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GOP Controlled Tennessee House Passes Anti-Evolution Bill

The Republican war against geology, anthropology, cosmology, biology, and archeology continues apace:

Tennessee’s House Bill 368 passed the House of Representatives on a 70-23 vote on April 7, 2011. “The debate ranged over the scientific method, ‘intellectual bullies,’ hair spray and ‘Inherit the Wind,'” reported the Chattanooga Times Free Press (April 7, 2011).

The bill, if enacted, would require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” The only examples provided of “controversial” theories are “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” The sponsor of HB 368, Bill Dunn (R-District 16), claimed that the teaching of “intelligent design” would not be protected by the bill. Its chief lobbyist, David Fowler of the Family Action Council of Tennessee, claimed otherwise in the Chattanoogan (February 21, 2011).

The Tennessean addressed this bill in an editorial last month and noted that it would turn the whole state into a national embarrassment while simultaneously damaging science education:

Please, do not be fooled: This is just the latest attempt by politicians to replace scientific principle with religious ideology. Even though there are other classes in school curriculums — political science, history, even religious studies — where discussion of evolution vs. “creationism,” for example, might be appropriate, certain politicians want more. They want to discredit centuries of scientific study while presenting their religious beliefs as scientific fact.

This bill is not only an attack on science but on First Amendment guarantees of speech and religious freedoms. Furthermore, it denigrates the responsibility of school systems and administrators to hire qualified science instructors.

This is not the first attempt by this General Assembly make teachers into second-class citizens, but in some ways, it’s the worst. Any reputable science instructor will leave teaching or leave the state — and again, students will suffer.

HB 368 is an embarrassment to all of Tennessee, and it should be sent to extinction.

Unfortunately, it’s already passed one chamber of the legislature. The other, the State Senate, is also controlled by Republicans, and the Governor is a Republican. So this piece of idiocy could actually become law.

Update: Glenn Reynolds links (thanks!) and comments:

Tennessee passed plenty of anti-evolution bills under Democratic legislatures too. Remember the Scopes Trial? It would be fairer to say that the new GOP legislature, the first since Reconstruction, is carrying on a Democratic tradition. . . .

Historically, this point is correct. However, recently this seems to be an issues pushed by Republicans in states where evangelical Christianity holds sway. Thanks to the large GOP gains in state legislatures in 2010 there’s been a marked increase in the number of bills related to so-called “creation science” or “intelligent design.” Also, legislative efforts similar to those in Tennessee are underway in states like Oklahoma and New Mexico.

As I said in January:

Most of the rest of the developed world seems to have put this issue behind them, I cannot for the life of understand why nonsense like this keeps happening in the United States.

One reason, perhaps, would be that we give legislatures control over school curricula, but that’s an issue for another day.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. reid says:

    Barf. What a bunch of morons. Keep voting in those Republican majorities and watch the clock turn back, back, back to the good old 19th century!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. john personna says:

    Wait, does this stop evolution?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    JP:

    Damn, and I was just getting ready to evolve X-Ray vision.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Tony says:

    When it comes to “teach the controversy” type stuff, I think this sequence is instructive:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHVVKAKWXcg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Southern Hoosier says:

    john personna says:
    Saturday, April 9, 2011 at 15:34

    Wait, does this stop evolution?

    I think any Tennessee hillbillies caught trying to evolve will probably be fined. But I don’t think there is much chance of that happening.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  6. Ernieyeball says:

    “Evolution is only a theory!” Cry the numbskulls!

    Ernieyeball sez: “Genesis isn’t even a theory…it’s a Fairy Tale!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. John Fast says:

    I do agree that we ought to keep bogus science out of high schools. But I would be willing to let fundamentalist proponents of Human Genetic Uniformity teach their doctrines (even though they don’t have any proof of it).

    I’m much more concerned with teaching bogus theories in civics classes. Biology teachers don’t have to put up with the New York Times endorsing religious fundamentalism, but we economists have to put up with it endorsing “government fundamentalism” or “technocratic fundamentalism.”

    People who get economics wrong do more harm to society than people who get biology wrong.

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  8. george says:

    Actually evolution is only a theory. So are gravity, relativity, quantum mechanics. And in fact, General Relativity and quantum mechanics are mutually contradictory – they can’t both be true (though Super String theory might be able to resolve that if it ever becomes science rather than applied mathematics).

    If nothing else, its going to make science classes a lot easier if theories aren’t taught because they’re only theories – should take 3 weeks to teach what’s left over.

    But I’m curious that they haven’t taken the next step and ruled that pi should be equal to 3 – if legislation can determine what’s true in science, it should move on to math. Ruling that 1 = 2 would help balance the books too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. george says:

    People who get economics wrong do more harm to society than people who get biology wrong.

    Depends upon what they get wrong. Thinking that crop monoculture is a good thing brought on the Irish potato famine (and might bring on similar problems once again given the reduced number of grain lines used as crops), and thinking that say putting plutonium in the water supply would be good could kill everyone. I think its more the case that people don’t tend to get biology quite as wrong as they do economics (ie no one really thinks that piping carbon monoxide into school rooms is a good idea).

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  10. wr says:

    “no one really thinks that piping carbon monoxide into school rooms is a good idea”

    Just wait until Paul Ryan reveals his approach to fixing public education…

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  11. Robert Taylor says:

    Please tell me that this will be taken up by the Supreme Court and overruled. Absolute nonsense.

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  12. sam says:

    @John Fast

    “I do agree that we ought to keep bogus science out of high schools….People who get economics wrong do more harm to society than people who get biology wrong.”

    And the evidence that economics is a science is what?

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  13. sam says:

    “if legislation can determine what’s true in science, it should move on to math. Ruling that 1 = 2 would help balance the books too.”

    Hey, those Tennessee morons are in operating in a fine old tradition: Indiana Pi Bill.

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  14. Mike K says:

    The evolution issue is part of fundamentalist, or a better term might be evangelical, religious beliefs. It is a shame that such people, and some are well educated, cannot accept the Bible as presenting creation myths that do not have to be taken literally. I would not write a letter of recommendation to medical school for a student who does not believe in evolution but I agree with another commenter that there are far more harmful beliefs, such as CO2 as a pollutant.

    I also believe that some of these people ridiculing the evangelicals would have a very hard time explaining the details of evolution. The political left has this myth that they are smarter than everyone else when they repeatedly fail to show evidence.

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  15. Drake says:

    Hypocrites much???

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  16. JKB says:

    “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

    Now wouldn’t this go a long way toward teaching that critical thinking the universities are failing at? Teaching students to question things presented as “expert” pronouncements would be good even if it did expose them to creationism. Yes, I’ll grant it is probably code for the anti-evolution but it could be used by an enterprising teacher to, say, show the similarities between creationism and the global warming zealotry.

    And, if the quoted language actually governed, then students would learn evolution without the religiosity on both sides. Or is there some fear that some student objectively analyzing evolution they might find some flaw that throws all the evidence into doubt?

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  17. Jim Nagle says:

    I love the fact that belief in evolution has become the sine qua non of intellectual vigor. Not a chance in the world it happened. I am very satisfied with what my man Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had to say about origins.

