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Scientific Illiteracy and the Partisan Takeover of Biology
National Center for Science Education ^ | 18 April 2006 | Staff

Posted on 04/19/2006 3:57:51 AM PDT by PatrickHenry

A new article in PLoS Biology (April 18, 2006) discusses the state of scientific literacy in the United States, with especial attention to the survey research of Jon D. Miller, who directs the Center for Biomedical Communications at Northwestern University Medical School.

To measure public acceptance of the concept of evolution, Miller has been asking adults if "human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals" since 1985. He and his colleagues purposefully avoid using the now politically charged word "evolution" in order to determine whether people accept the basics of evolutionary theory. Over the past 20 years, the proportion of Americans who reject this concept has declined (from 48% to 39%), as has the proportion who accept it (45% to 40%). Confusion, on the other hand, has increased considerably, with those expressing uncertainty increasing from 7% in 1985 to 21% in 2005.
In international surveys, the article reports, "[n]o other country has so many people who are absolutely committed to rejecting the concept of evolution," quoting Miller as saying, "We are truly out on a limb by ourselves."

The "partisan takeover" of the title refers to the embrace of antievolutionism by what the article describes as "the right-wing fundamentalist faction of the Republican Party," noting, "In the 1990s, the state Republican platforms in Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Missouri, and Texas all included demands for teaching creation science." NCSE is currently aware of eight state Republican parties that have antievolutionism embedded in their official platforms or policies: those of Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. Four of them -- those of Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas -- call for teaching forms of creationism in addition to evolution; the remaining three call only for referring the decision whether to teach such "alternatives" to local school districts.

A sidebar to the article, entitled "Evolution under Attack," discusses the role of NCSE and its executive director Eugenie C. Scott in defending the teaching of evolution. Scott explained the current spate of antievolution activity as due in part to the rise of state science standards: "for the first time in many states, school districts are faced with the prospect of needing to teach evolution. ... If you don't want evolution to be taught, you need to attack the standards." Commenting on the decision in Kitzmiller v. Dover [Kitzmiller et al. v Dover Area School District et al.], Scott told PLoS Biology, "Intelligent design may be dead as a legal strategy but that does not mean it is dead as a popular social movement," urging and educators to continue to resist to the onslaught of the antievolution movement. "It's got legs," she quipped. "It will evolve."


TOPICS: Heated Discussion
KEYWORDS: biology; creationuts; crevolist; evomania; religiousevos; science; scienceeducation; scientificliteracy
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To: Right Wing Professor
"Conservatively, I estimate you probably have to use two molecules of glucose to provide the energy and materials to make one nucleotide and insert it into DNA. The L-GLO pseudogene has about 1000 base pairs, or 2000 nucleotides. If there's one copy in every one of the 5 X 1013 cells of the body, to produce two L-GLO pseudogenes in every cell of the body, you need 2 X 2 X 2000 X 5 X 1013 = 4 X 1017 molecules of glucose, or about 7 X 10 -7 moles. The molecular mass of glucose is 180 g/mol, so this corresponds to approximately 125 micrograms of glucose. So a human possessing the L-GLO pseudogene needs to eat 125 micrograms more glucose to synthesize all the L-GLO pseudogenes every cell in the body will ever have. Turnover times for human DNA vary from days to decades, depending on which cells we're discussing; but if we take a mean of 100 days, you require 1.25 micrograms of extra glucose a day to maintain the L-GLO pseudogene.

"And that assumes degraded DNA is not recycled, which of course it is.

Darn! You took the words right out of my mouth. ;)

601 posted on 04/20/2006 7:56:49 PM PDT by b_sharp (A lack of tag line is not a)
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To: Right Wing Professor
So then I presume you could never vote to convict on a jury, because however convincing the evidence and the prosecution's theory of the crime, the alternative theory of miraculous intervention would always exist.

Nice bit of swashbuckling, but "reasonable doubt" is not the same thing as "disproof"...

Cheers!

602 posted on 04/20/2006 7:58:44 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
And if they're pals with Abramoff, they're nest-egged hierarchies.

OUCH!! At that pun, there is only one response:

Cheers!

603 posted on 04/20/2006 8:02:03 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Nice bit of swashbuckling, but "reasonable doubt" is not the same thing as "disproof"...

Not what I was saying. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is proof.

Once again, if the possibility of miraculous intervention doesn't provide reasonable doubt in a jury trial, why would you consider the possibility of miraculous intervention in explaining natural phenomena?

