Evolution Yet Again

One of the dangers of blogging infrequently is that you only post when you’re angry. Such is my dilemma.

I’m generally OK with religious people, but it makes me fume when I think of what they will do to the nation if the latest nonsense against evolution actually succeeds:

I recently addressed a group of French engineering graduate students who were visiting Washington from the prestigious School of Mines in Paris. After encouraging them to teach biotechnology in French high schools, I expected the standard queries on teaching methods or training. Instead, a bright young student asked bluntly: “How can you teach biotechnology in this country when you don’t even accept evolution?”

I wanted to disagree, but the kid had a point. Proponents of “intelligent design” in the United States are waging a war against teaching science as scientists understand it. Over the past year alone, efforts to incorporate creationist language or undermine evolution in science classrooms at public schools have emerged in at least 15 states, according to the National Center for Science Education. And an independent education foundation has concluded that science-teaching standards in 10 states fail to address evolution in a scientifically sound way. Through changes in standards and curriculum, these efforts urge students to doubt evolution — the cornerstone principle of biology, one on which there is no serious scientific debate.

This war could decimate the development of U.S. scientific talent and erode whatever competitive advantage the United States enjoys in the technology-based global economy. Already, U.S. high school students lag near the bottom in math skills compared with students in other developed nations, and high school seniors are performing worse in science than they were 10 years ago.

These trends can only worsen if students come to regard evolution as questionable or controversial. Thirty-seven percent of the high school Advanced Placement biology examination tests knowledge of evolution, evolutionary biology and heredity, according to the College Board. Students who do not thoroughly understand evolution cannot hope to succeed on this exam; they will be handicapped in competitive science courses in college and the careers that may follow.

The article goes on to mention that some young person in one of the states that is attacking evolution will be robbed of a future by this nonsense; her head will be filled with superstition rather than science, thus limiting her ability to work as a scientist.

I may return to this later when I’m not quite so upset.

Via Jonathon Adler.

FILED UNDER: General, ,
Robert Prather
About Robert Prather
Robert Prather contributed over 80 posts to OTB between October 2005 and July 2013. He previously blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished. Follow him on Twitter @RobPrather.

Comments

  1. bains says:

    I’m generally OK with anti-religious people, but it makes me fume when I think of what they have done to the nation as a result of their fear of faith in anything other than science.

    And I say this as an atheist and an engineer.

  2. I have no problem with religion, except when it is trying to supplant science. The advocates for ID / creationism are trying to call something science that has no evidence. Almost as bad: they are trying to diminish evolution based on nothing. No alternative testable theory, nothing.

  3. Christopher says:

    Evolution is fine to teach, but not as the end-all be-all. Why can’t you teach ID or supreme being or whatever.

    Prather, I’m not sure what you have been reading-probably liberal drabble. But “evolution — the cornerstone principle of biology” is not even close to a true correct statement. Evolution, contrary to what YOU might have been taught, or- so common in liberals to believe immediately what seems to be obvious and logical (see how they view conservatives in terms of religion, racism, immigration, evolution etc etc etc)-what you might believe, it is NOT a proven science. Repeat after me: NOT. Not Not Not. Got that? Are you sure? Really, are you sure?!?

    (By the way, who the #*%&!* cares a flip what the French think?)

  4. lyssad says:

    Exactly right. It’s not proven. That’s why it’s science.

    (like the Theory of gravity, germ Theory of disease, Theory of electromagnetism… all theories, none proven.)

  5. bains says:

    One reason I hate atheists, and am reluctant to call myself one, is that when all is tested and catalogued, it’s still a matter of faith. Does god or gravity determine how much I weigh? We can measure, and accurately predict how masses affect other masses, but we still don’t know why. I have no problem with mutation/evolution theories for explaining how we became but there are enough gaps that I can’t dismiss the possibility of a “hand of god.” Enough of a preface.

