Atheists protest teaching creationism at Arroyo Grande High School

April 25, 2015

creationismAmid several complaints about an Arroyo Grande High School science educator allegedly teaching creationism, the principal said he would put an end to it and the school district is planning to investigate, according to a Atheists United of San Luis Obispo press release.

The teacher, Brandon Pettenger, has allegedly been discussing creationism as an alternative to evolution and recently devoted three days of class time to watching the Bill Nye – Ken Ham debate “Is Creation A Viable Model of Origins?” In addition, Pettenger allegedly asked the students to summarize a pro-creationist blog posting as homework.

One concerned mother contacted both the district and Principal Conan Bowers.

“This isn’t an anti-religious stance, this is about my son learning science,” said the mother who does not want to disclose her identity. “My son has been upset and frustrated about this since day one. He loves school but he hasn’t wanted to be in this class.”

In 1987, the Supreme Court struck down teaching “scientific creationism” in public schools and in 2005, a federal court ruled that creationism and intelligent design were religious views and did not qualify as scientific theories.

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The Evolution “Theroy” is missing way too many links. The idea that we are nothing more than biological blobs with no purpose is preposterous. To believe in this theory is to believe that nothing has meaning or purpose, it’s just all one big fat chance accident.

Likewise, I do recognize that there is much missing from the creation story in the book of Genesis.

Regardless, I’ll go for noting that time didn’t exist, “In The Beginning”.

God Bless us.

Ana di Plosis

What’s a “Theroy”? Are you referring to the rOy who posts comments on CCN? All kidding aside, the theory of evolution does not posit any ideas about the purpose or value of life; it simply provides a compelling explanation of the means by which life, in all of its diversity, came about on planet earth, from single-celled organisms to the ultra-complex species that we have become. There is nothing in the theory of evolution that rules out God as setting it all in motion; it simply rules out the antiquated notion that everything was created in 6 solar days, and that homo sapien sapiens were specially created. Scientifically-literate people of faith have no trouble blending what they know about the natural world and what they believe about the spiritual world.


As a person who uses science every day it is pretty sad that you actually ‘think’ (and I use that term loosely) that Evolution has anything to do with “…idea that we are nothing more than biological blobs with no purpose…” “) You do use science based concepts and things every day, don’t you?


Dr Hurd, do you deny the existence of God?


Like Darwin himself, I remain agnostic. This is in the original sense, the existence or non-existence of god(s) is not subject to verification. I am reasonably certain that none of the gods I have ever heard of exist. But I could be wrong.


Always curious to me why folks who are Educated hide behind that title as though it is who they are and not how much schooling they have been exposed to. Take old man Hurd here, his pretentious, self absorbed approach to a topic (such as the one we are discussing) gets more credibility because he puts a “DR” in front of his name for the rest of us to marvel at and bow down to? Weird I say. Pretty easy to quote dead poets GS, how about some original thought. Do you make your family call you doctor?


Why do hide behind a phoney name? Are you ashamed of something?

If you ever earn a doctorate you will understand a little better. I earned mine unlike creationist phonies like Carl Baugh, or Kent Hovind.

Sarah Bellem

Envious of GS are we? You may achieve what he has only in your dreams


so we have ourselves a reader ! someone who reads and comprehends!


I appreciate your answer. Very rarely, if ever, in these types of conversations do I have someone say, “I could be wrong”.

By the way, I don’t use my real name because, when I did a few years ago, I had death threats and harassment at work. I hope you can respect that. I admire people that use their real names. I, unfortunately, can no longer do that.

Sarah Bellem

You guys should listen to the good Dr. Listening to him may get you a job someday or save you from embarrassment if you ever step out of the Creationist bubble.

It’s all kind of mute anyway

What part of against the law don’t you understand? Evolution is fact. Teaching Creation and ID are both against the law. That isn’t going to change.

I have seen interviews of Creationists and to a person they say there is NOTHING that would ever change their belief in Creation, So what’s the point of discussing it.

If Jesus put a big constellation up in the sky saying “I’m here” Scietfic opinion would change overnight


“Evolution is fact”

Which is precisely why you people are impossible to have a discussion with…you have already decided the parameters and end result of the discussion with NO IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE to back up such a brash statement.


Actually Perspicacious, evolution is a fact just like gravity. The science of gravity is more obviously incomplete than the theory of evolution. But we consider all scientific theories “works in progress.”

