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 Ishmael - agree and disagree 
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I'll be honest - I'm having a hard time with this book.

To me, this book is from a strict evolutionist point of view. From that point of view, I would agree that Ishmael makes alot of sense even though I don't agree whole-heartedly.

I agree that humans are making a mess of the environment.
I agree that there is more drug use and psychos due to the stress and pace we live in.
I agree that humans do stand out different from other animals and organisms.
I agree that humans have caused mass destruction of the earth.
I agree that it makes sense that increased food production will result in an increase in population.

I do not agree with the evolution theory.
I do not agree with taking the Bible out of context to try to make a point.

I'm trying to have an open mind here - trying to stay belief neutral (and that's hard!). Help me out here. What are some other points that you agree with? and some that you disagree with?

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Lisa Fortenberry


Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:29 pm
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Lisa,
In helping you with the evolution theory, I hope that what I did when I had to teach it in the 8th grade as part of the science curriculum will be of some benefit. I taught Evolution as what it was and that is a theory. There are many theories out there and this is just one of them. When I was through with the presentation of information I would ask the students to expand on their feelings of this unit with written or other types of expression. Here is where the “artsâ€

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Stephanie Williams


Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:11 am
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Lisa, I think trying to stay belief neutral is hard for us as human beings. We are so passionate about what we do believe that it typically sways our perception and understanding. So i see your distress with the book and understand it is happening with most on some scale.

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Kami McKay


Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:17 pm
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In the book they refer to evolution as a myth. That is truly all that is. Not one of us was around at the beginning. We are taking the words in the bible or words in a science book to be law. They are not law, as Ishmael states they are myths. We can never been certain of the origins of the planet, which is why it is still a debate. One just chooses a side, yet how can we be on a side when no one knows the right answer? Law versus Myths.

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Tim Hoffman


Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:16 pm
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Okay, I've walked around my classroom for about 10 minutes now, I've logged out, and logged back in trying to decide whether to respond. What I have decided is if I don't, I am not following my true beliefs, so here it goes. Stephanie, I think that your student makes some excellent points, because we do not have every detail, there is always room to specualte and fill in the wholes of the biblical story, but what I believe, is that filling in the "holes" doesn't really matter much to me. What does matter to me is that I don't believe the Bible is a myth as you so casually state, Tim. I understand the point you are trying to make, however, you have ruffled my feathers in doing so. Which, in all respect is perfectly legally, but one I have to respond to. Regardless of your own personal beliefs, I as a Christian believe full heartedly in the story of the Bible, and if we as Christians are wrong about salvation, then technically it's no big deal... but those who don't believe, and we as Christians are right, it's going to be a big deal. The book takes many avenues and is, I think just prompting thought. Thought of what ever magnitude the readers' brain can process and for whatever direction it chooses to go. I view the book as fiction, as I read, I removed myself from my own personal beliefs and tried to think of the ways it would effect me as an admnistrator..... Other than respecting eachother and their diversity, I'm clueless. Can anyone help me with this?

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Amy Scronce


Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:58 pm
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Stephanie, I too have heard the reference to God's timeline. Still, I believe that God created MAN, not that he made something that we evolved from. Tim, I understand that the book presents evolution as a myth, but most readers would read it as though evolution is stated as the beginning of man. Otherwise, why not start with the creation story? especially sense Ishmael kept going back to Bible references.

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Lisa Fortenberry


Tue Mar 06, 2007 7:14 pm
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I am not sure I am quite ready to comment on this book, but here's what I think. This book is not about "evolution" or offending someone's religious sensibilities at all. The fact that he talks about evolution and the creation story are only incidental. When he talks about myths, I see that as referring to the "stories that we all accept as true." Is not this acceptance faith? Myths in this sense are not derogatory. They are the underlying stories that explain why we do what we do. In this book, there seems to be two competing myths in the world. The first one has mankind at the center of the universe. In this myth, the world, the universe, all that there is exists for man’s benefit. He is the ruler of it. The universe was created for man’s use. Those who believe this story see the world as theirs to do with as they please. The second myth sees man as just another part of the universe. Man is not the center of it all. He is just a part of it all. He does not see the universe as his alone to be used. He shares it with all other creatures because he himself is a creature. The first myth is leading the world toward ecological disaster and ruin. The second myth espouses something called cooperative diversity whereby we coexist with all living things in order to provide for each other’s benefit. I think Quinn’s words towards the closing of the book are important. The gorilla is speaking. “As long as the people of your culture are convinced that the world belongs to them and that their divinely-appointed destiny is to conquer and rule it, then they are of course going to go on acting the way they’ve been acting for the past ten thousand years. They are going to go on treating the world as if it were a piece of human property and they’re going to go on conquering it as if it were an adversary.â€

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"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." M. Twain


Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:16 pm
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Thank you John for stating that. Much better with words than I am.

Amy and Lisa,

I truly never meant to state that I agree or disagree with evolution or the"big bang theory" or any other reason given that started the world. I feel that myth, as John pointed out, is not a bad word. I am not using it to state that one is correct and one is incorrect. The ancient Greeks believed in thier Gods with as much passion as people believe today in __________ (fill in the blank with evolution/big Bang/etc). My parents believe in the bible's version and I have read the Old Testament many times, but also studied science. I truly have not determined which I agree with, but respect that you have. But evolution is a topic for another course.

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Tim Hoffman


Wed Mar 07, 2007 2:15 pm
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John, I have to agree whole-heartedly with you. (And you always state your case so well.) I see this book as something like Al Gore's movie, whatever the title is. It's a way to chastise the human race for being so self-centered and not taking care of the world. It's a way to make us stop doing the bad things we're doing and really take time to think about what we're doing to our resources. I want us to stop being Takers. I just hope it is not too late.

I really did have a hard time getting into this book. It was extremely confusing at first.

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Rebecca Secrest


Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:00 pm
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It is often difficult to separate your spirtual beliefs from logic. I havn't thought this through but humans really may not be able to separate spiritual beliefs from logic; that is how God intended us. With that said, rather you agree or disagree with the book the case can be made that mankind is on a destructive path because, as has been clearly stated, we are self-centered. By faith, I hold certain fundamental beliefs and principles that will never be swayed or altered; nevertheless some central truths remain true. Mankind is not taking care of it's environment or each other. Rather you believe it is because of sin, because of greed, because we started farming, or because we are afraid that another animal will evolve and take our place (whatever you believe) can not change the truthful point that the author makes.....

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Heath Belcher


Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:25 pm
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I don't think we have to believe in any one idea introduced in this story. What is really important is that we begin to question what is happening to the world and to seek answers that will prevent us from destroying mankind(oxymoron) and all that he(not she) touches. We must take down the walls that are keeping us from looking at/for the truth.

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Jackie Shaw


Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:41 pm
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There was a magazine titled "Science and Religion" which dealt with many conflicts with both. One of the paradoxes was that there are Christians who will debate both sides of the Evolution theory and their debates are held in churches. I found it interesting that the Dalai Lama would be a featured article from time to time. Science, religion, Dalai Lama--all holding out for Peace. What if we all were takers for Peace?

As a public school employee with minimal rights, I know that I must uphold the belief of each individual. When they say they believe contrary to me, then so what? It's their all-American right.

In my personal life, I try so hard not to wear visible signs and symbols of what I believe, but I know I can live no other way. Florence Nightingale said it, "To thine ownself be true." Isn't the respect and honor you give another a better invitation?


Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:52 pm
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