    I don’t see advocates of ID as trying to eradicate science; they merely have faith in something I, and many others, don’t believe in. Moreover in the past 40 years, they have seen their faith besmirched by the education institution and in fact, supplanted by the church of science – a church that is exceptionally accurate in predicting, describing, and explaining our world, yet one that does not have all the answers. Opponents of ID, when questioned about these gaps proclaim: Just wait, you’ll see, science will eventually explain everything. In other words, have faith in science. IDers just want to get back the seat at the table that secularist have revoked.

    The kicker for me — an atheist, an engineer — is that theories are just that… they may prove workable, even beneficial, but they are still theories. To outright reject a competing theory, just because it doesn’t fit ones own proclivities, is the antithesis of the scientific method.

  6. Tano says:

    bains,

    As an engineer, how would you feel about the “theory” that god holds up bridges, so one need not worry too much about the quality of steel one puts in the cables? Would you reject this theory because “it doesn’t fit your own proclivities”?

    You catch my drift here? ID is not a scientific theory. It is not a competitor of evolution in the field of science. It stands completely outside of science. No one is trying to silence ID people from spouting their ideas. No one is trying to forbid people from having “faith” in anything, or to proclaim that faith on every street corner, or from every rooftop.

    Just not in science class.

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    For scientific theory to be more than theory, it must be reproducable. Since you wish to believe in evolution, where are the new life forms evolving? Second, creat life. Shit, science can’t even make DNA. Where is the link between modern man and what ever was just before us? There must be some relics somewhere. If evolution works, why are Chimps not smarter than they were a million years ago?

  8. Steve Verdon says:

    One reason I hate atheists, and am reluctant to call myself one, is that when all is tested and catalogued, it’s still a matter of faith. Does god or gravity determine how much I weigh? We can measure, and accurately predict how masses affect other masses, but we still don’t know why. I have no problem with mutation/evolution theories for explaining how we became but there are enough gaps that I can’t dismiss the possibility of a “hand of god.” Enough of a preface.

    Ahhh, the old “God of the Gaps” argument, and so plainly stated vs. being spiffed up with made up scientific sounding nonsense.

    I don’t see advocates of ID as trying to eradicate science; they merely have faith in something I, and many others, don’t believe in.

    Uhhhmmm, yes and no. Yes they have faith in something that others believe and yet others don’t believe in. However, in reading the Wedge Document, it is pretty clear that their intent is to make science subservient to religion.

    Moreover in the past 40 years, they have seen their faith besmirched by the education institution and in fact, supplanted by the church of science – a church that is exceptionally accurate in predicting, describing, and explaining our world, yet one that does not have all the answers.

    There are a number of problems here. The first off is that if the educational institutuions insult religion, that is not even close to a valid reason to reject science and facts (i.e. organisms changer, that is, evolve). That scientists have “faith” in their methods is an equivocation on your part to use the two different meanings of the word faith to make an illogical inference. Finally, nobody has claimed science will ever have all the answers.

    So, we have a irrelevant argument, equivocation, and a red herring. Three logical fallacies back to back. Good work.

    Opponents of ID, when questioned about these gaps proclaim: Just wait, you’ll see, science will eventually explain everything.

    Oh baloney. The scientists have “faith” that their methods will have a good chance of filling in that gap. When that gap is filled in the God that lives in those gaps will get smaller. Bad science, bad reasoning, and bad theology. And in one sentence no less.

    In other words, have faith in science.

    Ahh there is that lovely equivocation again. Good work.

    The kicker for me — an atheist, an engineer — is that theories are just that… they may prove workable, even beneficial, but they are still theories. To outright reject a competing theory, just because it doesn’t fit ones own proclivities, is the antithesis of the scientific method.

    There is no competing theory. And why is it alwasy engineers that seem to want to defend/promote ID?

    Well, at least Tano and I can agree on this.

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    If evolution works, why are Chimps not smarter than they were a million years ago?

    Paging Dr. Dembski….

    There you go again, assuming a target/goal, when it is quite plainly stated that evolution really has no target/goal.