604 posted on 04/20/2006 8:06:16 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor
Once again, if the possibility of miraculous intervention doesn't provide reasonable doubt in a jury trial, why would you consider the possibility of miraculous intervention in explaining natural phenomena?

Dinner, I'll reply later.

605 posted on 04/20/2006 8:08:08 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Dimensio; Mamzelle

Science is important to evolution but there sure are an awful lot of branches of science where evolution does not even come into play. None of the chemistry, physics, oceanography, limnology, astronomy, or meteorology courses I took were even remotely dependent on evolution or an understanding of it. In some of the courses in was mentioned breifly but it sure wasn't the basis for it and a *proper* understanding of it was not required. It's a good thing too, with the way I'm finding out that evolution is being taught in public high schools.


606 posted on 04/20/2006 8:15:31 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Diamond
Please demonstrate, out of the 95% of the total fossil record, one single nested hierarchy of any complex invertebrate that appears to be a modification of earlier nested hierarchies.

Interesting observation.

607 posted on 04/20/2006 8:26:21 PM PDT by TaxRelief (Wal-Mart: Keeping my family on-budget since 1993.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
In my state, per pupil expenditure was less than $8K in 2005. Maybe you should do something about your state and local government rather than railing about mine.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^

It is evident that you did not check my link.

The average cost of educating a government K-12 child per year in the U.S. is over $10,870. These figures were deliberately underestimated and were for the year 2003. The cost today would be even more. This are federal, state, and local costs combined.

Oh,,,,and it does seem that the evolutionists are the fiercest defenders of compulsory attendance, compulsory funded, price-fixed, monopoly government schools.

Again the link and an excerpt:

http://www.reformk12.com/archives/000174.nclk



Doing the Math Here's how we came up with the numbers used in this article.

Using the data from the 2000 U.S. Census, the US population is about 281 million, with about 72 million of these under 18 (pdf). To figure about how many school-age kids there are we divided the 72.3 by 18, then multiplied by 13 to encompass the grades K-12. This gives us an estimate about 52.2 million kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Interestingly, while searching for other statistics we came across this 1999 Census report on education (pdf) with all sorts of breakdowns of the student population, including how many in each category of age. We added up the columns for Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and High School and reached a total 52.6 million, satisfyingly close to our original estimate.

Now what about private schools? "Public Schools: Make Them Private" by Milton Friedman, and "How Members of Congress Practice School Choice" by Krista Kafer and Jonathan Butcher from the Heritage Foundation both indicate about 10% of students are enrolled in private schools. Subtracting 10% of 52.6 million for private school and another million for homeschooled kids gives us a final estimate of about 46 million public school kids. To keep the numbers user-friendly we'll call this 50 million.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, taxpayer expenditures for education this school year is over $501.3 billion. Rounding to $500 billion this gives us a ballpark estimate of $10,000 per school-age child. (Note that this is an underestimate, since the actual number of public school students is closer to 46 million, giving us an average of about $10,870 per kid in public school.)

Subtracting persons under 18 from the U.S. population, we get about 209 million folks 18 and over, which we rounded to 200 million, since some folks don't pay taxes. These 200 million citizens pay $500 billion in taxes for education, or $2,500 per taxpayer on average, per year.

Dollar-wise, this means it takes about four taxpayers to pay the government for the education of one child.
608 posted on 04/20/2006 8:32:54 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
You are entitled to believe any freaky thing you want about the world. You are not free to teach your religion under the guise of biology to minor children. That interferes with their freedom of conscience.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Personally, I subscribe to the theory of evolution.

However, unlike many who are evolutionists, I would never advocate that the government FORCE evolution on other people's children. I would NEVER threaten another parent with police or foster care action if they refused to send their children to a government school in which it was taught. Neither would I threaten a fellow citizen with the sheriff's auction of their home or business if they refused to pay for it.

If evolutionists object to ID being forced on their children why is it so hard for them to see that IDers do not want evolution forced on them?
609 posted on 04/20/2006 8:45:17 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
Government has the duty to secure minimal educational standards for children, since it's an unfortunate fact that many parents, left to their own devices, will not do so.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Government left to its own devices will not educate children. It is government that is failing in its duty.

The following is a link to StandUp.org. Please check the the reading proficiencies of the Oloney High School and Frankford High School in Philadelphia. Frankford serves my childhood neighborhood. I recently worked in clinics that these two government schools serviced ( or should I provided a disservice?).

Oloney High School has only 6% if its students reading at proficiency level. Frankford is only a little better.


http://www.standup.org/know.html

These two government high schools have plenty of basics to work on before addressing the topic of evolution.
610 posted on 04/20/2006 8:54:40 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor

Let's be truthful; you don't like evolutionists because we challenge your dogmatic religious beliefs.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I am an evolutionist, but I don't like fellow evolutionists.