Just like Isaac Newton’s physics was extended by Einstein’s relativity and Bohr’s quantum theory, evolutionary theory has become far advanced from Darwin and Wallace’s work 150 years ago.


If it is a “theory”, how can it be fact?


Now you are just trolling

Sarah Bellem

You need to learn some biology!!. However there will always be jobs cooking hamburgers.. Maybe some day you’ll be a McDonalds manager.


Do you realize that there is no successful theory of gravity? If you dispute the fact of gravity, I suggest avoiding bridges, or tall buildings.

The facts of evolution are that organisms vary within reproductive populations; these variations are transmitted between generations; some variations are more reproductively successful than others in specific habitats; subpopulations become reproductively isolated; physically similar species are closely related genetically; geographically close species which are physically similar are genetically similar; species become extinct.

Those are all facts. The theory of evolution explains those facts.

The theory of evolution is actually more successful than the various ‘theories of gravity.”


I do have a lot of firewall protection on my system. Back in the 1990s I was occasionally took part in homicide investigations as a data recovery and taphonomy consultant. The death threats were very real. I was very careful about personal data. Nobody has threatened to kill me for nearly a year. I must be loosing my edge.


LOL! yeah, it has been about 3 years for me. I am REALLY losing my edge. :)

Sarah Bellem

It is reasonable to be agnostic or otherwise skeptical of a deity who is never seen. Jesus promised he would come back to his disciples in their lifetimes. 2 Thousand years later he still hasn’t shown up. We’re waiting.


He did, 3 days later.


Sure, also the rapture already happened too and ya’ll are in with the leftovers.

See global warming is true, it’s gods will because we have been crappy stewards of the land and to our brothers and sisters, so slow bake with lukewarm fire etc.


Wow, quite enlightening, this topic really brought out the libs and educators. The extreme intolerance of exposing students to some thought other than evolution is showing. Remarks defending a mention of a deity and creationism really fried you people. Thumbs down flying all over the place. Makes me miss my days at Cal State when the libs had professorial dominance and had control even four decades ago.

I guess nobody is watching the History Channel shows where they keep reducing the % of matter that is visible/detectable with instrumentation below 4%, and claim gravity-influenced behavior shows there is 25 times more dark matter and dark energy than baryons, and that a Big Bang theory transcends any matter Guth, Hawking or Tyson can dream up.

These “scientists” talking about everything coming from a singularity (all matter and energy from something smaller than the period on a piece of printer paper) suggest a possibility of intelligent design, or of supernatural creation because the scientific equations break down at the extremes of conditions the scientists propound for the Big Bang. They can’t prove any of it. I think I’ll stick with the God creationism thing, and it deserves exposure; it is wrong to sanitize teaching of any teaching which has so many adherents.


Nobody watching the History Channel is learning much of anything. You might as well read the latest news about Elvis in the National Enquirer.


Really. Despite their inclusion of scores of current top astrophysicists and cosmologists who get to summarize their theories and discoveries in their own detailed words graphics and diagrams? Their shows lead one into the published works of those interviewed, and though I didn’t get too far vetting in the books I bought (Thorne, Guth, Hawking) due to the stupefying math, I saw nothing indicating a conflict between those interviewed and their detailed, peer-reviewed, published works. I’m not surprised you are dismissive and elitist about HC and SC shows. -1 for you, professor, Sir.


Two books I found fairly accessible were;

Krauss, Lawrence 2012 “A Universe From Nothing” New York: Free Press

Susskind, Leonard 2005 “The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design” New York: Little and Brown Publishers

What is fun is that Krauss and Susskind are very opposed to each others ideas.

The creationist version is well represented by:

McGrath, Alister E. 2009 “A Fine-Tuned Universe” Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press

If you have a chance, the closing remarks by David Gross are very interesting about the “anthopic principle.”

Gross, David 2005 “The Quantum Structure of Space and Time: Proceedings of the 23rd Solvay Conference on Physics” Ed. David Gross (Brussels: World Scientific Pub Co Inc)

All I ever seem to see on the History Channel are shows about aliens, big foot, or Nazis. I just don’t watch that much. I watch “American Pickers” occasionally- they are fun..

Sarah Bellem

The History Channel is a video version of the National Enquirer


I have not noticed that you have been enlightened, or even modesty educated so far.