  10. george says:

    There is nothing wrong with teaching faith in a course on religion. The problem with teaching Intelligent Design in biology is the same as teaching Intelligent Falling in physics (to use The Onion spoof) … anything can be explained by faith.

    Why bother with quantum mechanics, electronics, or any of physics, much easier just to say some intelligent designer makes things work they way they do. Physics has more fundamental inconsistencies than biology at this point. For instance, our current theories of gravity and our current theory of the other three forces cannot be simultaneously true, one has to be wrong at a fundamental level. Do we stop teaching physics until it’s sorted out?

    Certainly a lot of other countries would be very happy if we stopped scientific research, or replaced it with Intelligent Design/Falling and the like.

  11. Tano says:

    “Since you wish to believe in evolution”

    I wish to understand the world. I don’t “wish” to believe in evolution, it merely is the best explanation available.

    “where are the new life forms evolving? ”

    All around you. Life is continuing to evolve, and there are many species that seem, as best we can tell, to be in the process of dividing into new species.

    “Second, creat life. Shit, science can’t even make DNA.”

    Huh? We make DNA in the lab everyday. Thousands of genetics labs around the world would grind to a halt immediatly if your statement were true. Do you have the slightest idea about what you are talking about?

    “Where is the link between modern man and what ever was just before us? There must be some relics somewhere.”

    The museums are filled with them.

    “If evolution works, why are Chimps not smarter than they were a million years ago?”

    How smart were chimps a million years ago? And why would you expect them to be smarter? “Smartness” is the human specialization that has allowed us to survive. Chimps have survived as well (they are still here) – using other adaptations. Evolution is not about getting smarter (except for humans) – it is about adapting to changing enviroments in a manner that ensures survival. Every species alive today is equally well adapted, by virtue of the fact that they have all passed the survival test. And every species has its own unique set of adaptations. Whatever works….

  12. DC Loser says:
  13. Cernig says:

    Again, it is all about values. The truth doesn’t enter into it for the extreme faith-based right.

    Since they worked so hard to demonize educated folks and intellectuals as “liberal” elitists from ivory towers, they have of necessity made a virtue of the opposite of intellectual. They have created, by evolution rather than intelligent design, a veritable cult of ignorance where NOT being educated is a good thing. Homer and Bart become role models rather than anti-heros to be pitied.

    It doesn’t happen to be a value I agree with but in debating it the facts bounce off the value exactly like a head off a brick wall.

    When you make a value out of “my values right or wrong” then there are no facts and no mistakes that need to be debated. It’s the main theme of those who have hijacked the conservative movement in the U.S.

    Regards, C

  14. DC Loser says:

    Actually, they share many similarities regarding science as the Taliban.

  15. G.A. Phillips says:

    Gee I wish that thy would teach the part were both math and biology have proved that evolution is both mathematically and biologically impossible, but I would think that’s another road that leads back to freedom of speech and religion and how Christians are being ever increasingly denied these so called rights.

  16. madmatt says:

    Maybe we should make ID beleivers use drugs that don’t take into account evolution…penecillin is allowed, but the upgrades are not…they don’t need them as evolution doesn’t exist.

  17. “How can you teach biotechnology in this country when you don’t even accept evolution?”

    That’s a rather silly formulation of how things work in the US, well, at least until the Federal Government takes over everyhting. Last time I checked, we still have fifty little experiments in democracy going on. Sometimes, some of those democracies make bad choices, and they get to live with the consequences. Yeah, sometimes it sucks, but substituting any dogmatic approach is wrong, whether it be Intelligent Design or blind faith in, say, the writings of Stephen Jay Gould.

    FWIW, I think the theory of evolution is tremendously good at explaining and predicting what we see, about as good as we see today in biological sciences. Nonetheless, as a theory, it is still subject to revision as other even more well thought of theories have been in the past. There are still some unexplained phenomenon when it comes to evolution, but like you, I don’t need to reach down into the mystical bag of tricks looking for an explanation.