    No one saw the Genesis account unfold, except its Author. No one has ever seen macro evolution take place. So it’s God and His guys vs. Chuck Darwin and his. I’ll go with…God.

    BTW, Mike K, I’m as rigid as you are about it. I wouldn’t write a letter of recommendation to a Bible college or seminary for a student who believes in evolution, for two reasons: (a) he clearly doesn’t believe the Bible, which is a deal-breaker for me; and (b) his judgment is called into question.

    The Apostle Paul wrote to his protege Timothy to guard against the “oppositions of science falsely so called…” (1 Timothy 6:21). I think the Holy Spirit saw evolution coming from miles away.

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  18. Tenther says:

    I’m an atheist, I believe in evolution, but I never can understand these fights. States force parents to educate their children, and they force everybody to pay for public education. Most parents send their kids to the public schools that they’re paying for anyway. Why should those schools be teaching doctrine that is antithetical to the fundamental beliefs of many of the parents? Is believing in Creation really going to prevent children from becoming productive, happy, law-abiding citizens? And if not, why should the State involve itself in the matter at all? How many people find evolutionary theory beneficial in their careers?

    Maybe it’s because most “right-thinking” parents “know” that evolution is true, but they’re too stupid and ignorant to explain it to their children themselves (like I explain it to my son), so they demand that the state do it for them. Well, how about you pick up a book on evolution, and explain it to your kids yourselves? Christian parents certainly aren’t afraid to read the Bible to their children.

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  19. george says:

    No one saw the Genesis account unfold, except its Author. No one has ever seen macro evolution take place. So it’s God and His guys vs. Chuck Darwin and his. I’ll go with…God.

    No one has ever seen an electron, proton, neutron, let alone a wave function as per quantum mechanics. Obviously physics is completely wrong as well, and probably shouldn’t be taught. No one has actually seen a sequence of DNA decoded, so we should stop teaching biochemistry as well. For that matter, no one has seen even a basic oxidation-reduction chemical reaction, so we should stop teaching chemistry as well.

    All we need to know is in the Bible, and teaching all this unseen science is a bad thing. We should stop it immediately, and let other countries like the Chinese go down that mistaken path, thinking that scientific path will help them, when in reality they’re just believing in things they can’t see.

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  20. george says:

    I also believe that some of these people ridiculing the evangelicals would have a very hard time explaining the details of evolution.

    Okay, I’ll bite. What parts of it do you want me to try to explain?

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  21. […] this article: "GOP Controlled Tennessee House Passes Anti-Evolution Bill" and related posts This entry was posted in Science and tagged 70-23-vote, a-70-23-vote, beltway, house, […]

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  22. Gerry W. says:

    George Bush was as close of a right wing religious nut that we have seen in the White House. Bush believed in a “Higher Authority” in going to Iraq. He ignored the calls of “quagmire” in Iraq. He ignored talking to his father and other authorities. When ask why he did not talk to his father, he said “I believe in a higher authority.” Hence, a war gone bad, a war with not enough soldiers, a quagmire, and many dead. Well, so much for God’s help.

    Another belief that Bush had, was to “stay the course.” And he ran both the economy and two wars into the ground. His economic belief was to have tax cuts and “stay the course.” And ignore the problems. How else can you explain our country going down the tubes, Iraq’s quagmire for years and ignored, and Afghanistan neglected for over five years.

    So there was not much in intellect from Bush. It was a belief in ideology or his God.

    It is a word of warning of having any right wing religious conservative in office. They don’t understand reality.

    It is one thing to pray in church and/or at home for help, but you still have to manage the country and its problems and not rely on God and the bible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. optimus primed says:

    Hey Gerry, I am no foe of evolution (nor fan of Bush), but it sort of looks like the moral authority of a secular “credentialed” intellectual exceeds that of religious faith in pure incompetence.

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  24. Gerry W. says:

    Democrats are dumb and republicans are bunch of nuts.

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  25. Jack Lacton says:

    Good to see that Gerry W spouts off on George W Bush’s belief in a higher authority while knowing zero about the subject or how Christianity affects the day to day decision making of its adherents (I’m an atheist, BTW). Bush certainly spoke with his father and advisors and experts. He simply used his faith in God to be granted the wisdom to make good decisions, which is no different to the relationship Obama has with God.

    As Glenn Reynolds has pointed out, Democrats used to own the issue of anti-evolution, as evidenced by the Scopes Trial and others, but it’s now swapped sides to the Evangelical Christians (who are currently backing Republicans, though it wasn’t always the way; their vote brought Jimmy Carter to power).

    The major issue I have with this bill is that it is so ridiculous that turns people away from not only Christianity but also, and more importantly, the Judeo-Christian value system that built Western society and holds it together. For this to be achieved by believing Christians shows how unaware they are of the consequences of their actions.

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  26. Terry says:

    Evolution is still just a theory last time I checked. The evidence supporting it is almost entirely circumstantial, and until it can conclusively be validated by scientific experiment or test, evolution will remain a theory and not scientific fact.

    As for being anti-science, the liberals refuse to accept the overwhelming facts and evidence disputing global warming, the failure of Keynesian/collectivist economic systems and the success of free market economies, and the statistical safety record of nuclear power in the US . Climatology, economics, statistical analysis, and nuclear physics are all valid fields of science.

    Consider this- thanks to the liberal anti-nuke luddites, the nuclear power plants in the US are all 40 year-old designs. Modern designs are hundreds of times safer and more reliable, but they are not being built due to regulatory hurdles put in place by the enviro’s. If the rest of the country’s technologies were similarly hobbled by liberal’s irrational techno-phobias, there would be no internet, or PC’s, or cell phones, etc.

    And by the way, William Jennings Bryan was a Democrat.

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  27. MM says:

    Holy crap! Glenn AND Doug both playing the disingenuous guy. I’m guessing that Doug never expected this one. Two twerps enter. One twerp leave.

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  28. Neil Hudelson says:

    Sam,

    I, as a Hoosier, would ask you to please, please don’t remind us of our shameful past. And present. But at least leave the past alone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. reid says:

    Evolution is still just a theory last time I checked.

    As was mentioned already, you do realize that gravity is “just” a theory? What a bizarre combination of arrogance and ignorance in your post.

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  30. MM says:

    Another tick mark in the “basic politics what boggle Doug”.

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  31. bubafett says:

    “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

    Sounds like they’ve at least recognized the need for critical thinking in science …

    I don’t have a problem with evolution …. maybe it happened … maybe it didn’t …. the prehistoric past isn’t exactly directly observable

    but I don’t have a problem with offering theistic alternatives either ….. We’re all looking at the same evidence, but ones metaphysical assumptions will certiainly effect how one interprets the evidence.

    If teh evolutionists would quit attacking religious strawmen and actually examine the alternatives, they might realize that some Biblical creationists are more accepting of the evidence for an evolutionary component in creation and an older earth than other creationists. They might also find out that most intelligent design proponents are even closer to the evolutionist camp and common descent than the biblical creationists … but the IDers are willing to entertain the metaphysical concept of an outside inteligence (God, Gaia, super smart space aliens, whatever) in the formation and development of life and are digging to see if there is evidence to support such a thing. I say go for it .. see what you find.