Ana di Plosis

From a metaphorical, human-nature standpoint (Adam & Eve desiring and consuming the one thing they were forbidden to eat in the garden), the Genesis accounts are every bit as valid today as the day they were written, however long ago that might have been. But for intelligent, educated people to continue to cling to creationism in the 21st century is every bit as silly and sad as clinging to the GEOCENTRIC theory of the solar system. The former flies in the face of ALL of the fossil evidence accumulated over the past century and a half, not to mention ALL of the research/publications of the best and brightest minds in ALL of the scientific disciplines that have built their foundation on the the truth of the Modern Synthesis (aka, the Theory of Evolution). Can Christian creationists name one prominent biologist or chemist or physicist or paleontologist with a Phd who embraces creationism (besides Michael Behe, whose intelligent design approach was rejected by the courts a number of years ago)? Come on, creationists–Darwin published his great book in 1859–two years before the Civil War began! Please try to catch up with the rest of us. You do not have to abandoned your belief in God–just the silly, nonsensical belief that He created everything in 6 days and that humans are some sort of special creation. If we are special, it is primarily because we possess superior REASONING abilities. Please consider developing yours so you can live in harmony with yourself and the rest of the scientifically-literate world. Thanks!


There is an interesting feature of scientifically trained creationists (of which there at least a hundred or so). They are mostly able to realize that creationists fail regarding their personal are of specialization, and then they uncritically accept any wild BS from fellow creationists from other areas. Another interesting fact is that Ph.D. creationists typically converted to creationism as early college students. Then their later education was in the words of many, “dedicated to disproving _______ (Evolution, Darwin, Geology,….).

For example, Jonathan Wells

“Father’s words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle” [Note: ‘Father’ refers to self-proclaimed Messiah, Rev. Sun Moon]. Date: 1996. Source: “Why I Went for a Second Ph.D.”

John Baumgardner

“Back in 1978 I felt strongly led to go back to graduate school and get professional credentials to work on the problem of what happened to the Earth in the flood.”

There are many other examples.


you all waste my time according to my cat

Josh Payne

I consider myself a spiritual being, but… Separation of Church and State is a wonderful thing and should be always defended.


And where in the Constitution is “Separation of Church and State” mentioned?


Re: Separation Clause

The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Amendment was explained by the author, America Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, as follows, “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. (T. Jefferson, Jan. 1. 1802).”

Why do you so-called patriots hate America?


And the “theory” of ID is no more religious than the theory of evolution. In fact, atheists and evolutionists are more fanatically religious than most Christians. The evidence supports ID far more than it supports evolution.

The First Amendment is to keep the government out of religion, not to keep religion out of government.

You conveniently left out Jefferson’s closing paragraph in that letter: “I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and CREATOR of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.”


The fraud of Intelligent Design Creationism is that it claimes to not ne creationism. There are ogher associated frauds, but that is the biggest. It is even admited by the major ID figures.

For example, ID creationist William Dembski has admitted that “Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” (“Signs of Intelligence,” 1999, Touchstone magazine).

Michael Behe: “Well, I’ve said that quite a number of times. I think I said that at the beginning of my testimony yesterday, that I think in fact from — from other perspectives, that the designer is in fact God.” Dover, Day 11PM, Cross Examination by Eric Rothschild

Philip Johnson, “Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.” American Family Radio (10 January 2003).

As a science, ID Creationism fails as well (just two of many examples);

Matt Young, Taner Edis (Editors), 2004 “Why Intelligent Design Fails: A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism” Rutgers University Press (My contribution, Chapter 8 “The explanatory filter, Archaeology, and Forensics” was used in the 2005 Dover ID trial).

Andrew J. Petto (Editor), Laurie R. Godfrey (Editor) 2008 “Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Beyond” W. W. Norton & Company


As for me, I used ID as the same as Creationism. I don’t separate them. If it confuses you, we will stick with Creationism by God. Feel free to reply to the points in my post instead of just copy/pasting talking points. You are basically wasting my time.


“wasting my time.” Just like defending Creationism, wasting our time, over and over.

Feel free to reply with some facts we can use to reproduce the facts, so every one can see.

“I used ID as the same as Creationism.” Yes it’s the same, a made up justification used to treat people (other people not like us) wrong.

Sarah Bellem

Yes, Intelligent design is a fraud created by a group called the Discovery Institute. If you don’t believe, look up the “wedge document” outlining their long term plan of deceit. If that is not enough read about the Kitzmiller v Dover court case.