    In the meantime, I wouldn’t get too worked up over these intellectual Luddites. Darwin will have his revenge on their gene pool soon enough.

  18. G.A. Phillips says:

    Oh hey guys,this is what it not only says but truly means,(AmendmentI* 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 to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.)perfect and simple. Gee I wonder what source material our forefathers used to come up with this little bit of science be it political
    , lol.

  19. G.A. Phillips says:

    I have not seen one bit of evidence in any thing, ever, for evolution being true that has not been fabricated or is wild theory, you can’t show me one thing that is alive that has been the recipient of one good mutation, you can not date one single thing beyond what recorded history tell us and I don’t care how much faith you have in what ever scientific theory you use to do it , prove it. The only thing that I have seen you accidentally prove and almost every time is the truth of the word of God.

  20. Steve Verdon says:

    Gee I wish that thy would teach the part were both math and biology have proved that evolution is both mathematically and biologically impossible, but I would think that’s another road that leads back to freedom of speech and religion and how Christians are being ever increasingly denied these so called rights.

    Is this a joke? There are no such mathematical proofs, and no such biological evidence. In fact, the opposite (sort of) is true.

    Oh hey guys,this is what it not only says but truly means,(AmendmentI* 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 to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.)perfect and simple. Gee I wonder what source material our forefathers used to come up with this little bit of science be it political
    , lol.

    Nobody’s rights to free speech or religious freedom have been abridged. Further, you are perfectly free to believe in evolutionary theory, creationism, or whatever you want. There is nothing that indicates the contrary.

  21. dave s says:

    It’s whimsical that the student was French. Here’s an article Steve Sailer wrote about French attitudes to Darwin:

    http://www.isteve.com/2001_Why_French_Ignore_Darwin.htm

  22. george says:

    And what’s with this atom crap? I’ve never seen one, nor has anybody else. Why is this junk being taught in our schools?

  23. floyd says:

    robert, don’t you think your anger spawned a little hyperbole? there is really no telling what lies even the best scientists have swallowed to date[ remember phrenology?], yet they have not done irreparable harm to the nation.considering the lowbrow nature of the fithy hoi-poloi i would surmise that whatever “they” thought would be of little or no consequence,once the light of your superior intellect is shed abroad. of course there could be no better form of government than an enlightened dictatorship, so long as the enlightened pick the dictator, huh?

  24. Christopher says:

    Again, evolution is NOT a proven science.

    Repeat after me: NOT. Not Not Not. Got that? Are you sure? Really, are you sure?!?

  25. G.A. Phillips says:

    Not a joke Steve, you should watch VCY once in a while, and why are all of your evolutionists so afraid to debate my guy Kent Hoven among others, Ill tell you why, because they will get there booties handed to them, Oh and I guess knowing all that you know you must have missed the studies on how improbable with all of the countless star systems in the the known universe that it would mathematically impossible for the conditions we have here on earth for higher life forms or any life forms for that matter, damn I wish I could give you a link to the studies , even if I new how to give a link, so I guess you got to go look it up for your self, sorry. Things that I know but really don’t need to because I believe in God. Oh yes and to my freedom not being what? It is legal to teach theory as the truth but not legal to teach the truth of God at all, You might want read and try to figure out that Amendment again.

  26. RJN says:

    String Theory is losing adherents. The theory of gravity is under some scrutiny at present. All theories should be available for scrutiny if, and when, sufficient good evidence of flaws are advanced.

    The arguments of Steve, and Tano are so littered with straw men that this subject can no longer be sensibly discussed here. These people have made evolution their god; it is a sacrosanct area under their holy veil; it is a protectorate.

  27. Tano says:

    You guys are really funny.

    Note to the OTB crew:
    These people are in your political coalition, and your favorite party does many things to pander to them. You have a lot of culpability here…

  28. george says:

    Again, evolution is NOT a proven science.

    There are no proven sciences. Not a single one.