Why? Because they are bullies.

They defend government schools that FORCE evolution on resistant children and demand that other tax payers pay for this forced indoctrination. They are those who are least likely to advocate vouchers or tax credits and freedom of choice in K-12 education.


611 posted on 04/20/2006 8:57:58 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: puroresu
In a sense, it doesn't make that much difference any more. More and more parents seem to be opting out of the public schools, and the internet provides ways around public school dogma on evolution.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Thank goodness!

Hopefully, enough parents will remove their children from government schools that they will collapse.

Government schools need two things: Money and students. Hopefully rational parents will starve them of both.
612 posted on 04/20/2006 9:05:57 PM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: grey_whiskers
Once again, if the possibility of miraculous intervention doesn't provide reasonable doubt in a jury trial, why would you consider the possibility of miraculous intervention in explaining natural phenomena?

Synopsis: Since divine revelation is claimed, it would (if true) trump other considerations. The canonical objections to this are (as you noted in an earlier post) "how do I know WHICH God" of "anyone can claim a "god", how can you tell the difference". These both arise from the inability of the scientific method to differentiate between unfalsifiable claims; and the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a wonderful satirical illustration of the principle. The answer to this is that there are portions of human experience which for one reason or another are not susceptible of examination by emprical, falsifying methodologies. To distinguish between them, other, more subjective methods must be used. Note by the way that although empiricism, through the means of falsification, provides a way to whittle down errors, this does not necessarily mean that other forms of acquiring knowledge MUST yield incorrect results; but it does mean that they are more liable to do so, having no "internal" correction mechanism. Look at my oft-quoted chestnut about the Physics Today article where the lawyer won a car-crash lawsuit by saying "...everyone knows the laws of physics are obeyed in the laboratory, but not in rural New Jersey." This lawyer and the conclusion of the jury were incorrect; but it does not follow that ALL jury decisions are incorrect. It's just that when you use scientific, empirical methods you can "tell for SURE" that something is wrong.

Which brings us back to your question about a jury trial:

In the case of a criminal jury trial, the rules are that the defendant must be presumed innocent, until proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Call that placemarker 1.

Think of the vernacular, the common parlance, say in a sporting event "a miracle comeback". We know that Miracle Comebacks happen--look at the #&#@!! 1969 Mets beating my beloved Orioles in the World Series, or the 1980 US Olympic Hockey team kicking Soviet ass.

By that definition, "miracles" happen--they earn the sobriquet "miracle" because they are rare.

Call that placemarker 2.

In a jury case, "reasonable" doubt is rather a nebulous phrase...Some things may actually happen, but they happen rarely enough that one discounts their occurrence with "other things being equal". ECREE and all that.

Call that placemarker 3.

But a jury trial (saying whether something is LIKELY to have happened) is not the same thing as science and/or empiricism, where you are trying to come up with a concise self consistent model of what "did" happen (subject to revision according to new experimental evidence).

Here, the miraculous refers not to what is "likely" or "common" or "reasonable", but introduces in addition the element of extra-natural, "super"-natural entities. This complicates matters in several aspects.

1) First, since "by definition" (so to speak), the supernatural is "super" natural, it is by its essence not subject to the type of tests, verification, and refinement the way a construct within a model may be tested. Think of this as "how many angels CAN dance on the head of a pin" ? It's harder to come up with a consensus answer which can be falsified or verified by experiement when you can't even agree on what signal is unambiguously that of an angel :-)

2) Second, since (by common agreement, reputation, what have you) the supernatural entities are "sentinent" (whatever THAT means!), you don't know for sure whether they are playing fair, or whether they are subject to uniform rules of behaviour on an individual instance-by-instance basis. There is some analogy here to psychology as "cargo cult science". Or to the line on the Murphy's Law poster that "under the most rigorously controlled conditions of humidity, temperature, and pressure, the organism will do as it damn well pleases!" :-)

3) Third, the concept of the supernatural, and its impingement (infringement?) upon the orderly, predictable, natural world, works against the entire ansatz of the empirical method -- "uniformity of causes in a closed system". And more's the pity, it violates BOTH of the tenets at the same time: and inconsistently. First the supernatural opens up the system: and if the supernatural agent under consideration has any choice in the matter, it can either interfere or forbear, without prior notice, in any given situation. So you don't even get a useful fudge factor or cosmological constant out of it. :-(

4) Finally, the three points above would completely RUIN the supernatural as any form of efficacious MODEL or reason, rationale, cause of things. (*)

But there's the rub. I don't happen to think that Judaism/Christianity came about, or were designed, as an attempt to "explain" a confusing world. The language and the stories related in the Old Testament are primarily talking about how God is concerned with human behaviour, rather than "why does water freeze when it gets cold" or "why are their seasons?"