    But the evolutionists hard cores just seem interested in attacking theistic thought in general.

    If evolutionary theory is as solid as it’s proponents seem to think it is, it will survive whatever they teach in school …..

    the fact that it’s proponents have relied on legislatures and judges to remove other ideas from classrooms and text books leads me to believe they may not be so confident in their ideas afterall

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  32. Tennwriter says:

    Evolution is, of course, just a theory. But more than that, its a very bad theory. Its very hard to falsify. Its not repeatable. Its not observable. It goes against recorded historical evidence worldwide. It is objected to by numerous branches of science. It is plagued with hoaxes and dishonesty. Its logic is pitiful.

    Darwin was a second-rate experimentalist, and a philosopher. His primary opponents at the first were ‘rock men’ who looked for fossils. Since then, the rocks speak even more eloquently of Darwin’s failure.

    It is however evidence for Goebbel’s Big Lie theory. If you take gov’t tax money, and the MSM preaches the High Church of Darwinism week in and week out, and constantly, continually brainwash people, you might get as many as 11% of the population who are whole-hearted Evos. Another 39% are Mixed “God used Evo” or some such thing. And the last 50% are Creationists.

    But let us not be a Democracy. Oh, noes, we must impose our morality on the benighted.

    Well, sorry, I don’t care to have the view that opened the door to Naziism imposed on me. Nor do I need to turn off my mind to accept illogic. The only things keeping Evo afloat are gov’t money and intimidation. Go jump in a lake.

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  33. John Hansen says:

    I wish all you knee-jerk intellectuals would stop for a minute and really think about what this bill is saying.

    Please try and answer me in a cogent sentence that does not appeal to the argument by incredulity why it is wrong to consider that “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” are controversial theories.

    The thing that is not rational is to believe in pure naturalism. Please don’t confuse the methodology with the reality. Science must work from a premise of methodological naturalism because it is only interested repeatable results. Things that include “intelligence intervened here” are not acceptable in the scientific realm whether they be acts of God or simply human intervention. Reproducibility is the hallmark of good science. The very nature of intelligence is that it is not constrained by the natural. Thus science can not take into account intelligence. It must rule it out from the results. This is why anything but a double-blind study is unacceptable in medical studies. People must not be allowed through intelligence to manipulate the results.

    But just because science must be conducted under the strict need to banish from the experiment unnatural effects due to intelligent manipulation of the data, doesn’t mean that intelligence does not happen.

    And this leads us to the reason it is irrational to believe in pure naturalism. It precludes things that work contrary to the laws of physics and chemistry. It precludes the involvement of an intelligent agent — no, more than that, it precludes the very existence of intelligence itself. So how in the world do you proclaim yourself more “intelligent” because you believe in a theory which precludes intelligence. This is foolishness.

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  34. Mike K says:

    George, why don’t you explain the relationship between Rickettsiae and mitochondria ?

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  35. tom swift says:

    What always puzzles me in controversies of this sort is that some people seem perfectly content to declare their absolute faith in Darwinian evolution … without any factual basis whatsoever. Somebody told them about it, and they believe it. This makes them intellectually indistinguishable from the worst of the religious types. They’ve read none of the canonical works, not even The Origin of Species (and if they have, the next question is, which edition? They’re quite different), or more modern works on population genetics, molecular evolution, or quantitative zoology. They seem blissfully unaware of current lines of research in systematics, cladistics, or taxonomy … in short, too many have never bothered to study the problem, but they still feel qualified to mouth off about it. In particular, the reporters or editorialists exerpted here seem to believe that it’s all terribly simple, just so long as one has the “right” ideas. That, to me, is faith, not science.

    The law as quoted doesn’t sound all that terrible. Actually, finding “effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies” sounds like a pretty good idea. As we’ve all seen from the professionally manufactured controversies about “global warming”, most of our fellow citizens haven’t the slightest clue about the nature or resolution of scientific controversies.

    For the record, I have considerable faith in most of the modern edifice of Darwinian evolution, even though there are a few bits which clearly need a bit more sorting out. In other words, Darwin is more right than wrong, though it’s not quite so clear that that’s the whole story.

    Trying to claim that any of this indicates a uniquely Republican problem is going to be an uphill battle. It will be hard to convince anyone except the Party faithful that Democrats are paragons of critical thinking or guardians of the scientific method. In fact, the dumbest, most unsophisticated, and most militantly unreflective people I know are exclusively Democrats, though I don’t personally know enough of them to justify an assertion that that establishes a national trend. If you want to fight over who’s more misquided, Democrats or Republicans, there are certainly fruitful pickings all around.

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  36. Axel Edgren says:

    “In fact, the dumbest, most unsophisticated, and most militantly unreflective people I know are exclusively Democrats”

    This MIGHT be because your definition of “dumb” is dumb, your idea of what being “unsophisticated” is is unsophisticated and because you are NON-reflective about what it means to be NON-reflective.

    “without any factual basis whatsoever”

    It’s true that there is no perfect theory for explaining certain observations about the organisms of the world.

    It’s just that the theory of evolution has the most work behind it (it is the best theory among the alternatives) and all the other theories are offered up by Christian supremacists – i.e. subhumans – that want to infect children with metaphysical – i.e. magical – tropes so that their minds become pliable receptacles for Judeo-Christian rape.

    Organized religion is a virus that wants to infect as many as possible. Of course they are going to want to “have an open debate about evolution” *smiles amicably and politely*.

    You know about these parasites that infect ants, and then takes over the ants’ brains so that they act suicidal and end up inside the digestive tracts of birds? Religion is like that – not only does it take over a first host, it then compels this host to spread the infection around. Religions are a strong factor in society for the same reason parasites are successful in the natural world.

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  37. jwest says:

    “….permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

    How could anyone object to this?

    Just think of the damage that would have been done if people were so weak minded that they simply accepted “An Inconvenient Truth” as fact.

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  38. Zoe Brain says:

    Since I’m doing my PhD in Meta-Genetic Algorithms – evolving more efficient evolutionary parameters such as population size, mutation rate etc – it’s a bit difficult not to “believe” in evolution when I use it experimentally every day as a tool to solve intractable problems. A bit like not believing in electricity, or computers.

    I’m aware of the experiments that have resulted in new species in the lab, and of course there’s the historical record of speciation in Hawai’i. Biology’s just one area that evolutionary processes work on, there’s more. Quite a few designs and programs these days are evolved, not designs, things like tyre patterns, aerodynamic shape of cars, things like that.

    See for example Using Meta-Genetic Algorithms to tune parameters of Genetic Algorithms to fi nd lowest energy Molecular Conformers Brain and Addicoat, Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems.

    We can’t prove that evolution resulted in the world we see today. We have pretty good evidence that it certainly could have though, both experiments in-silico and in-vivo.

    I can’t prove that some supernatural agency didn’t cause the recent Earthquakes in Japan either. But standard plate tectonic theory would account for it, with no need to invoke deities. Same with speciation and life.