    String Theory is losing adherents. The theory of gravity is under some scrutiny at present. All theories should be available for scrutiny if, and when, sufficient good evidence of flaws are advanced.

    On the other hand, last I saw gravity was still being taught in the schools, and no one was seriously pushing for teaching Intelligent Falling instead. Scrutiny is the lifeblood of science. But demanding proof before science is taught is just another way of saying science shouldn’t be taught in school, there’s no proof for anything in science, it’s all inductive reasoning. Proof belongs to math, not science.

  29. george says:

    Oh and I guess knowing all that you know you must have missed the studies on how improbable with all of the countless star systems in the the known universe that it would mathematically impossible for the conditions we have here on earth for higher life forms or any life forms for that matter

    Take a pack of cards, and lay it out, one card at a time. The odds against any sequence of those fifty two cards coming out is so huge that it can be “mathematically” proven that it could not have happened. Hence we know that it is impossible to flip over the cards of a pack of cards one by one. Amazing the things you can do with bad statistics.

  30. Steve Verdon says:

    Again, evolution is NOT a proven science.

    No, evolution is a fact. Organisms change–i.e. evolve. Get used to it.

    Repeat after me: NOT. Not Not Not. Got that? Are you sure? Really, are you sure?!?

    Repeat after me: Fact, fact, fact. Got it yet? Didn’t think so.

    Not a joke Steve, you should watch VCY once in a while, and why are all of your evolutionists so afraid to debate my guy Kent Hoven among others, Ill tell you why, because they will get there booties handed to them, Oh and I guess knowing all that you know you must have missed the studies on how improbable with all of the countless star systems in the the known universe that it would mathematically impossible for the conditions we have here on earth for higher life forms or any life forms for that matter, damn I wish I could give you a link to the studies , even if I new how to give a link, so I guess you got to go look it up for your self, sorry. Things that I know but really don’t need to because I believe in God. Oh yes and to my freedom not being what? It is legal to teach theory as the truth but not legal to teach the truth of God at all, You might want read and try to figure out that Amendment again.

    GA,

    That is pretty funny, Kent Hovind (that is the correct spelling by the way), have you seen the pictures of Patriot University? A split-level ranch style home–classic diploma mill. As for Hovind’s arguments/theories/views if he has one that is actually correct it is by accident.

    By the way please define mathematical impossiblity for me. Feel free to use probability theory if you want.

    Oh, and no, none of your freedoms are being infringed. If you want to teach the truth of God then start a private school with a religious element to the curriculum…heck, there is probably one such school in your vacinity right now.

    The theory of gravity is under some scrutiny at present.

    Only now?!?!?! Gee, and here I thought scientists had been studying it for quite some time now. Dang, those scientists sure are lazy.

    Tano,

    Please, I’m not a Republican.

  31. RJN says:

    George and Steve; more indirection does not an argument make. About 300 years ago Newton got knocked on the head with an apple, and we got a Theory of Gravity. Then, Einstein gave us balls rolling down hillsides, and now our Voyager space explorers have given us cause to wonder if we understand gravity as well as we thought.

    I do admire Steve’s work in economics, and his posts here at OTB, so I forgive him for his indirection. Tano hasn’t won an argument for awhile, so I forgive him his indirection. George, I have hope, will improve his arguments as time goes by.

  32. RJN says:

    By the way: 52 factorial exceeds, by my reckoning once, the number of nuclear particles in the universe. So, you would have a hell of a time to record a copy of all of the possible sequences of a 52 card deck.

  33. G.A. Phillips says:

    Steve thank for the spelling lesson, and why do I have to start a Private school, all my extra money is stolen form my to teach your unprovable hype in public schools and I don’t have time to continue to explain what every thing means to you over and over again, you should study harder on what you have I all ready given you, o.k. I,ll give you two math problems and the answers since you asked. Monkey+time=dead monkey,planet+time=nothing=because you can date any thing that far back=impossible.

  34. G.A. Phillips says:

    Sorry Steve, my spelling again 2ND math problem should have said can’t instead of can, did not want you to get all grade school teacher on me again.