(*) BTW, there is a confusion of language: "because" can refer to "cause and effect" (he got wet because it was raining) , or it can refer to a "motivation" or "grounds" (he got wet because he forgot his umbrella). There is some analogy here to the French savoir vs. connaître. Science is based on observation of phenomena under controlled conditions, and deals with specific fact knowledge. Religion is based upon experience, authority, or revelation, and deals with "acquaintance" knowledge. Religion is not INTENDED (so to speak) to address the types of questions asked by science. In other words, it is not based upon EVIDENCE; but upon TRUST. And we all know there are such things as charlatans; but that does not mean that anyone who trusts is necessarily incorrect.

Finally, one last point about jury trials: miracles are commonly assumed to be at the behest of God or Angels (The Good Guys). Part of the credulity about an accused criminal getting off by a miracle is that the net effect of the miracle would be to harm someone (the victim) or to enable a bad guy (the criminal) to prosper. Both of these activities are antithetical to how God is "supposed to" act, in the common everyday view of things.

Cheers!

613 posted on 04/20/2006 9:41:02 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
Sometimes, I get a little carried away.

Like when I sent that last post to myself, intending it for you ;-)

No, it wasn't something I ate, either. I'm prepping for a weekend Mountain Bike trip with the Boy Scouts and got called into 4 different conversations and several different phone calls...

Cheers!

614 posted on 04/20/2006 9:53:00 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: wintertime
I am an evolutionist

Methinks she doth protest too much

They defend government schools that FORCE evolution on resistant children and demand that other tax payers pay for this forced indoctrination.

We also 'force' math on the poor dears. You don't object to that.

Nobody is forcing high school kids to take biology, They can take shop, if they prefer. What they can't do is neglect to learn about the central paradigm in biology and still claim they've taken biology.

615 posted on 04/21/2006 12:55:39 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: wintertime
Personally, I subscribe to the theory of evolution.

Uh huh. So you keep saying.

However, unlike many who are evolutionists, I would never advocate that the government FORCE evolution on other people's children. I would NEVER threaten another parent with police or foster care action if they refused to send their children to a government school in which it was taught. Neither would I threaten a fellow citizen with the sheriff's auction of their home or business if they refused to pay for it.

You think it's wrong to force people to pay for the war in Iraq if they object to it?

616 posted on 04/21/2006 1:01:57 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: wintertime
It is evident that you did not check my link.

It is evident you are so ignorant about the educational system in the US that you are unaware that per-pupil expenditures vary widely by state and district:

These are the actual numbers, not your link's half-assed math.

617 posted on 04/21/2006 1:21:27 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: grey_whiskers
I'm prepping for a weekend Mountain Bike trip with the Boy Scouts and got called into 4 different conversations and several different phone calls...

Sounds like fun. I was a patrol leader, way back near the dawn of time.

618 posted on 04/21/2006 1:25:30 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: metmom
Science is important to evolution but there sure are an awful lot of branches of science where evolution does not even come into play. None of the chemistry, physics, oceanography, limnology, astronomy, or meteorology courses I took were even remotely dependent on evolution or an understanding of it.

I'm not really sure I'm understanding your point here. If you are noting that, say, an astrophysicist mapping distant galaxies has no 'need' for a cladogram of reptiles, or that a geologist prospecting for petroleum has no 'need' for quantum mechanics--well, the point is obvious. But that is simply a reflection of the vast bulk of solid information we have accumulated about the material world. Perhaps 500 years ago, a 'natural philosopher' (as scientists were then called) still had a reasonable prospect of mastering the volume of knowledge. But now, of course, the volume alone of knowledge simply demands specialisation; it's the limitation of our own brains, not the nature of science, which demands this.

More significant, IMHO, is the basic unified nature of science and its methodology. One may (in fact, must) choose a specific discipline in which to work, but one cannot choose only some parts of the scientific method for that work, and that is why science is ultimately 'seamless.' For a crude analogy, consider an orchestra: every musician in it can play at least one instrument, some can play several, none can play all. The flautists have no "need" for the cellists' portion of the score, but all play according to the same methodology of music. And they cannot do otherwise.