    Where we have difficulties is not in the evolution of life from abiotic components – that appears to be ridiculously easy, inevitable really, in a whole host of environments. But multicellular life – that evolutionary step is much harder, and may require unusual conditions. We may have cracked that one, the evolution of membranes was the tricky bit, but we’ve now observed that in nature, so know how it could have happened (because it’s still happening)..

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  39. Jim Nagle says:

    Props to Tenther for his wisdom and common sense, as expressed in his post of 23:21 last night. Hear hear.

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  40. sam says:

    @tom swift

    “in short, too many have never bothered to study the problem, but they still feel qualified to mouth off about it. In particular, the reporters or editorialists exerpted here seem to believe that it’s all terribly simple, just so long as one has the “right” ideas. That, to me, is faith, not science.”

    You seem to be committed to the proposition that only those intimately acquainted with the publications in a field of science are qualified to talk about the science. Is that right?

    “Somebody told them about it, and they believe it. This makes them intellectually indistinguishable from the worst of the religious types. They’ve read none of the canonical works, not even The Origin of Species (and if they have, the next question is, which edition? They’re quite different), or more modern works on population genetics, molecular evolution, or quantitative zoology. They seem blissfully unaware of current lines of research in systematics, cladistics, or taxonomy … in short, too many have never bothered to study the problem”

    True enough. Life is short. But what you’re implying is the illegitimacy of the educated layperson. Do you mean that those of us in the great scientific unwashed cannot rely on the arguments of those who have read the “canonical works” etc., etc., etc., — and even done some of the research — in forming our own opinions? On those grounds, how often, and about which subjects, would you have to keep your own mouth shut as you have not read the “canonical works” etc., etc., etc. ?

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  41. john personna says:

    Jim Hansen, you are wrong. The world is set up so that it “works” with a natural or supernatural interpretation. It just takes faith to choose the supernatural.

    It is tidy for public schools to teach the natural model, the observation based model, and then let all our various churches and faiths work with that, or fight it in ever sermon.

    Creationists, in their various guises, are really just state-religion types. They want schools to teach their faith. They don’t think their sermons are enough.

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  42. john personna says:

    Note: The “controversial theories” list above (isn’t even all theory, cloning) is about filtering observation. It says don’t tell kids facts that are inconvenient to our particular church’s sermons.

    Note also: Many Christian faiths are fine with those evolution classes.

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  43. Jim Nagle says:

    The other side of the coin, John, is that radical evos resist the type of legislation in view here because they want evolution taught unchallenged, thereby setting up a kind of Soviet style “state religion” that’s not a religion (although in my view requiring a lot more blind faith to believe than does the Genesis account).

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  44. sam says:

    “thereby setting up a kind of Soviet style “state religion” that’s not a religion (although in my view requiring a lot more blind faith to believe than does the Genesis account)”

    Bullshit.

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  45. john personna says:

    Is that really “the other side,” Jim? No false dichotomy there, eh?

    Why don’t we just teach Lutheranism in schools? That’s compatible with both evolution and faith. Done deal, right?

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  46. george says:

    .George, why don’t you explain the relationship between Rickettsiae and mitochondria ?

    Pretty broad topic for this kind of a forum, considering it typically is covered in many pages in text books. Are you referring to the theory that theory that both started as invading bacteria within a pro-eukaryote cell, which then evolved so that they were dependent upon those cells as symbionts?

    but I don’t have a problem with offering theistic alternatives either ….. We’re all looking at the same evidence, but ones metaphysical assumptions will certiainly effect how one interprets the evidence.

    Sure, and we should also be giving equal time to Intelligent Falling instead of gravity in our school systems. And the theory that radiation occurs because God decides an atom should break up instead of just teaching quantum mechanics.

    Science has zero proof of anything. Science is data and theories attempting (often very approximately) to explain the data. Why is evolution held to a higher standard than other theories? As I said, general relativity and quantum mechanics are mutually contradictory (you get infinite singularities when you try to merge the two) – they cannot both be true. That’s a worse case than anything which exists in evolution. Should be stop teaching the two until that is sorted out? How about the huge problem in quantum mechanics between the micro and macro scales – it was a problem which worried the early founders like Bohr and Heisenberg, leading to the Copenhagen school among other things, and yet still hasn’t been solved to anybody’s satisfaction. Do we hold off teaching quantum mechanics (and chemistry which is now based on it) until that’s solved? Or do we just give equal time to a theistic interpretation of them?

    And if theism is taught in science, it makes no sense to just point back to God. The question has to be raised, what made God? Saying God was always there (besides ignoring real problems in the nature of space-time) is equivalent to saying the universe was always there – you don’t get out of these sorts of questions by postulating them away in science.

    So we can spend half our school hours teaching science, the other half teaching theistic creation and physics (intelligent falling). That will do wonders for our science program compared to say the Chinese or Europeans. Good thing technology isn’t based on science, or we’d fall behind fairly dramatically.

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  47. Very good, George. You got the basics although you didn’t mention the genes of the mitochondria. I will make my point again. It is too bad that intelligent people who are evangelicals insist on literal belief in the Biblical description of creation. At least they do less harm than the religion of anthropogenic global warming.

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  48. mattb says:

    Tennwriter for the science-fail:

    Evolution is, of course, just a theory. But more than that, its a very bad theory. Its very hard to falsify. Its not repeatable. Its not observable. It goes against recorded historical evidence worldwide. It is objected to by numerous branches of science. It is plagued with hoaxes and dishonesty. Its logic is pitiful… Darwin was a second-rate experimentalist, and a philosopher.

    First, evolutionary theory neither started or finished with Darwin. It is continuing to be developed to this day.

    Second, yes, evolution is observable and able to be reproduced in controlled and non-controlled lab situations.

    Third, your fundamental misunderstanding of “theory” is a sign that you really don’t understand what you are talking about. See the following wikipedia page (among others) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact

    The statement “evolution is both a theory and a fact” is often seen in biological literature.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Evolution is a “theory” in the scientific sense of the term “theory”; it is an established scientific model of a portion of the universe that generates propositions with observational consequences. Such a model both helps generate new research and helps us understand observed phenomena.

    When scientists say “evolution is a fact”, they are using one of two meanings of the word “fact”. One meaning is empirical: evolution can be observed through changes in allele frequencies or traits of a population over successive generations.

    Another way “fact” is used is to refer to a certain kind of theory, one that has been so powerful and productive for such a long time that it is universally accepted by scientists. When scientists say evolution is a fact in this sense, they mean it is a fact that all living organisms have descended from a common ancestor (or ancestral gene pool) [8] even though this cannot be directly observed. This implies more tangibly that it is a fact that humans share a common ancestor with all living organisms.

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  49. Socrates says:

    All of this talk about how Democrats used to support this or that dopey idea in the past is irrelevant to what is happening now.

    People who should know better keep trotting out this tired argument.

    Along the way, the parties switched sides, and everyone with any kind of education knows this.

    And it’s because, of course, they are unable to defend the current dopey ideas of their anti-intellectual allies on the Right.

    But we all see through this, and it’s pathetic.