They produce no legitimate research. They can continue this way because they have ample, steady, and religiously motivated financial donors who don’t require them to produce any results

Theo P. Neustic

Then we need to throw out the religion of “Evolution” ,secular humanism, and environmentalism.


The online tit for tat, hate of that,this story has caused.

All of you out there in cyberland, me included, will find out very soon what “TRUTH” is.

Evolution and Big Bang are theories.

In the beginning God created. [my stance].

Want true historical facts concerning how life began? Read the Word of our Creator God.

The Bible. I like the NKJV myself.

I’m sure many of the posters that have thumbed down some of those who are in my camp have Christian friends. What will you think when you wake up one morning and find that your friend, and millions if not billions of people have suddenly vanished from our midst? The Rapture of the Church. Jesus Christ taking away His bride from upon the earth.

And then. 7 years of tribulation. If one thinks that things are bad now, you do not want to be here for the 7 years that God pours out His wrath upon an unbelieving world.

Lastly, why does such a small % of people have so much power? A rhetorical question. Yes, the prince of this world is pulling out all stops. But I’ve read the book. Our creator Jesus Christ wins in the end.

John 3:16


Why the King James? Did Jessy speak English?

Have you studied Greek? Most of the New Testament was written in Greek. The Christian version of the Tanakh was translated from the Greek version of the Hebrew. This was the Septuagint translated to Latin by St. Jerome. I doubt you have really studied the Bible. Do you know that the NW Semitic language Ugaritic preceded biblical Hebrew by hundreds of years? Take a look at;

Smith, Mark S. 2002 “The Early History of God 2nd ed.” Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Publishing

Smith, Mark S. 2003 “The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts” Oxford University Press.

Pardee, Dennis, 2002 “Writings from the Ancient World Vol. 10: Ritual and Cult at Ugarit” Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature


And you are a Dr of what? I click on your screen name and it takes me to “An index to Creationist Claims”. Your credentials please?

I have a personal relationship with our creator and Savior Jesus Christ. I have no doctorate. But faith. It is something that you apparently lack. Because the liar has blinded your eyes:

2nd Corinthians 1-6:

1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.


So, you are an anonymous “interwebs creationist warrior” who demands my curriculum vita?

Sure, but it seems like bragging.

My first research fellowship in 1972 was as an undergraduate. It was awarded for my research on the trace element chemistry of clays studied by Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis. I used thermal neutrons generated in a TRIGA Mark I General Atomics Nuclear Reactor. I analyzed both short, and long half-life isotopes by gamma ray spectroscopy.

My second was as a graduate student. Again, it was for original research in the trace element geochemistry of clays and minerals. Then my post-doctorate fellowship in 1976-’78. That was for my medical research in psychiatry. I had to quit my night job as an analytical polymer chemist, but my medical reserach lead to a professorship at the Medical College of Georgia.

Oh, I took my Ph.D. in Anthropology (1976 UC Irvine).

My publications range from geochemistry, psychiatry, prehistoric ceremony, linguistics, and religion. I am also a certifed expert witnes in forensic taphonomy, and have published on osteological faunal analysis.

I showed you a partial background, “ToHell … ” What have you done to make you such a science expert?

I have also studied the Bible in Greek and Latin. I have even studied the source languages of biblical Hebrew. Those were Akkadian and Ugaritic. Did you know those languages even existed?

Here is a quick introduction to biblical languages you could read;

Smith, Mark S. 2003 “The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel’s Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts” Oxford University Press.

Here is a link to one of my recently favorite tunes:


Well, you toss out an impressive sounding resume. Your broad history in academia and proclaimed study in archaic languages doesn’t necessarily grant you status to shout down at us rabble from your ivory tower, as an over-focus in the university community just might blind you to common realities.

Incidentally, unless you challenge the published biblical commentaries and transliterations which support the essential accuracies of translations such as the KJV and NIV, we common rabble folk are entitled to read and rely upon the accuracy of such translations, and have no need of your claimed expertise in root languages. I suppose you are conversant in Aramaic too.

I used those commentaries and resources when I made a detailed study of moichea versus pornea out of interest generated by a commentary made by a Stanford grad. I was satisfied that I didn’t have to PERSONALLY trace back to cuneiform tablets to VET everything I read in the translations, and I doubt that your extensive research grants you many opinionated insights that us rabble can’t look up too.