I think this point--the fundamental unity of science--matters, for several reasons. Some critics of ToE appear to view Darwin and his work as an aberration and an assault on some particular forms of religious belief, and that if Darwin can be "refuted," then the 'threat' of science to those particular varieties of religious belief will go away. But this is flat-out wrong. Darwin could never have formulated his ToE without the advances Lyell had made in geology--advances which alone demonstrate that there had been no global deluge as described in the Bible and Koran. In turn, Darwin's ToE led to an understanding of the fossils which has played back into further advances in geology. If anyone doubts this, then I would ask them to kindly indentify a single oil company that employs Biblical scholars in lieu of geologists to find petroleum!

Indeed, I doubt if there is a branch of science which doesn't conflict with literal readings of every religion's scripture some way or another (linguistics, for example, includes a branch of diachronic analysis which shows there just couldn't have been a Tower of Babel in the literal sense). But does this mean that science is thereby "denying God?" I don't think so at all, though it does indeed rule out some fundamentalist tenants of some religions. For the adherents of those fundamentalist views, I suppose one really only can say they have a right to simply ignore science if it creates too many conflicts for them. What they do not have a right to do is endeavour to change the nature of science to shield a set of minority beliefs.

There's one final point maybe lurking in all this. I think there is a lot of misconception in the air about that nature of science. Science by definition is materialistic, it cannot be otherwise--but that is not at all the same as a necessary endorsement of materialist philosophy; it simply states that any 'non-material' domains, if any exist, are simply out of scope and unaddressable by science. I don't understand why this is a problem to anyone. Asking science to be anything other than materialistic is the same dilemma Bogart pointed out to the thugs beating him up in Petrified Forest (I think), something along the lines of "I know the kind of goons you are: first you knock my teeth out, then you kick me for mumbling!"

619 posted on 04/21/2006 2:35:25 AM PDT by ToryHeartland
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To: grey_whiskers
The language and the stories related in the Old Testament are primarily talking about how God is concerned with human behaviour, rather than "why does water freeze when it gets cold" or "why are their seasons?"

I basically agree, but with two caveats:

[1] Adherents of any religion probably make the same claim about their own beliefs. I don't think Hindus or Buddhists or anyone else would claim to hold the beliefs they do on the strength of their explanatory power about the physical world, but of their 'spiritual'--and social-- significance.

[2] Why are some Christian, Jewish, and Islamic fundamentalists so insistent that one must accept Biblical accounts of the physical world (e.g. creation in six days, global deluge, &c.) literally, and that to fail to do so undermines the spiritual and moral teachings of the Old Testament. And it isn't just an OT issue. One of the Americans I particularly admire is Thomas Jefferson. He was a strong adherent to the ethical teachings of Jesus, but as a rationalist rejected the supernatural elements of the Biblical accounts (he edited a version of the NT from which miraculous elements were removed on the grounds they defied credibility). Whether one agrees or disagrees with this particular endeavour (it is, in any event, rather singular), it strikes me as at least a valid approach. No matter how the world came to be, murder is a moral evil. If Noah never existed, rape would still be evil. Jefferson held that Christ's ethical teachings were compelling whether or not he ever walked on water or raised the dead. But we have all certainly seen fundamentalists of a number of religions who would regard Jefferson as a dangerous heretic on these grounds.

620 posted on 04/21/2006 4:18:21 AM PDT by ToryHeartland
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To: Right Wing Professor
You think it's wrong to force people to pay for the war in Iraq if they object to it?

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Your ignorance of the role of government is showing. We specifically have government to provide for national defense. That some might object to how that force is applied, in this case Iraq, our U.S. Constitution specifically permits use of an army even though it impinges on the freedom of conscience of some citizens.

We also have state and federal constitutions that outline our rights.

The government does not have the right to restrict free speech, free press, free expression of religion, or free assembly. Government schools do this every day!

The government does NOT have the right to establish a religion. The liberals apply this broadly to the mere mention of God. If this is so, then government schools ESTABLISH, every day, the worldview of some ( with religious consequences)and actively undermines the religious traditions of others every day.
621 posted on 04/21/2006 5:28:19 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
It is evident you are so ignorant about the educational system in the US that you are unaware that per-pupil expenditures vary widely by state and district:

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

That the average cost of educating a government K-12 child in the U.S remains MORE than $10,870 per year, per child. This is more than 1/3 the cost of the cost of the military.

This continues to be true. That various state expenditures vary has never been disputed by me.
622 posted on 04/21/2006 5:33:04 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
We also 'force' math on the poor dears. You don't object to that.