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  50. george says:

    Very good, George. You got the basics although you didn’t mention the genes of the mitochondria. I will make my point again. It is too bad that intelligent people who are evangelicals insist on literal belief in the Biblical description of creation. At least they do less harm than the religion of anthropogenic global warming.

    I agree; in fact the Catholic church has no problem with evolution, taking that God started the universe (creating space and time in the process, which actually fits in with current theories of cosmology) and evolution is just part of the process in which He created everything, just as nuclear fusion is the way He creates light from stars.

    There is in fact nothing contradictory about believing in God and thinking that evolution is the process in which species were developed. Its only a literal interpretation of the Bible (and a very narrow one at that) which causes the conflict.

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  51. G.A.Phillips says:

    Evolution is, of course, just a theory. But more than that, its a very bad theory. Its very hard to falsify. Its not repeatable. Its not observable. It goes against recorded historical evidence worldwide. It is objected to by numerous branches of science. It is plagued with hoaxes and dishonesty. Its logic is pitiful… Darwin was a second-rate experimentalist, and a philosopher.

    Darwin and every other evolutionist.

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  52. Gulliver says:

    Another blog site accurately pointed out that Tennessee passed more of what progressives would label “anti-evolution” legislation when it was controlled by Democrats. And that Mataconis (called out by name) is – once again- wrong. All because of his paranoid attempts to cry wolf over the evil Christian agenda propagated by the right.

    Mataconis’ paranoid reactions have reached the point where the inaccurate facts he uses to support them are getting the attention of other blogs. I guess you could call that success… of a kind.

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  53. G.A.Phillips says:

    I agree; in fact the Catholic church has no problem with evolution

    Ok, you can have Jesus or you can have evolution. Its that simple. If you belive the Word of God you cannot have death come before sin because it don’t. Please read your bible. Sometimes I don’t know which is worse, evolution of the catholic church…

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  54. Gerry W. says:

    Instead of burying yourself in the bible, just manage the economy and stop abandoning the middle class. And that is the problem with the right wing nuts. Tax cuts for the rich and God and country, and all the problems and the middle class ignored. And the left wing takes over with spending to fill in the gaps left by the right wing. What a way to run a country.

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  55. Mike K says:

    Sometimes I don’t know which is worse, evolution of the catholic church…

    I get annoyed at arrogant atheists who ridicule evangelicals but arrogant evangelicals are just pitiful. There are ways to avoid conflict between evolution and religion. You seem determined to look stupid. I can’t help you.

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  56. Socrates says:

    “Another blog site accurately pointed out that Tennessee passed more of what progressives would label “anti-evolution” legislation when it was controlled by Democrats.”

    Accurate but stupid. That was another era and it is now irrelevant.

    Anyway, those Democrats are now Republicans.

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  57. Socrates says:

    “Another blog site accurately pointed out that Tennessee passed more of what progressives would label “anti-evolution” legislation when it was controlled by Democrats.”

    Also, the people making this “argument” are really just admitting that they can’t defend the anti-intellectualism of modern conservatism. Straw man like this is a sure sign you got nothin’.

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  58. G.A.Phillips says:

    I get annoyed at arrogant atheists who ridicule evangelicals but arrogant evangelicals are just pitiful. There are ways to avoid conflict between evolution and religion. You seem determined to look stupid. I can’t help you.

    What in the great tie dyed hell are you babbling about?

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  59. george says:

    Sometimes I don’t know which is worse, evolution of the catholic church…

    Actually the evolution of the Catholic church is pretty interesting – its gone through many changes over the last two thousand years. Some for the better, some for the worse, but pretty interesting.

    I really do think though that if they’re going to teach theistic alternatives to evolution, they should do the same for gravity (intelligent falling), classical mechanics (the theory that there is spirit energy that makes objects go rather than momentum), light (Maxwell’s equations aren’t the only explanation, there are some pretty interesting theories in various religions about what light is.

    If half of science is to be devoted to theistic alternatives, lets at least be thorough about it.

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  60. Gulliver says:

    Socrates: Straw man like this is a sure sign you got nothin’.

    Not a straw man at all. Mataconis’ very obvious slant was that the GOP led house in Tennessee is ant-evolution. Rather, the following is true:

    A. Tennessee passed other “anti-evolution” legislation in the house when it was controlled by Democrats, and therefore,

    B. passage of such legislation is not uniquely special to the GOP, and therefore,

    C. Mataconis’ use of the term “GOP controlled House” adds nothing of note ; it pretends to observe a purportedly negative situation and link it to the fact that the GOP is in charge. In actuality, the fact that the GOP is currently in charge has nothing to do with the passage of so-called “anti-evolution” legislation. in Tennessee It is irrelevant to the discussion and is simply an attempt to paint conservatives in a negative light according to Mataconis’ ant-religious prejudices.

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  61. john personna says:

    Ok, you can have Jesus or you can have evolution. Its that simple. If you belive the Word of God you cannot have death come before sin because it don’t. Please read your bible. Sometimes I don’t know which is worse, evolution of the catholic church…

    There is some excuse, if kids grow up in an isolated church, and one that does not teach a little comparative religion … but this is obviously pretty inexcusable for an adult … I’m afraid much of this is driven by Christians unaware of how other Christians approach science.

    The mainstream Protestant religions made their peace with science hundreds of years ago, and arguably, that’s why you’ve enjoyed so much progress – relative to other fundamentalist religions in the world.

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  62. Randy says:
  63. Tennwriter says:

    Thank you, G.A..

    Now Mattb wishes to challenge me, but more importantly Reality and Reality’s Creator. Heh.

    First….So what? Really, Darwin is the most famous figure in the field so if I use Darwinism for a handy description, what is it to you?

    And furthermore, yes, around the 20’s or 30’s I gather the Modern Synthesis took place where Darwin’s disciples (PBUH) made their peace with modern genetics instead of striving to knock them down.

    Sigh. I’m going for Foul Ball for Matt here.

    Second…what’s your definition of Evolution? As D’nesh D’souza pointed out there are eight commonly accepted definitions, and only one of them has proof behind it. But evos try to use one to prove the others.

    Please demonstrate your proof. Note Galapagos finches are NOT proof of evolution, nor is so-called ‘superbug’ bacteria.

    Third….perhaps I should be clearer, although I was pretty clear already. But it is true that many of the less experienced of the creationist set come out with ‘its just a theory’ (I suspect that a number of them are moby types.)

    Evolution, like gravity, is just a theory. One proposes a hypotheses, designs a relevant experiment, runs the experiment, evaluates the datas match to the hypotheses, runs the experiment again….does other experiments…..have friends do experiments….if all this is successful….then you can start to call your hypotheses a theory. It is still, at best, an approximate model of Reality, and at worse, its dead wrong for some squirrelly reason.

    But scientific theories have different values. Some are extremely well-founded (and we start calling them Laws), and others like String Theory are much more airy. The more well founded a theory, obviously the more valuable it is. Evolution is somewhere out there with ESP, well really, its much further out there if you want to be rigorous statistically.

    Evo is practically useless in biology. Once we abandon it, I’m expecting a burst of new advances.

