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Evolution debate enters ‘round two' (Proposal in Kansas: Change the definition of 'Science')
Kansas City Star ^ | Jan 30, 2005 | DIANE CARROLL

Posted on 01/30/2005 2:25:47 PM PST by gobucks

*snip* The conservatives who attacked evolution because it conflicted with the Genesis account of how the world was created have faded into the background.

In their place are professionals such as Harris who support intelligent design, a theory that states some aspects of the universe and living things are best explained by intelligent causes, not chance. Darwin's theory of evolution doesn't always add up, they say, and students should hear more about its shortcomings.

“There are only two options,” said Harris, who is leading this year's fight. “Life was either designed or it wasn't.”

That's not the point, evolution defenders reply. Science is about searching for natural explanations of the world, they say, and has no room for a theory based on faith.

The public will join the debate beginning Tuesday, when the first of four public hearings on new science standards will be held in Kansas City, Kan.


So far, no state board of education has required the teaching of intelligent design. And the Kansas supporters of intelligent design are not asking that it be mandated, said Harris, who is on a committee that is rewriting the science standards.

Harris and seven other members of the 26-member committee instead propose students be “more adequately informed” on evolution.

The eight submitted a proposal to the state Board of Education. One recommendation was to change the definition of science. The current definition, they say, limits inquiry because it allows only “natural” explanations. They want it to be more objective and to allow students “to follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

Evolution supporters said such a change would shake science at its foundation.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Politics/Elections; US: Kansas
KEYWORDS: acanthostega; atheists; christians; creationuts; crevolist; crevotion; darwin; evolution; ichthyostega; ignorance; scienceeducation
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A: ID er's in Kansas: Follow the evidence where it leads.

B: Scientist's response: Follow the evidence only if it is natural. Otherwise, the foundations of science will be shaken (and that is a bad thing how?).

Hmmmm. Do I get a star if I pick 'A'?

1 posted on 01/30/2005 2:25:48 PM PST by gobucks
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To: gobucks
I don't agree with changing the definition of science. Science can only test the 'natural', or more specifically, the material. Only what can actually be observed (science can however theorize about things which can't be observed). It's not the definition of science that limits IDer's, but rather the incorrect application of the definition of science to materialism (what we observe is all there is) that causes the limitation.

-The Hajman-
2 posted on 01/30/2005 2:38:51 PM PST by Hajman
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To: gobucks
They want it to be more objective and to allow students "to follow the evidence wherever it leads."

I agree ... what these so called scientists are missing is that the Bible is objective Truth and they want to cast doubt on that we're made in God's image. If there was such a thing as evolution God would of mentioned it in His Book -- He doesn't say "in the beginning I created some ooze that you eventually came out of due to chance."
3 posted on 01/30/2005 2:44:23 PM PST by rhtwngwarrior
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To: gobucks
A proper scientific approach would be, if the evidence led to intelligent design, to then try and determine the origins of the designers and methods used in the design process.

"Intelligent design" need only mean that a life form, originating somewhere else in the universe via natural means, had/has the ability to manipulate the development of life here on earth. As the saying goes, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistiguishable....."

4 posted on 01/30/2005 2:46:39 PM PST by Charlotte Corday (Freedom’s like ice-cream—can’t go wrong with it.)
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To: Hajman
"Science can only test the 'natural', or more specifically, the material."

Who sez so? And wouldn't that mean science actually helps create materialists if that is the 'only' thing kids are allowed to test in school?

Isn't it a bad idea that science should paint itself into a 'anti-God' corner like that - can science afford this approach over the long term?

I mean, really now .... there's an awful lot of future grant money riding on questions like these, especially given how many Christians pay the taxes from which all that grant cash flow originates.

5 posted on 01/30/2005 2:47:05 PM PST by gobucks (
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To: rhtwngwarrior

The problem with your analysis is that the bible was written my mortal men.

6 posted on 01/30/2005 2:48:59 PM PST by Rudder
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To: Rudder
"The problem with your analysis is that the bible was written my mortal men.

And Darwin, bless his heart, was mortal too - but there was no 'problem' with his thesis, I see.

7 posted on 01/30/2005 2:51:13 PM PST by gobucks (
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To: gobucks

The difference is that Darwin and the scientists who have followed use data collected via the scientific method. What data does the ID side use?

8 posted on 01/30/2005 2:54:10 PM PST by Rudder
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To: gobucks
You don't get an "A." Biology is a natural science, you can have your creation science or theo-science, or whatever, but don't teach that in a course in any of the natural sciences. And the Bible is not, in a natural science, evidence.