Nobody is forcing high school kids to take biology, They can take shop, if they prefer. What they can't do is neglect to learn about the central paradigm in biology and still claim they've taken biology.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%



Even math has political, cultural, and religious consequences, and is NOT neutral. Even math establishes the worldview of some while undermining that of others and it does have religious consequences.

http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/ravitch/20050620.htm

While no one is specifically forced to take biology, they ARE forced to assembly with those who do. A child can not exempt himself from the entire culture of the school. This social environment of other students and teachers will have political, cultural, and religious consequences.
623 posted on 04/21/2006 5:38:37 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: wintertime
I wrote to you: You state, as though it were fact, that teaching evolution in science class in a public school destroys the political, cultural, and religious belief systems of some of the students

You replied: I did NOT say that. You are creating your own strawman and then arguing against it.

_____________

Really? I quote you here:

"There is NO way that the government school can approach the topic of the origins of mankind without ESTABLISHING the worldview of some ( with political, cultural, and religious consequences) without actively working against and deliberately destroying the political, cultural, and religious belief systems of others."

The bolding is my addition to your post 14 in this thread.

You used the word "destroy" and now you are trying to disavow its use, even denying that you used it at all. It's a shame that you will not even own up to your own words. It makes it challenging to address your other points, the upshot of which seems to be your distaste for paying taxes.

624 posted on 04/21/2006 5:55:19 AM PDT by dmz
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To: wintertime
Even math has political, cultural, and religious consequences, and is NOT neutral. Even math establishes the worldview of some while undermining that of others and it does have religious consequences.

BWAHAHAHA!. You cited a link critical of ethnomathematics, the postmodernist leftist idea that mathematics is socially constructed. But you don't realize it's the article is critical of ethnomathematics, and so you're taking the multiculturalist left position the article is attacking.

What on earth gave you the idea you were a conservative?

While no one is specifically forced to take biology, they ARE forced to assembly with those who do. A child can not exempt himself from the entire culture of the school. This social environment of other students and teachers will have political, cultural, and religious consequences.

LOL! So we should forgo teaching anything that might offend anyone in the school, even if they themselves don't take the offending course, for fear we contaminate the 'culture.'

Even the crazier pomo lefties on my campus would be hesitant to advance this theory. You can't be for real.

625 posted on 04/21/2006 6:12:16 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: wintertime
A child can not exempt himself from the entire culture of the school. This social environment of other students and teachers will have political, cultural, and religious consequences.

In other words, no one can exempt themselves from the culture in which they live.

Well, some do try. But Muslims living in the West cannot actually exempt themselves from a culture that tolerates satire about things they might feel are holy. And my view of that inability is: tough.

I have seen that our government is selling off some old Cold War-era nuclear bunkers. They aren't too expensive, and sound like something you might find a perfect environment for your approach to raising kids.

No offense, but that's one hell of a weird bee in your bonnet.

626 posted on 04/21/2006 6:17:39 AM PDT by ToryHeartland
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To: wintertime

Even math has political, cultural, and religious consequences, and is NOT neutral. Even math establishes the worldview of some while undermining that of others and it does have religious consequences.

You think math IS NOT politically, culturally, and religiously neutral? What fields of study do you think ARE politically, culturally, and religiously neutral

627 posted on 04/21/2006 6:17:53 AM PDT by ml1954 (NOT the disruptive troll seen frequently on CREVO threads.)
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To: wintertime
That the average cost of educating a government K-12 child in the U.S remains MORE than $10,870 per year, per child

The bar chart says $8K for 2003. You do know how to read a bar chart, right? Your numbers are from a back of the envelope estimate by some unknown activist. Mine are from the National Science Foundation.

That various state expenditures vary has never been disputed by me.

Untrue. When I posted Nebraska stats (which are very close to the national average) you disputed them.

That the average cost of educating a government K-12 child in the U.S remains MORE than $10,870 per year, per child. This is more than 1/3 the cost of the cost of the military.

So its costs $30,000 a year to run the military?

Unreal.

628 posted on 04/21/2006 6:19:03 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor
These are the actual numbers, not your link's half-assed math.

Why do you evomaniacs always fall back to insulting advanced concepts that you cannot comprehend? It would really be helpful if you could find some real scientists and mathematicians to represent you in the great evo debate.

629 posted on 04/21/2006 6:22:48 AM PDT by demoRat watcher (Keeper of the Anthropocentrism Ping List)
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To: dmz

DMZ

You are completely correct.

I consider it a compliment that you read my post.


630 posted on 04/21/2006 6:24:13 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor

LOL! So we should forgo teaching anything that might offend anyone in the school, even if they themselves don't take the offending course, for fear we contaminate the 'culture.'