  35. Steve Verdon says:

    RJN,

    George and Steve; more indirection does not an argument make. About 300 years ago Newton got knocked on the head with an apple, and we got a Theory of Gravity. Then, Einstein gave us balls rolling down hillsides, and now our Voyager space explorers have given us cause to wonder if we understand gravity as well as we thought.

    I’ll go you one better RJN, we don’t understand gravity, at least in some minor way, and we probably never will. This is the nature of science and scientific models. They are by definition wrong, at least in some ultimate detail.

    Scientific models are simplifications of reality. This makes sense after all, since reality is highly complex. So to better understand one or a few parts of reality the scientist makes simplifying assumptions. In economics for example, one simplifying assumption is that all other variables save the price is fixed. Then the economist derives what happens as price fluctuates and then derives a hypothesis (e.g. demand is inversely related to price). Then the economist gathers data, tests the hypothesis statistically, and then either confirms or fails to confirm the hypothesis. Based on the results, the economist either (tentatively) accpets the hypothesis as true, or revises the hypothesis. The method is largely the same for biology, physics, and so forth.

    Your claims that gravity is coming under questions is absurd in that scientists have always been investigating it. The theories of gravity have always been and almost surely will be tentative. That is new data could very well mean a refinement/change to the current dominant theory of gravity, or even elevating a competing theory to primacy.

    Evolutionary theory is the same. The theory of evolution today is rather different than what Darwin initially proposed. Darwin had no idea about DNA, genetics, and so forth (or maybe an inkling of an idea). Still, his notions of decent with modification and natural selection are still important parts of evolutoinary theory and are at the core of the theory. Is evolutionary theory a “fact”? No. However, it is the case that organisms change–that is evolve. As such evolution is a fact. Any theory that is to displace evolutionary theory has to account for these facts along with the facts of the fossil record, DNA, mutations, speciation, and all the other aspects of the current theory of evolution and explain things the current theory does not and explain those things the current theory does with more parsimony.

    GA,

    Steve thank for the spelling lesson, and why do I have to start a Private school….

    The point is the fact that you can, or find a private school for your child, contradicts the notion that your rights are being violated. You also have the option of home schooling as well. So your argument that your rights are being constrained or violated just doesn’t hold any water.

    …all my extra money is stolen form my to teach your unprovable hype in public schools…

    The problem then isn’t evolutionary theory, but schools funded with tax dollars. Vote libertarian/minarchist.

    As for evolutionary theory being unprovable, you’re right, but this is true of all theories. Are we to teach that children should perform rain dances to get rain and the sun dance for to get sunny weather? Should we ignore meteorology and teach some sort of shamanism in its place. After all the theories of meteorology are unprovable.

    …I don’t have time to continue to explain what every thing means to you over and over again…

    Translation: you can’t provide a definition of mathematical impossibility.

    …you should study harder on what you have I all ready given you…

    Oh, but I can define mathematical impossibility. Given an event, X; X is impossible iff Prob(X) = 0.

    There you go, a definition of mathematical impossibility. By the way, in case you didn’t know “Prob” stand for probability. I trust I don’t have to describe/define what a probability measure is for you. Oh, and iff, isn’t a spelling error either in case you are wondering, it means “if and only if”.

    …o.k. I,ll give you two math problems and the answers since you asked. Monkey+time=dead monkey…

    You’d do well not to rely on Hovind for things like this. In evolutionary theory we aren’t talking about a single organism (generally), but populations, further we are talking about populations that reproduce. So, we have:

    Monkey Population + Time + Random Mutation + Natural Selection = New Species.

  36. Tano says:

    Steve,

    Sorry for implying that you supported Republicans. I guess you are actually even worse (who woulda thunk that possible)! Lets get rid of public education, eh? You want MORE of the type of cretins that we see here now?