Main Entry: natural science

Function: noun
: any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena - natural scientist noun

Main Entry: sci·ence

Pronunciation: 'sI-&n(t)s
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin scientia, from scient-, sciens having knowledge, from present participle of scire to know; probably akin to Sanskrit chyati he cuts off, Latin scindere to split -- more at SHED 1 : the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge
3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : NATURAL SCIENCE
4 : a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws
5 capitalized : CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

9 posted on 01/30/2005 3:03:07 PM PST by MRMEAN
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To: gobucks

If evolutionists keep saying the sky is falling if you teach that evolution can be doubted and, 'while seeing the evolutionist's way of looking at things, have a look at this, too...'--if they keep saying this will ruin the country, they will quickly lose credibility...

10 posted on 01/30/2005 3:28:46 PM PST by guitarist
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To: guitarist

No, it means that the association between conservatives and republicans on the one hand with the anti-science-God-explains everything crowd will cause a loss of politcal stature. If you really believe that there is no need for scientific inquiry (which is the position of ID) and you're a conservative, you'll be a political liability for conservativism.

11 posted on 01/30/2005 3:34:11 PM PST by Rudder
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To: gobucks

No true scientist would claim to possess absolute truth, or to be able to decide what is absolutely true. What the naturalistic materialists who insist that the evolutionary model for explaining the origin of life, and the virtually indescribable diversity of form and function through which it finds expression, are doing is a grave disservice to true science and to the gift of reason, not to mention a great disservice to the children we send to government schools. It troubled me, when I had children in school, to have to tell them that their teachers were telling them things that were not true, or at least were not known to be true.

12 posted on 01/30/2005 3:43:55 PM PST by Elsiejay
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To: Elsiejay

Wrong. Evolution as a theory does not even attempt to explain the orgin of life. Darwin's phrase was "...the origin of species," meaning speciation. Evolution is a fact, and is on-going. Darwin's theory attempted to explain how it might be taking place.

13 posted on 01/30/2005 3:49:31 PM PST by Rudder
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To: gobucks
So far, no state board of education has required the teaching of intelligent design.

One of the shortest tests ever ...

Q. What is blah blah?
A. "Goddidit."

Correct! Here's your gold star.

14 posted on 01/30/2005 3:54:33 PM PST by dread78645 (Truth is always the right answer)
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To: Rudder

Isn't the scientific method, hypthesis, experiment, either doesn't negate hypothesis, or negates it, which leads to a new hypothesis. The key point is an experiment, something physical that can test the hypothesis. Could you please give me some links to the experiments run to verify the theory of macro-evolution (cow into walrus, frog into kitten. etc.)

15 posted on 01/30/2005 4:22:43 PM PST by Woodworker
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To: Woodworker

Ever taken a course in comparative anatomy?

16 posted on 01/30/2005 4:24:00 PM PST by Rudder
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To: gobucks
Who sez so? And wouldn't that mean science actually helps create materialists if that is the 'only' thing kids are allowed to test in school?

Not necessarily. Science can't test anything beyond what we can observe, but it can theorize about that which can't be observed (it just can't prove the unobserved). Materialism assumes science can only be applied to the observed, and the observed is all there is (which doesn't even work for modern theories like Quantum Mechanics). Materialism is a very strict, limited version of science. Science can't prove things like God, but it doesn't require one to assume God doesn't exist in order to work, either. Science isn't anti-God. Materialism however, can be. It's not the definition of science which needs to be addressed in the article, but rather materialism (which is what's used when people say science can't be used for things like Creationism, because that includes God, and science can't include God. Science can't prove Creationism, anymore then it can prove deep-time Evolution, but that doesn't mean science can't be used to test certain aspects of the theory just because it needs God).

-The Hajman-
17 posted on 01/30/2005 4:27:21 PM PST by Hajman
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To: Woodworker

There are many examples put into evidence for evolution. The fossil record (fossils, chronological occurrence, radiocarbon dating), comparative anatomy (homologous structures), comparative embryology (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny), comparative biochemistry and molecular biology, and of course biogeography are the evidence that scientists have entered into record to support evolution. Microevolution (as evidenced by mutations, gene flow, and genetic drift)demonstrates over a short time span the theory of evolution. Some examples of evolution would be drug resistant bacteria and TB as well as industrial melanism. I could list further examples but then I would be here all night.

Many biologists and other scientists do believe in God. I know I have.

Also- while evolution is a theory... so is Einstein's theory of relativity, the electromagnetic theory of light, Bernouilli's principle, and so on. These are taught as all other theories - they are true until proven false.

I do not not see you actively arguing against the teaching of these theories (and others like it) in the schools. Now why is that?

18 posted on 01/30/2005 4:49:53 PM PST by WomanBiologist
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To: Rudder; gobucks
This is a long post. My apologies, in advance, but I wish to put all of the argument on the table at once. Please, note that this is not an argument for intelligent design. Rather it is an argument against “Darwinism” in the sense that it challenges the theory for its prima fascia inadequacies. I request that you do not respond with references to web site references, but with reasoned arguments.

As I understand “Darwinism,” it is based upon inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning distinguishes three very different types of causality: sufficient condition, necessary condition, and a condition that is both necessary and sufficient.