    ‘allele frequencies’….here your Wikipedia page is talking about Microevolution aka Adaptation aka Breeding. Mate a pit bull to a cocker spaniel, and you’ll see EVOLUTION!!!!!! Woohoo! Course that proves zip about anything but adaptation within a kind. You can’t take a Pit Spaniel and get from one Kind to another Kind no more than you can build a tower to the moon.

    As to your last para…brainwashing is a wonderful thing, so is intimidation, and picking second-rate minds willing to get ahead by going along. We need to divorce Science from the State because the State has corrupted Science.

    To the lady who uses evo every day, or thinks she does, you also used the term species…which is really imprecise, and ought to be stricken from the language of scientists.

    Mattb, don’t feel bad. You got in the ring with someone who knows a lot more than you. It happens.

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  64. george says:

    Evo is practically useless in biology. Once we abandon it, I’m expecting a burst of new advances.

    Actually, my understanding is that quite a few Christian universities have abandoned evolution (and did so decades ago). If you’re correct, there should be a burst of new advances coming from them, similar to the burst that came in physics when classical mechanics was ‘abandoned’ as you know, a theory is rarely completely abandoned) for quantum mechanics and relativity. In the case of physics, many of the older generation of physicists held onto their belief in classical (or at least deterministic) physics for many decades, and it was an initially small new generation of physicists who made the huge advances and convinced everyone that the quantum model was better.

    So, I’m not a biologist, but from what I’ve heard there hasn’t been the expected burst of biological advances coming from biologists who’ve abandoned evolution. Why not? Usually when such a huge paradigm is overthrown there is a huge burst of new activity coming from a small group – I’d expect to see it here, if evolution really was so far off the mark. But to date, all the main advances (in everything from genetics to biochem to anotomy to medicine) seem to be coming from scientists who feel evolution is the best model. That should be impossible if evolution is leading them in the wrong direction, in the same way that the problems in classical mechanics made it impossible for physicists who held to it to make advances in atomic physics.

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  65. Randy says:

    Mattb, don’t feel bad. You got in the ring with someone who knows a lot more than you. It happens

    When did that happen, I must have missed it. Pity.

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  66. Al Riney says:

    The news of Tennessee passing the bill that would protect teachers of Intelligent Design disturbs me deeply. Bills like this are made to seem benign, but are designed to push the agenda of the non-scientific Discovery Institute, a group that seeks control over education in order to push out objective science.

    If there was a controversy in the scientific community about the Theory of Evolution, it would not be a Theory. There is no controversy to teach that can stand up to real scientific scrutiny. Unfortunately, the kind of critical thinking needed to understand how little strength Intelligent Design has compared to Evolution rarely exists in middle or high school.

    Please oppose the bill. The Discovery Institute would have Tennessee appearing as a foolish, backwards state under the guise of hackneyed, misleading, and loaded euphamisms like “academic freedom” and “teaching the controversy.”

    Al E. Riney
    Concerned Citizen and Educator

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  67. mantis says:

    First….So what? Really, Darwin is the most famous figure in the field so if I use Darwinism for a handy description, what is it to you?

    It’s inaccurate and misleading. Isn’t that enough?

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  68. tom swift says:

    “You seem to be committed to the proposition that only those intimately acquainted with the publications in a field of science are qualified to talk about the science. Is that right?”

    That’s a simple form of the proposition; it need not be literally interpreted. One can be pretty good at structural mechanics without having read Timoshenko’s “Strength of Materials”, because the mathematical beam model developed by Timoshenko is followed in just about all similar texts. But one has to learn about the field somewhere before one can either understand it or make a meaningful critique of it. Otherwise, all one is equipped to add is noise.

    “But what you’re implying is the illegitimacy of the educated layperson.”

    I said nothing about education. I wrote that “some people” behave in a certain way. I didn’t specify which people, I only noted that there are some. It’s a good bet that some of those are commenting here, but as I am not terribly interested in the educational backgrounds of various unidentified Internet commenters or their ability to conduct meaningful discussion of any particular topic, I left it at that. The point is that there is a great deal to know about any but the simplest topics, and not everybody bothers to inform himself before sounding off. Whether this is due to a lack of time, insufficient intellectual capacity, or an inability to grasp simple epistemological concepts, is not important for present purposes.

    None of this should be particularly controversial.

    “Do you mean that those of us in the great scientific unwashed cannot rely on the arguments of those who have read the ‘canonical works’ etc., etc., etc., — and even done some of the research — in forming our own opinions?”

    But the canonical works ARE their arguments, and you can have only the most superficial understanding of those arguments if you haven’t even read them. (The works of their followers will do, if they cover the same material. But there are pitfalls – don’t read Richard Dawkins and imagine that you know all about Darwin.) Without knowing the arguments, you have no grounds for belief in them, unless you resort to mere faith in authority rather than understanding.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that. But don’t call it science.

    “On those grounds, how often, and about which subjects, would you have to keep your own mouth shut as you have not read the ‘canonical works’ etc., etc., etc. ?”

    Most of them. But I doubt that anyone needs to apologize for failing to be an authority in all fields of human endeavor.

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  69. Tennwriter says:

    Mantis,
    If I talk of Newtonian physics or Einsteinian relativity, or Darwinian biology, what’s the problem? Really?

    Sure, we all understand that there have been advances since Einstein in the understanding of relativity, so that’s not the problem. I suspect that Darwinists are starting to realize their prophet (PBUH) is not that wonderful a scientist, and want to be dissasociated from him.

    Well, tough.

    Darwinists is perfectly fair.

    George,
    A good point.

    How much do those Christian universities spend toward research, and how much do they spend toward teaching their students? I suspect they do little in the nature of research (which is the way it ought to be. Universities SHOULD be for the teaching of the next generation, and Research Labs and Amateurs in Garages for science research, IMO.)

    I will expand and clarify my earlier point that much of the research now is not benefited by evo. Lip service is payed to the reigning Bishops of Science, and the Prophet Darwin, but for many Evo means zip is what I’ve heard.

    One example is ‘junk DNA’ which evo’s used for their proof, but then it turns out that the junk ain’t junk which I understand fits better with a degenerative mutation model.

    Once we look at things from a YEC perspective, we would expect a golden age of physical and mental ability that declines as copying errors build up aka a degenerative mutation model. We need to find a way to seek out the damage points in human DNA, to try to repair things, to bring us back to the days when Joseph, Pharaoh’s second, complained that he was only 120 years old and not as strong as his fathers by which he meant they had lived longer, and that he was a wuss for dying so soon.

    This search for the past perfection of humanity might yield some of the most fruitful research. Its like looking at ruins of an ancient castle, and trying to imagine what the castle looked like when it was new. Hopefully, we can do this. I’m going to heaven when I die, but I have no problem with waiting a couple more centuries before it happens.

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  70. george says:

    George,
    A good point.

    How much do those Christian universities spend toward research, and how much do they spend toward teaching their students? I suspect they do little in the nature of research (which is the way it ought to be. Universities SHOULD be for the teaching of the next generation, and Research Labs and Amateurs in Garages for science research, IMO.)