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Solution: Begin the process of privatizing universal K-12 education. Parents, teachers, and principals, in private setting, should be the people deciding how the origins of life be presented to the children.


631 posted on 04/21/2006 6:26:13 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: demoRat watcher
Why do you evomaniacs always fall back to insulting advanced concepts that you cannot comprehend? It would really be helpful if you could find some real scientists and mathematicians to represent you in the great evo debate.

Umm, RWP is an honest-to-goodness real life scientist. He comprehends these subjects just fine.

632 posted on 04/21/2006 6:27:51 AM PDT by RogueIsland (.)
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To: ml1954
What fields of study do you think ARE politically, culturally, and religiously neutral

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Hm,,,,likely none. That is why government should get out of the K-12 education business.

Solution: We must begin the process of privatizing universal K-12 education. Let parents, teachers, and principals, in private settings, make these decisions.
633 posted on 04/21/2006 6:28:46 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
So its costs $30,000 a year to run the military.

Hint No. 1:Stay focused on the subject. The subject of this side debate was education costs. Therefore the $30,000 refers to per pupil expenditures per year at American schools on military bases.

Hint No. 2: The National Science Foundation is a political organization and should not be considered a reliable source. Trust, but verify.

634 posted on 04/21/2006 6:33:15 AM PDT by demoRat watcher (Keeper of the Anthropocentrism Ping List)
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To: demoRat watcher
Why do you evomaniacs always fall back to insulting advanced concepts that you cannot comprehend? It would really be helpful if you could find some real scientists and mathematicians to represent you in the great evo debate.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I have tried to avoid personal attack, but in this thread I have been called a chiropractor, and accused of having a bee in my bonnet.

Personally, I post so that I can share talking points with other conservatives. I do not try to convince the pro-evolutionist defenders of government schools who enjoying having the backing of police action to force their agenda on resistant children and families.

I am an evolutionist who believes in freedom of conscience.
635 posted on 04/21/2006 6:34:39 AM PDT by wintertime (Good ideas win! Why? Because people are not stupid.)
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To: ToryHeartland
He was a strong adherent to the ethical teachings of Jesus, but as a rationalist rejected the supernatural elements of the Biblical accounts (he edited a version of the NT from which miraculous elements were removed on the grounds they defied credibility). Whether one agrees or disagrees with this particular endeavour (it is, in any event, rather singular), it strikes me as at least a valid approach.

It is not a valid approact to Christianity, because Jesus Himself made His miracles a central component of His teachings. If you remove all the Supernatural from Christianity you don't have Christianity anymore.

The problem is too long to go into here in detail, but the difficulty is that "by definition" miracles are rare, AND "break the rules"; and since they are done by supernatural agents they are non-testable. This means that just when the empirical approach would be most useful, it is inapplicable.

And because of that, science cannot distinguish between competing supernatural claims using its own methods. So, in the interests of logical consistency (from the outside, no one creed can occupy a "favored status") the only thing to do is to reject them all.

And that's the problem. The scientific method is a way of minimizing errors--"false positives". But I see no way of correcting for the possibility of rejecting things which may happen to be true, but don't have tangible, TESTABLE evidence behind them. (BTW, the reason this doesn't matter for ordinary everyday events, is that the laws of nature 'guarantee' uniformity, even in those situations where you can't directly test the materials...but again, miracles by definition claim to be exceptions, so this approach is a bad fit.)

Cheers!

636 posted on 04/21/2006 6:35:43 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: RogueIsland; Right Wing Professor
RWP is an honest-to-goodness real life scientist.

Really? Nutritional Science or Behavioral Science?

637 posted on 04/21/2006 6:39:15 AM PDT by demoRat watcher (Keeper of the Anthropocentrism Ping List)
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To: Right Wing Professor
So its costs $30,000 a year to run the military?

Which might be the reason for 25¢ beer night at the EM club.

638 posted on 04/21/2006 6:40:39 AM PDT by dread78645 (Evolution. A dying theory since 1859.)
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To: puroresu
We're almost there! Okay, my comment about distorting information is really about the folks who want to discredit the theory of evolution. If you are not in that camp, then I apologize.

My issue with the stickers still stands however. Many of us who have faith aren't at odds with science. It's unfortunate but a historical fact that many agenda-driven forces have attacked science, sometimes religious in nature, sometimes otherwise. But the scientific community has a great track record (far better than, say, the political community), and I trust them to make corrections whenever presented with verifiable and peer-validated evidence.

