If Everyone Believes that Liquid Water is 500°F, Are They Wrong?

Posted: January 4, 2015 in education, religion
Tags: , , , , ,

I wrote this post title while watching a new TV show, so forgive me if it sounds horribly contrived. If you’re at all familiar with skepticism or critical thinking, you should recognize the title as an argument from popularity logical fallacy: Just because “everyone” believes something, that does not make it true.

In this case, this comes from the WND post from September 26, 2014: “Vast Majority of Americans Support School Prayer.”

Ahem:

Marriage Acceptance versus Legality

Marriage Acceptance versus Legality (©XKCD)

What does this XKCD comic have to do with school prayer? Nothing, but it has to do with what’s accepted by a certain fraction of the United States population versus what’s legal. The US Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in 1967. It was not until 1995 that >50% of Americans thought that two people of different races should be allowed to marry. All because a majority or minority of people think something does not make it right or wrong.

Similarly, just because (according to the latest poll) 61% of Americans think are in favor of daily prayer in the classroom, that does not mean it is constitutional. The problem is simple: The Constitution has a separation of church and state, and therefore public schools cannot lead students in any form of prayer. If students want to pray on their own time, they can do that. But teachers and administrators can’t lead it, and there can’t be generic “Okay everyone, pray to yourself for a minute” because that excludes people who are not religious or who are members of religions that don’t pray.

Unfortunately, most WND commenters don’t get this.

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