    Still doesn’t answer the question. When classical mechanics was abandoned, it was initially only by a small group of physicists (a smaller group than the number of YEC biologists). And yet, with very little to no funding, they made an explosion of progress in atomic physics that forced the vast majority of physicists to conclude that classical mechanics was in fact not the correct model for small scale physics. If the same were true for evolution, the YEC biologists should be doing the same, and perhaps to an even larger scale, as there are more of them and they have far more money available – especially since they could almost immediately market their advances in biochemistry and organic chemistry to the pharmaceutical industry.

    As well, YEC physicists, who don’t believe that quantum mechanics and the solid state physics that comes from it correctly describe radiation (among other things), should be making an explosion of advances in solid state physics – where are all the new solid state devices (CPU’s etc) that should have appeared?

    When there’s a real paradigm shift, it allows back yard scientists to leap over funded, conventional scientists. In fact, it should be trivial to show that today’s biology and quantum mechanics are in fact extremely far off the mark, and their ‘advances’ are in almost useless. They’ve had many decades, where are those breakthroughs?

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  71. george says:

    Just to expand up that: perhaps the most important method of determining the success of a scientific model (and none of this is about truth, as you know, its all just models for reality) is the wide scope of advances in things like technology that come from it. Computers and most of our information age technology come from the quantum mechanics revolution, our biotech from the evolution paradigm (as you yourself say when you predict a huge explosion of advances). The anti-evolution groups have had as long as the evolution groups in biology (in fact they had a head start), the anti-quantum mechanics groups the same. So they should have left the evolution and quantum mechanics people in the dust …

    Again, just a handful of physicists outperformed every funded university in the world at the beginning of the quantum paradigm, forcing the physics world to take up that model. If evolution is a millstone on the neck of biology, the anti-evolution biologists should be so far ahead that there is no debate – but it appears the reverse is true. Why?

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  72. mantis says:

    If I talk of Newtonian physics or Einsteinian relativity, or Darwinian biology, what’s the problem? Really?

    Of course discussing those things is not an issue. The problem arises when you use the terms to describe something they do not. The term “Darwinian” does not encompass the whole of evolutionary theory in 2011. Not by a long shot. You use it as such, which is inaccurate and misleading. Do you understand now?

    Universities SHOULD be for the teaching of the next generation, and Research Labs and Amateurs in Garages for science research, IMO.

    Thank god you don’t have anything to do with how universities are run. You know this fancy Internet thing we’re communicating on? It wouldn’t exist if universities didn’t do research.

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  73. Tennwriter says:

    Mantis,
    You’re not understanding. If I talk now of relativity, and recent advances, and term it Einsteinian relativity, there is a minor degradation of precision, but a greater gain in understanding. So too with Darwinian biology.

    So, no, its not inaccurate and misleading….In Any Important Way.

    I will repeat my charge. I think Evos raise this issue because they realize Darwin was not that great of a scientist or a person, and they wish some distance from him. Or its simply part of a program of obscurantism that attends Darwinism because logic ain’t Darwin’s pal.

    Mantis, one of the relevant concepts is Return on Investment. You spends hundreds of billions of dollars doing something, and you’re going to have some good effect. But, might not that money been spent elsewhere to better effect?

    If students were taught by actual professors who knew English as a first language instead of
    TA’s who spoke a heavily accented English, would that not be better, especially considering how many mountains of money those students are shovelling into the maw of research labs?

    Its also unconstitutional for the gov’t to be paying for research (except when in war).

    George,
    Thank you for your courtesy and intelligence. You raise an issue I’ve only briefly considered before.

    Perhaps, one area where your comparison fails is that advances in biology today require very large investments of money. It would be as if your classical physicists required the building of the Supercollider to prove their point. If that had been the case nothing would have happened.

    Another more sure difference is that back then there was less gov’t involvement into Science. Gov’t favors the status quo. The powerful use their powers to defend their power or as its sometimes put in economics: an active gov’t favors the rich.

    I contend that much of today’s biology is not influenced by Evo. That for many biologists Evo is the equivalent of ‘Yr. Obedient Servant’ at the end of a very old school letter. Its something stuck on at the end that is not taken seriously. But it is a piety that has to be observed or dread asteroids of doom land on the biologist and his career.

    It is true that up until the 20’s and 30’s so I’ve heard, that Darwinists fought against Mendellian genetics which does pretty much fit your criteria.

    As to QM, I don’t know too many YEC who object. I do object. A=A, Not A =/ A. Logic has served humanity well for thousands of years. Science was founded on the Christian worldview. We start to retreat back from Christianity, and instantly up rises illogic in the form of QM.

    That is in brief, the whole of my objection to QM.

    Now obviously they are measuring something. I suggest that instead of the universe being illogical, that instead scientists are affected by the reigning worldview, and are being lazy.

    As to proving this, I cannot. But it makes sense given my assumptions (logic works!) and knowledge of history and human nature(people are lazy and self-serving).

    And to add one more point, I am in no way an expert on QM so I cannot get into an in-depth discussion of its validity although I welcome your thoughts on my assumptions and such.

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  74. mantis says:

    So, no, its not inaccurate and misleading….In Any Important Way.

    Actually, it very much is.

    I think Evos raise this issue because they realize Darwin was not that great of a scientist or a person, and they wish some distance from him.

    Incorrect. Darwin was awesome. He’s a personal hero, and I celebrate Darwin Day every year. But science does not stop with one man, and evolutionary biology has grown immensely since Darwin’s day. To call evolutionary biology “Darwinism” is to ignore the work of thousands of great scientists who have worked to achieve a much greater understanding of life on Earth.

    The truth is that anti-science nuts like yourself use Darwin because it’s much easier to demonize one person than it is to do so to many, many thousands of people. Anti-science nuts do the same thing with Al Gore and climate change.

    Anyway, I don’t have time today to spend on the rest of your idiocy. Enjoy your deluded little world.

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  75. Mike K says:

    Anti-science nuts do the same thing with Al Gore and climate change.

    Oh Oh. I was agreeing with you until you dragged in the failed Divinity student. Please, please, please do not try to place Al Gore in the science Pantheon. You really hurt your case when you do.

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  76. george says:

    Tennwriter :

    I don’t think your argument that research is more expensive works, simply because creationist biologists existed before evolutionist biologists, and have co-existed ever since. If evolution was as mistaken as you state, then even a small handful of creationist biologists would have from the start out done thousands of times their number of evolutionist ones. A hopelessly wrong scientific model makes almost no progress, no matter its numbers or funding (consider Aristotlean physics for instance, which made almost no progress, and then was completely out performed by Galileo … one man.

    This is the same problem that those arguing against quantum mechanics face – classical mechanics preceded quantum mechanics by two centuries, and the majority of physicists were hostile to it from the start. If quantum mechanics is hopelessly flawed, then its hard to explain why classical mechanics was so severely outperformed in predicting atomic scale phenomena … in fact, classical mechanics has never been able to predict even simple things like the spectrum of the hydrogen atom, whereas quantum mechanics has proven to be the most accurate (some constants predicted to 8 decimal places – to one part in 100 million, which is mind boggling) scientific theory humans have ever developed. Given they started at the same time, and almost everyone preferred classical mechanics for the first two decades, the difference is extremely startling.