Give us a break. This thread is about opposition to the sanitizing and stripping of all talk of creationism from the public school house, where it deserves an airing (and most often gets a belabored trashing by the ivory tower ilk). Us rabble with just four (or no) letters after our name can orbit in your stratosphere just fine, thank you.


You got it backwards. Creationists were constantly insisting that their biblical study “proved” young earth, six day dogma. I started reading commentaries and popular exegetical books along with dozens of creationist books. I wanted to know where these people were getting their information and opinions. Next, I started to read the books in the Anchor Bible series. Particulary interesting were the books on Psalms, Genesis, and Job.

Michael Dahood is an especially important figure in placing the early texts of the Tanakh in their proper cultural and literary context in light of the texts discovered in Ugarit. This also caused me to expand reading to include his critics, and supporters. This is what led to more reading on the Sumerian and Babylonian texts older than the Ugaritic.

Dahood, Mitchell 1965 Psalms I, 1-50: Introduction, Translation and Notes New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

___________ 1968 Psalms II, 51-100: Introduction, Translation and Notes New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

___________ 1970 Psalms III, 101-150: Introduction, Translation and Notes New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday (1995 paperback printing)

Pope, Marvin H. 1965 “Job: A new translation with Introduction and Commentary” Anchor Bible Vol. 15, New York: ABRL/Doubleday

Speiser, E. A. 1962 “Genesis: Introduction, Translation and Notes” New York: Anchor Bible- Doubleday

This naturally leads to further linguistic study.

Fortunately, I was retired and had the time to do this. Your obvious resentment is common, but misplaced. The “extensive research grants” only exist in your jealous imagination..

Sarah Bellem

It always amazes me how anxious Christians are for their opponents in life to meet judgement day. That way they are sure their enemies will be punished for all eternity while true believers finish up their tennis matches and go have lunch at the buffet. Of course for them pleasure lasts for all eternity.

What if instead you are walking up the steps to the pearly gates expecting to see St Peter. Instead there is someone with a huge sword. He chops your head off and kicks it down the steps. Now you’ll have to go through all eternity without a head. How will you ever play tennis and eat at a buffet without a head?

Ted Slanders


I am with you on your godly treatise of Jesus’ return.

Christians will even know what Jesus will look like when He returns. Jesus will have white hair, eyes of fire, feet of brass, and a sword sticking out of his mouth. (Rev.1:13-16) That’ll really put the fear of the Lord into those sinners as our loving and forgiving Jesus cleaves them in two for not believing in Him!

Jesus is gonna put those Hollywood monster-movie producers to shame with His ghoulish creations when he returns with a bunch of horse-like locusts with human heads, women’s hair, lion’s teeth, and scorpion’s tails. They’re gonna be stinging unbelievers straight for a whole 5 months, ouch. (Rev.9:7-10)

Then our loving and forgiving Jesus will send four blessed angels with an army of 200 million to KILL a third of the earth’s population. Way to go loving Jesus! (Rev.9:15-19)

Jesus’ loving nature will have people killed by fire, plagues, and beasts. There will be dead bodies rotting and unburied everywhere. Those that are not killed by Jesus will “rejoice over them (non christians) and make merry, and shall send gifts to one another.” (Rev.11:5-10)

Can you imagine what gifts that Cal Coast News Christians will be sending to their fellow like-minded brethren? Maybe some anti-anxiety pills subsequent to watching Jesus KILL His non-believing creation in such horrific ways? ToHellinaHandBasket, out of curiosity, what gift will you be sending me regarding Revelation 11:5-10? Mine to you will be a surprise.


@ Ted “Slanderer” of Gods Word,

Please don’t associate myself with you.

Thank you in advance.


Actually, you two seem to have much in common.

Ana di Plosis

Appeal to authority + appeal to force = you have no proof for your claims.


ToHellinaHandBasket says:

” millions if not billions of people have suddenly vanished from our midst? The Rapture”

“And then. 7 years of tribulation. If one thinks that things are bad now, you do not want to be here for the 7 years that God pours out His wrath upon an unbelieving world.”

” Our creator wins in the end.”

What a horrible sad thing to imagine, billions die and it’s a “Win” for team Jesus.

The dark ages are over, science wins, electricity is not the devil.