Thank you, Christine O’Donnell, for making such a raging, ignorant fool of yourself.

I wish I’d just sat down days ago when it happened, but, what can I say?, I didn’t.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

“And do local schools have the right to teach [religious doctrine]?”

Of course they don’t, Christine! That’s a stupid, facetious question. And remember, if they did, that wouldn’t be a good thing. Just becuase you think your version of Christian theology is correct doesn’t mean anyone else will agree. In order to teach any doctrine, we’d have to have consensus, which, considering the Pentecostal stand on baptism vs. the Southern Baptist stand, we don’t. Which isn’t even the point. The point is that if we let any Tom, Dick, or Harry (I’m looking at YOU Scientology) into the classroom with their own trademarked brand of bullshit, we’d have to let everyone in. And if we did that, well, we might have to admit that it’s all bullshit, and we REALLY don’t wanna do that.

“Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools!”

Which is, of course, not what Coons is talking about. But it’s very sexy to say things like “imposing your beliefs” because hey, people don’t want others’ beliefs imposed on them. What if, though, the supposed “opposing belief” is the law, or worse, the Constitution? I’d be willing to bet that segregationists claimed that¬†integrationists (?) were “imposing their beliefs” on them. Because, see, some beliefs should be imposed, like that it’s not okay to murder someone or steal from someone (I know that’s in the Ten¬†Commandments–it’s also common sense in most societies), whereas other beliefs, like, say, if you don’t take a magic bath, you’ll go to a place of eternal torment after you die, shouldn’t be imposed.

“I’m saying that if the local community wants to teach the Theory of Evolution, it’s up to the school board to decide. But when I made those remarks, it was because the school board also wanted to teach the Theory of Intelligent Design, and the government said that they could not. You have just stated that you will impose your will over the local school district and that is a blatant violation of our Constitution.”

Ug. I mean fuck. I can’t truly express how fucking irritating and exhausting I find this shit.

But I’ll try.

When will the religious ever be intellectually honest enough to admit that the so-called Theory of Intelligent Design is 1. not a scientific theory 2. religiously-derived doctrine and so 3. the government CAN’T support its teaching in public schools?

I’m so sick of the religious calling the Theory of Intelligent Design a theory. I’m so sick of the religious calling evolution “just a theory.” You know what? Gravity and relativity are ALSO just fucking theories! But I don’t see any religious dismissing either as “just theories.” I see them happily telling their kids all about gravity and relativity with no reservation at all.

Finally on this, it really pisses me off when people try to pass off bullshit pseudo-science as actual science. As we all know, a theory is a model that attempts to explain evidence. A hypothesis is a notion. I have plenty of hypotheses I have no way to prove. That’s why they’re fucking hypotheses. Now, I often mistakenly call them theories (mostly because “theory” is easier to say), but that doesn’t change the fact that my bullshit theories aren’t taught in schools because I can’t fucking prove them and so they’re not valid science!

“Two different things.”

This is an open request to any religious who ever reads this. Please, please, please explain to me, honestly (and I mean that! Be fucking honest!) what on Earth is the true difference between creationism and intelligent design??

“Evolution is widely accepted, well defended scientific fact.”

Thank you!! YES!! And you said it out loud into a mic and on cameras recording you! Thank you!

“The Theory of Evolution is not a fact, it is, indeed, a theory.”

I had this debate (which I’ll eventually post) not too long ago. People keep mixing up what “theory” and “fact” mean. As I explained to my opponent (and I was honest enough to look it up), there are two definitions of “theory.” 1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena and 2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact. The religious always clamp onto the second definition and never acknowledge the first.

So, for everyone, just because something is called “a theory” doesn’t mean it isn’t fact. It usually means simply that we don’t know WHY something is (like gravity), but it definitely is. Or we have a damn good idea of why it is, but we can’t say 100% for sure.

“If local school districts want to give [evolution] equal credence (?) to intelligent design, it is their right.”

I often hear the religious complain during the holidays about how either persecuted they are because they can’t put up their symbols on public ground or how annoyed they are that atheists, Wiccans, Satanists or whoever else also does. More intellectual dishonesty. And it’s a very practical issue. If the government says that one religion can display their symbols on public ground, the government has no choice but to let ANY religious tradition, no matter how unpopular, do the same. Otherwise, it’s an Establishment Clause violation. The only other choice is not letting anyone display because that would have no possibility of showing partiality towards one belief system over another.

So it is in the public schools. What the religious don’t seem to get through their fucking heads is that if the government allows any religious doctrine in the classroom, it must allow all. And as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster so hilariously demonstrated, the fact is that no one truly wants that.

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?”

O’Donnell’s defenders, including CNN, pointed out that what she (might’ve) meant was that the actual phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the Constitution. This is true. It’s not; however, that’s not the point and she knows that. She was trying to get Coons on a small, technical, irrelevant point.

Also notice how, after the crowd laughs, O’Donnell smiles. She had to have known that they were laughing AT her, not with her, right? I guess she was playing it off, saving face? I can’t say I blame her, but I don’t know that it was the best move.

“The First Amendment, the First Amendment establishes the separation [of church and state], the fact that the federal government shall not establish any religion, and decisional (?) laws by the Supreme Court over many, many decades clarifies and enshrines that there is a separation of church and state that our courts and our laws must respect.”

Here’s why I think that CNN and others were wrong. Yes, first Coons talks about the separation of church and state in more vague terms, but here he clarifies. And you’ll notice that O’Donnell interrupts him to interject her skeptical, “The First Amendment?” After Coons is done clarifying, she keeps going.

“So you’re telling us (?) that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

There you go. Had Coons not clarified, I think O’Donnell and her defenders might’ve had a small point. The phrase isn’t in the Constitution. But after Coons clarifies what he meant, O’Donnell persists. That tells me that she’s now talking about (and understood that Coons, too, was talking about) the concept of church/state separation, NOT the specific phrase. And, as you see, she totally fucks up, hopefully to her political detriment.

“Let me just clarify. You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

If I were her, I wouldn’t have gone this far. I would’ve just let sleeping dogs lie. All she’s doing is proving her stunning ignorance of the amendment (and the issues behind it). And take it from me, no attorney or Constitutional law scholar, in a list of 27, number one isn’t hard to find.

“Government shall make no establishment of [religion].”

“That’s in the First Amendment?”

Yes, Christine. It is.

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