    In fact, I’d argue that in terms of science models (and again, all science is models, its not about truth, as the inductive method doesn’t lead to truth, just (hopefully) more useful models), if evolution is a poor model, creationism is even worse, as it has been responsible for far fewer advances, despite existing earlier and having more support for the first four decades of the theory of evolution. It could well be there’s a third theory that we simply haven’t thought of yet which does far better than either, but for now the theory of evolution has been more useful as a scientific theory, judging by the advances that have come with it.

    A better argument for your case is the one you mention – that origin theories play little role in the development of biology. I’m not a biologist (as you could probably tell by the detail with which I go into physics compared to biology), but those i talk to seem to feel that evolution has played a huge role in its development. However, they may be mistaken … but if they are, then your statement that a switch to creationism would lead to a huge influx of new biological advances would turn out to be false; if origin theories don’t play a role in biological research, then changing origin theories will have a negligible impact.

    In terms of quantum mechanics – almost every working physicist will tell you they’d love for some form of classical physics to replace it. Quantum mechanics is unintuitive, extremely difficult, almost impossible to visualize, and we’d love to be done with it. Unfortunately it has been astoundingly accurate in its predictions (routinely accurate to one part in a million on questions where classical mechanics is wrong by orders of magnitude). The computer chips that these messages are written and passed on are developed according to the theories of quantum mechanics (semi-conductor material is non-sense according to classical mechanics). Nuclear fission and fusion are quantum phenomena that are impossible according to classical mechanics.

    The list goes on. Its an awful theory, far too complex for human minds to really understand, but its incredibly accurate in its predictions. You’re in good company for not liking it; Einstein for instance disliked it to the end. But every test he could think of (read up on Bell’s inequality) to show there really were hidden variables ended up giving results as predicted by quantum mechanics.

    If you could replace it with some sort of classical theory not only would you win an easy million dollars for the Nobel Prize, but you’d be a hero to just about every physicist in the world. But I suspect you’re going to find that’s its very hard to do – geniuses have tried to replace it, and in the end have only strengthened the claims of quantum mechanics.

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  77. mantis says:

    Please, please, please do not try to place Al Gore in the science Pantheon. You really hurt your case when you do.

    I’m not, really. Just making a point about how anti-science people feel the need to personify the science they object to.

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  78. Tennwriter says:

    “Climate change” is an excellent example of why not to trust gov’t funded science. Thanks for your help, Mantis! ‘Cept Evo is even more dishonest.

    It might help you to read a little bit more about Darwin. I’m not really that into making heroes of modern sorts who support genocide. He’s got other problems as well. But, a lot of Lefties make a hero out of Che Guerva….shakes head.

    Anti-science nuts? Dude, I’ve got a SF novel out, and I’ve written a number of SF based world settings. I’m trying to reform a corrupt process, and destroy an illogical and anti-scientific theory. Its not an accident that one of the earliest groups that promoted Evolution was named the Geology Club….which London club did not have a single geologist. Politics and not science.

    George,

    What about the Mendelian genetics? Junk introns? The appendix? We need to get rid of the term ‘species’.

    My layman’s understanding says that ‘superbugs’ are commonly thought of as superevolved, but in actuality, they are degenerate. The lazy bacteria that eats less thrives in an environment of occasional poison floods (antibiotics) whereas its more vigorous cousin dies. Spending time trying to deal with superbugs is a waste, I’d say. Spending time dealing with degenerate bugs would be more worthwhile.

    I have heard the arguement that biology is primarily descriptive. If so, origin means little. But I don’t like this idea. I want a ‘faster please’ boost to science.

    So in reply.
    1)There has been some.
    2)Lots of bio still fits the ‘Yr. Obt. Srv.’ model I suggested.
    3) When we waste time and billions based on evo, we don’ t chalk it up to evo, but to Lord Murphy, god of mischance.

    And so on…

    For QM, I sympathize. But my number one concern is that QM seems illogical. Now ultimately, I don’t think the universe is illogical.

    Anyways, my brain is hurting, and I’m tired.

    But here’s a bit more…
    Darwin had a strange version of Creationism, termed the Circle of Life?? which among other things held that creatures were perfect in mind as his backdrop. He was not dealing w/ modern YEC scientists.

    His primary opponents were not churchmen who were generally willing to go along, but rock men who said ‘the rocks don’t say this’. He told them to go look some more.

    8 decimal places….impressive. I’ll have to study up on QM some more. Unfortunately, I have a better chance of winning the lottery than of coming up with the New Understandable Physics.

    I absolutely agree. All science is models. This para. I am fully in agreement with.

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  79. Tennwriter says:

    Mantis,

    The anti-science people were the supporters of Global Warming. Its not science when you say ‘I have the data, but I’m not going to share it.’ That’s unsupported speculation.

    Tagging a movement with a person’s name is normal human behavior. Lysenkoism forex.
    Pointing out that Al Gore, Prophet of Gaia, lives in an enormous house, and made a 100 million bucks, most of it during the same time he was prophecying of doom ‘the End is Nigh. Repent and Gaia May Forgive’ (and by the way fill my collection plate with hundreds only) seems quite fair.

    Your objection is silly, and I suspect that it is more partisan than idealistic.

    George,
    I’m more awake now.

    Creationists did do substantial biology before (but the expense part does not bite back then for either side so much). The first very serious scientist (named the ‘Father of’ at least one scientific sub-field) to examine Neanderthal said ‘rickets’.

    Georges Cuvier, Father of Paleontology, was a Creationist. So was Linnaus Carole, the Father of Classification. So was Gregor Mendel, who discovered heredity, and thus leads us to genetics.

    Darwinists opposed Mendel up until the 1920’s and 30’s thus holding science back, as Mendel is right.

    I have less faith than you in the ability of Science to correct itself when faced with Social Pressure and Conspiracy and Gov’t Cheese. Forex: The first guy to put together Neaderthal’s skeleton, and create the image of a hunched over creature, did so deliberately. He was an evo, but a tall, erect Neanderthal would support some other version of evo which he did not like. So this world-class expert falsified the data.

    This was not discovered for 45 years.

    In an ideal world, scientists double-check each other all the time, and are willing to be open with data, and never ever hoax to push their theory or get a prize, and are willing to put aside emotion when faced with facts. In the real world….

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  80. Karl says:

    Regarding the academic freedom to criticize evolution in Tennesee (Tennessee Legislation on Evolution Moves Forward):

    For the last five years of my full-time career, with the full knowledge (and dismay) of state and county school officials as well as the ACLU I demonstrated to my students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of doubt that evolutionism is nonsense. The students saw that the evidence clearly shows that every item associated with humans, animals and plants are Intelligent Designs and Intelligent Design is science. I always let the students figure it out for themselves and allowed them to believe what they chose, but at least they were exposed to the scientific facts that extremists want to censor from the minds of public school students.

    After the first lesson a student from an atheist family said, “Evolution is silly.”

    Now I exterminate evolutionism at his website Insects: Incredible and Inspirational http://www.insectman.us.

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