  37. RJN says:

    Steve: You are saying that the theory of gravity is always under the shadow of change, but the theory of evolution is not subject to change. The essence of all of these, here, anti ID claims is that nothing can be forseen that would change our present view of evolution, only, theory. Wow! You evolution only guys are wonderful. You have shown us the place to stand from which we can move the earth.

  38. george says:

    Clearly the theory of evolution can change. It’s almost certainly in error. The problem is, the argument for not teaching it is that it might be in error (ie, it’s only a theory). That same argument could be used against anything taught in science. The conclusion is that we should not be teaching science in school. This is not a misdirection, this is the unavoidable conclusion of the argument that “we should not teach evolution because it hasn’t been proven.”

    BTW, the problems with gravity go to it’s core. Either our theories of gravity, or our theories of quantum mechanics are wrong (it’s impossible to quantisize gravity … you end up with infinite uncancalable singularities). Presumably that means we should be teaching neither gravity nor quantum mechanics until it’s straightened out?

  39. Tano says:

    “Presumably that means we should be teaching neither gravity nor quantum mechanics until it’s straightened out?”

    Thats right George. Just teach the folk tales of some Middle Eastern tribe from a couple of thousand years ago. Thats where you go to find absolute truth. Then you dont have to bother with anything else. And you get to act like you know something – the most important things! How cool is that?

  40. Steve Verdon says:

    Sorry for implying that you supported Republicans. I guess you are actually even worse (who woulda thunk that possible)! Lets get rid of public education, eh? You want MORE of the type of cretins that we see here now?

    No, jackass, I happen to think that one can be both religious as well as believe in evolutionary theory.

  41. RJN says:

    Please!!!!!!

    The IDers NEVER say don’t teach evolution. The IDers believe in evolution. The IDers just don’t think totally unguided evolution is the sole cause of our present advancement.

  42. Steve Verdon says:

    Tano,

    Also, I’m not totally opposed to public education, I’m just not happy with the way the current system is run.

    RJN,

    Steve: You are saying that the theory of gravity is always under the shadow of change, but the theory of evolution is not subject to change.

    No, I never wrote nor implied that. In fact, I wrote exactly the opposite when I wrote,

    Evolutionary theory is the same. The theory of evolution today is rather different than what Darwin initially proposed. Darwin had no idea about DNA, genetics, and so forth (or maybe an inkling of an idea). Still, his notions of decent with modification and natural selection are still important parts of evolutoinary theory and are at the core of the theory. Is evolutionary theory a “fact”? No. However, it is the case that organisms change—that is evolve. As such evolution is a fact. Any theory that is to displace evolutionary theory has to account for these facts along with the facts of the fossil record, DNA, mutations, speciation, and all the other aspects of the current theory of evolution and explain things the current theory does not and explain those things the current theory does with more parsimony.

    The essence of all of these, here, anti ID claims is that nothing can be forseen that would change our present view of evolution, only, theory. Wow! You evolution only guys are wonderful. You have shown us the place to stand from which we can move the earth.

    This is false and a misrepresentation of what I’ve written.

    The IDers NEVER say don’t teach evolution. The IDers believe in evolution. The IDers just don’t think totally unguided evolution is the sole cause of our present advancement.

    For which the IDers never give any evidence…ever.

  43. Tano says:

    Steve,

    So whats with the “jackass” comment? My comments to you were simply about your reference to public education – I said nothing about any impossibility of being an evolutionist and religious. I don’t see any impossibility there either.

    The line that I was responding to: “The problem then isn’t evolutionary theory, but schools funded with tax dollars. Vote libertarian/minarchist.”

    IF I misunderstood that, then apologies…But it seems to say that you are against funding schools with tax dollars – i.e. public education. IF schools arent funded with tax dollars then what dollars will fund them? All private?

    Later you say you are not opposed to public education, just the way it is run. Can I assume therefore that the first comment was just a throwaway line?

  44. Tano says:

    RJN,

    Please clarify. Are you an IDer, or an anti-evolutionist?

