The wind has been relentless around here. We lost two sections of our fence last night!
I think I found the brilliant scientific minds that Ben Stein was referring to. A friend of ours is hyper, hyper religious and she teaches sixth grade. One of her students turned in a science project that I will re-type for you here. I've changed spelling errors (because, it was too painful to read otherwise). My commentary is in red (sorry, Russell...I'll bold the students words, too).
Project Title: Better Living Through God (Actually, the title is catchy.)
Question: Do unchristians make less moral choices than Christians? (What the hell is an "UnChristian"? And, while the question might be considered valid in a psychosocial or rhetorical manner, it's not the basis of a science project. And, how do you define "less moral"? What are the guidelines for "moral" v "immoral"?)
Hypothesis: The Bible is the perfect guide to life that shows us how to be moral people. Without believing in the Bible you can't know God and he can't guide you and give you rewards for being a good person. I think people who aren't Christian will be less successful. (Are you stunned by the verbal gymnastics, here? I am. Apparently, this kid has never internalized the concept of minimizing variables and giving precise criteria to an experiment. And, how would you measure morality? Success? And, wouldn't you need to first prove the God you speak of and then prove that he gives morality as some sort of prize?)
Experiment: I will interview thirty people and ask them if they are Christian. I will give them the same questions so I have a control sample. I think they are immoral if they score lower than 15.
(This kid doesn't understand the concept of a "control" sample. And, I love the arbitrary point system. How do you know if your subject is lying to you? When you see the questions, you'll note, as I did, that (on some questions) NO ONE is going to admit to the truth because it could be damaging. Oh yeah, and the kid put NAMES on the graph he made. So...I know who has stolen and cheated in our town. Mwa ha ha!)
Questions I will ask. There are 20 points available.
1. Have you ever spoke the name of our Lord in vain?
2. Have you ever killed another human being? (Yeah! Ha! As if some one's going to go, "Oh yeah. Quite a few...")
3. Have you every lied?
4. Have you ever had relations before marriage? (I had plenty of relations before marriage...aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings. Oh. Wait. He's talking about sex, isn't he?)
5. Do you go to church every Sunday or once a week?
6. Do you wish you had more stuff? (This kid must be a real killjoy at Christmas.)
7. Do you gossip? (If we tell you about it, it's not gossip anymore.)
8. Do you give to charity?
9. Do you listen to rap or heavy metal music? (I think I need to deduct the entire 20 points from my score for this one..."Damn it feels good to be a gangsta'." What a lame question. What does music have to do with morality?)
10. Have you ever had an abortion or been pro-choice? (Wow!)
11. Have you ever read Harry Potter or Spiderwick Chronicles or the Golden Compass? (How, in any way, would this speak to a person's morality?)
12. Do you see movies with unwholesome content? (Yeah...Jesus Camp.)
13. Do you pray every day?
14. Do you believe that God is the creator of heaven and earth?
15. Are you overweight because you eat too much?
16. Do you take pride in accomplishments other than service to God?
17. Do you put God and Jesus first?
18. Do you view pornography? (Again...like anyone is going to tell a six grader, who will be putting a chart up in a science fair, that, "yes!" they peruse Hustler and Jugs magazine.)
19. Do you practice temperance in every thing you do?
20. Are you quick to anger?
Are you laughing yet?
I will say, though, that the student admitted being surprised by the answers. His hypothesis stated that he believed non-Christians would be sinners more than Christians. But, his "data" showed that no one passed as a moral person.
Conclusion: We are all sinners and need to ask God's forgiveness and repent. Since Christianity shows us how to do that, it would make people more moral if they became Christians.
Yep. This kid needs to call Ben Stein. He's a junior scientist after Ben's heart.
(ETA: For the record, I'm not "tearing apart a sixth grade child". I'm tearing apart his science project because it's NOT A SCIENCE PROJECT. I'm amused (and frightened) that this project is clearly centered around Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort's version of morality. His teacher, a friend of mine, isn't that learned on science projects. And, since she knew my kids had just won school science fairs and were going to county, she asked me to evaluate this child's project for adhearance to the scientific method. To those who ask why she allowed it: she really wanted to see if he could make it a valid project. And, he could've. The tragedy isn't that this kid is a Christian. The tragedy, to me, is that he (and likely his parents) somehow thought an appropriate project for a sixth grader was interviewing people around him about their sins and then setting arbitrary criteria for morality. The project is flawed not because it's based on religion...but, because his conclusion doesn't reflect the hypothesis. If this were truly a science project, then the conclusion should've said something like "Christians are no more moral (by these standards) than "UnChristians"". But, he monkied the conclusion to reflect his bias. That's not how it works. To me, it shows the complete bastardization of mixing the evangelical, creationist agenda with science.)