. I believe that DI’s sudden public conversion to Christianity has been orchestrated by Templeton. And the sudden interest in Peaceful Science by DI - again Templeton. Templeton is playing and pulling all the strings.

I for one am grateful to Biologos for helping me to think rationally outside the YEC box, both in science and faith. I still have a lot to learn.


But the origins debate is getting worn out in this country. Demographics are changing. Millienials (those under 34) are more educated, more skeptical and less accepting of religious doctrine and dogma. For the powerful Evangelical Christian Right in this country how to maintain power in a rapidly secularizing world is a bigger challenge. One only needs to look at Ark Encounter attendance and the growing acceptance of same sex marriage to see the rapid change in society. Also we may be witnessing the collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, it may topple from the Priest Child Abuse scandal. Groups like Biologos, Discovery Institute, AiG, RTB aren’t doing anything to stop the societal tsunami that is occurring.

These groups are all predicated on wining the debate.

Exactly. Everyone is tired of that mess.

However, there is another way. A New Generation Wants a Better Way. Instead fighting for answers, we could approach the grand questions together. Instead of acrimony, we could find ways to peace. Origins is important, after all. It is part of what makes us human to wonder from where we came and where we are going.

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8 posts were split to a new topic: The Ark Encounter or The Bible Museum

One of the positions our Founding Fathers set up for us and which have lasted until the present day. What they set up has worked out pretty well overall (this too shall pass :slight_smile:) one would have to say. From their Enlightenment perspective they had pretty good reasons to build the “wall of separation” between religion and politics in our constitution and subsequent precedent. You guys have managed to work things out well since then, and it works no doubt. But there are still good arguments for keeping any individual religious perspective out of a government for all and paid for by all. Frankly, if the majority of religious perspective in the US had more in common with say present company, I would be less concerned in general. Some of the fascists out there are a little frightening and when they try to get their foot in the door, it’s not simply about having their private beliefs (not referring here to the case under question in the OP, personally). No one is stopping anyone in US politics from having their private beliefs (often and publicly stated) as you do seem to have noticed!


6 posts were split to a new topic: Peaceful Science a new Mid Point?