    “The IDers just don’t think totally unguided evolution is the sole cause of our present advancement. ”

    Evolution is not “totally unguided”. Evolution proceeds by species adapting to their environment. The pressures exerted by the environment can be very extreme, leading to a harsh selection of the variation present in any generation. So, if you crave a “guidance” factor, it is there in the process by which the traits and characteristics of organisms are selected to better assure survival in a particular environment. Then the environment changes, and different selective pressures arise. Etc.

    Some outside mystical guiding hand is neither required for this explanation, nor is it a testable (scientific) hypothesis.

  45. Tano,

    We are not culpable for the religiosity of the Republican Party. I don’t think we even have a Creationist who posts here.

  46. bains says:

    Nothing quite like the arrogance of the ‘true believer…’
    …Except the condescending arrogance of the “priests” of the church of ‘true believers.’

    You are a smart man Mr Verdon, but as a writer you are as off-putting as those you regularly belittle. In fact, you use the same tactics you attack Coulter for — acerbic scorn and over the top rhetoric.

    I was not promoting, nor even defending the ID “theory,” merely acknowledging that those who do have as much rights to their beliefs as do I. I was pointing out that while I find validity in the evolutionary theory as to why we are, I couldn’t find incontrovertible proof that this is a fact. And thus, I must keep an open mind. And more importantly, I cannot not cavalierly dismiss theories — or opinions — that do not mesh with my worldview. Apparently, you do. The irony is that you are dogmatically indistinguishable from the people you regularly scorn on this site.

    As a postscript, I found this illuminating:

    …it is pretty clear that their intent is to make science subservient to religion.

    In other words, “I know that’s what they believe, but they’re so stupid to believe it.”
    I’m guessing that you cant conceive of a universe, the whole universe, embodying the “laws” of science as we mere mortals know, to be the product of an omnipotent deity. And if such a universe existed, science would necessarily be subservient to “religion…” Because, you know… God invented it.

    I don’t believe this, Steve, but unlike you, I openly acknowledge my faith in science.

  47. Tano says:

    Bains,

    Steve can defend himself, no doubt, but I would like to point out to you the obvious flaw in your argument.

    The issue is not whether ID theories are to be tolerated in our society. The issue is whether these religous theories are to be taught in SCIENCE class.

    Obviously not.

    But when fundamentalist religous activists try to get religous theories introduced into science class, or even minimally, to pretend that their religous theories are part of a “controversy’ wihtin science, then it is entirely fair to point out that these activist are trying to subvert science to religion.

  48. bains says:

    Tano, I’d be really, really, really surprised if you could find where I’m advocating selling ID in any science course.

  49. Tano says:

    bains,

    What is this thread all about? Its about deficits in this country regarding the teaching of science. Specifically biology. Specific cause – an opposition to notions of evolution being taught in biology classes, an opposition fueled by christian fundamentalists, most recently under the guise of “intellegent design”.

    Your contributions have all been based on some notion that ID is a competing theory with evolution. It is not. It refers to a different subject matter (cosmology vs. biology). It is not a scientific theory. It has no place in the biology, or the geology, or the engineering classroom.

    If you agree with that, then why havent you said so, given that this what the thread is about.

    You have made false claims about ID (its a competing theory), you have made false charges about science (no one claims science, reason, can explain everything), you have willfully confused “faith” in certain revealed facts with “faith” in a process for understanding the world (reason). How are we to guess that underneath all this, you actually agree with the point of the original post – that ID should not be taught in science class?

  50. bains says:

    Sigh… So much like “debates” over abortion. People refuse to hear what another is saying if it does not comport with ones own views.

    Tano, I do not claim ID is a competing theory to science, I merely recognize (but dont believe) the possibility that if there is a god, God certainly has the capacity to… affect our existance. If there is a god, he may have designed us so intelligently that we could ‘devine’ some of his “natural laws” in a way beneficial to us. In fact, God may have given us the ability to discover that we did, in fact, evolve from apes, who evolved from ____ who evolved from ___… whom god originally created.