If the small-but-vocal minority of fundamentalists would stop attacking evolution, it would no longer be available to anti-religious groups for pummeling religion. And the sooner that happens, the better off we'll ALL be.

639 posted on 04/21/2006 6:54:41 AM PDT by LibertarianSchmoe
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To: Right Wing Professor

RWP, your post 543 is really interesting reading. Thanks.


640 posted on 04/21/2006 6:56:09 AM PDT by RogueIsland (.)
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To: wintertime

I consider it a compliment that you read my post.
_

I'm a helluva guy, and it must be true, as I keep saying it.


641 posted on 04/21/2006 7:15:44 AM PDT by dmz
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To: wintertime

Consider for a minute how interesting it would be to observe a true debate over the merits of evolution. (It won't happen between two groups of fanatics, however.)

Evolution aside, the crux of the matter is the presence of a public education system that currently exists for the primary purpose of brainwashing America's youth to accept various pop agendas.

Unfortunately, public education will continue as a government-funded and government-controlled institution (just as Marx desired). The curriculum debates will rage for as long as some individuals operate under the belief that children will be harmed if they do not "know" the politically correct precepts of the day, and that local governments are too ignorant to make their own curriculum decisions.

Fortunately, individual parents still have the option to reject handouts from the great "middle class welfare scheme" by opting out of the public education system.


642 posted on 04/21/2006 7:16:30 AM PDT by demoRat watcher (Keeper of the Anthropocentrism Ping List)
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To: demoRat watcher
RWP is an honest-to-goodness real life scientist.

Really? Nutritional Science or Behavioral Science?

There are some posters on FR you should know a little about before debating them on technical matters. Physicist, Right Wing Professor, RadioAstronomer, and CoyoteMan among them. RWP is definitely not a nutritional scientst, but if you prefer to think the man doesn't have the credentials and background to contribute to a bush-league debate on Evolutionary Theory, I won't try to dissuade you from that. Just realize it's greatly amusing to those of us with a passing familiarity with RWP's profession and educational background.

643 posted on 04/21/2006 7:28:57 AM PDT by RogueIsland (.)
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To: demoRat watcher
Hint No. 1:Stay focused on the subject. The subject of this side debate was education costs. Therefore the $30,000 refers to per pupil expenditures per year at American schools on military bases.

No it doesn't. But thanks for playing.

The National Science Foundation is a political organization and should not be considered a reliable source. Trust, but verify

The National Science Foundation is a largely apolitical agency. I deal witht ehm on a weekly basis.

644 posted on 04/21/2006 7:29:41 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: demoRat watcher
? It would really be helpful if you could find some real scientists and mathematicians to represent you in the great evo debate.

You can find my c.v. linked off my profile, bozo. So where and in what field did you get your Ph.D.?

645 posted on 04/21/2006 7:32:43 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: RogueIsland

Thanks. I'd actually never run the math on that before, and it was an excuse to do it.


646 posted on 04/21/2006 7:35:09 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: wintertime
Solution: Begin the process of privatizing universal K-12 education. Parents, teachers, and principals, in private setting, should be the people deciding how the origins of life be presented to the children.

Better solution. You, the Islamists, the sexual harassment industry, and the rest of your easily offended brethren learn to deal with it. There is no right not to be offended, and privatizing public institutions simply because of a few soreheads makes no sense at all.

647 posted on 04/21/2006 7:41:43 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Right Wing Professor
I deal with [NSF] on a weekly basis.

That explains so much. Thanks for the insight.

648 posted on 04/21/2006 8:02:50 AM PDT by demoRat watcher (Keeper of the Anthropocentrism Ping List)
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To: Right Wing Professor
and so you're taking the multiculturalist left position the article is attacking. What on earth gave you the idea you were a conservative?

I'm trying to keep track of how many leftist positions the CRIDers take:

- ID should be taught in science class even though it has not proven its qualifications (affirmative action)

- CRIDers get to decide what words mean, changing the language of science (Ebonics)

- We need to pass laws to protect the faith/feelings of certain groups (Doug's General Theory of Liberalism)

I eagerly await the answer to the question you posed above.

649 posted on 04/21/2006 8:03:48 AM PDT by LibertarianSchmoe
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To: demoRat watcher
That explains so much. Thanks for the insight.

I fully understand that you're uncomfortable arguing with someone who actually knows something about the subject of your uninformed rants.

BTW, you haven't shared where, in what field and when you got your Ph.D.. Given that you've appointed yourself an arbiter of who's a real scientist and mathematician, it must be somewhere really good. Maybe you're in the National Academy?

650 posted on 04/21/2006 8:06:17 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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