The requirement for several factors to be present for a given effect makes each a necessary condition. On the other hand the requirement of only one factor for a given effect makes that factor a sufficient condition. If a single factor is capable of producing a given effect, then that factor is a necessary and sufficient condition. Rarely is nature simple enough for a single necessary and sufficient cause. However, one example of a necessary and sufficient cause is that a force is a necessary and sufficient condition for acceleration of a mass.

“Whenever an event occurs, at least one sufficient condition is present and all the necessary conditions are present. The conjunction of the necessary conditions is the sufficient condition that actually produces the event.” (Hurley [1985]) For adequate inductive causal explanation of a phenomenon, it is required to identify all of the necessary and sufficient conditions, not just “some” necessary and sufficient conditions.

The proponents of “Darwinism” currently propose that the mechanism (in my limited understanding of the subject) for evolution is a purely random “mutation” of existing an organism which is both heritable and beneficial in terms of natural selection to the enhanced survival and/or reproduction of future generations of that organism.

Let’s examine some of the necessary and/or sufficient factors and conditions, both stated and unstated, in this postulation, in general, and, in particular, with relation to the “Cambrian Explosion:”

Stated factors/conditions:

1. Mutations must exist randomly.
2. Mutations must be heritable.
3. Natural selection pressures must determine that a particular mutation provides a benefit to the organism.

Unstated factors/conditions:

1. Mutations can only be classed into the following categories: a) none; b) benign: c) beneficial: or d) detrimental.
2. The sum of mutations in categories a), b) and c) must significantly exceed category d) or the organism will become extinct prior to the production of a “better adapted” next generation. (note: this condition disallows excessive mutagens which puts an absolute upper limit on mutation rates which, when combined with the requirement for purely random occurrence, negates the likelihood of multiple beneficial mutations occurring simultaneously or successive mutations occurring excessively rapidly.)
3. Beneficial mutations must occur at a frequent enough rate to accommodate the time frame estimated for new organism appearance from fossil record. (note: this condition mandates the presence of sufficient mutagens which puts an absolute lower limit on mutation rates.)
4. A sufficient number of generations must occur within the fossil record time frame to make the beneficial mutation present in enough individuals for production of a sufficient population size to generate the next beneficial mutation within acceptable mutation rates.
5. For the appearance of successive (in time) species in the fossil record having new/better capabilities, beneficial mutation must make the organism more biologically complex that its parent. (note: this condition implies that the “bio-system” must be an “open” system in terms of the principle of entropy.)
6. The time between generations must be short enough to accommodate the time frame estimated for new organism appearance from fossil record.
7. As organisms increase in complexity, the time between generations typically increases as well, e.g., nine months of gestation and at least 12-15 years for puberty for humans, etc.
8. Natural selection pressures must determine that a particular mutation provides a benefit to the organism at rate that prevents the mutation from disappearing due to genetic drift or other phenomena.
9. Natural selection pressures must not be so great as to cause organism extinction before the organism has produced an adequate number of generations with the beneficial mutation to make the beneficial mutation widespread enough to ensure its survival.
10. As some simpler “parent organisms,” e.g., sharks, continue to exist alongside “descendant” organisms, Natural selection pressures must not be so great as to cause organism extinction or the simpler “parent organism” cannot appear simultaneously with its more complex “descendant” organism.

The list of “necessary” factors could potentially go quite a bit further. However, the above number, alone, establishes that “Darwinism,” as it is postulated, must overcome some very near impossible odds. The probabilities associated with each “necessary” factor are multiplicative with the probabilities of each additional factor. Therefore, even if the probability associated with each factor were only a single decimal place the resulting product yields a number with a tremendously large negative exponent. Additionally, there are those factors with many more than one decimal place such as beneficial mutation rates which have a negative exponent greater than 6. The implication is that the “millions” (i.e., a positive 6) of years allowable even with “millions” of individuals (i.e., another positive 6) within a species in the Cambrian fossil record cannot account the appearance of between 17 and 34 animal phyla attributed to that time frame.

Beyond the challenge presented by the required conjunction of a huge number of “necessary” conditions, there are several straight forward questions that should also be addressed:

1. Why do the genomes of salamanders, a supposedly less complex animal, have 50 times more DNA than humans?
2. Why do supposedly related organisms have widely varying amounts of junk DNA (the C-value paradox)?
3. How can complicated new body parts or new organs (e.g., eyes and feathers) form when the necessary thousands or millions of intermediate steps would have offered no selective advantage?
4. How could those many steps occur in the relatively short time during which those new organs and organisms were coming into existence?
5. How could all the hundreds of proteins needed for vertebrate blood suddenly come into existence at the same time from invertebrate "blood," when none of those proteins are present or useful in any invertebrate?
6. How could so many unique creatures suddenly appear over a short time 500 million years ago, but relatively few (practically no) new creatures appear since (the Cambrian explosion)?
7. If the mutation rate is constant, ( or even with the punctuated equilibrium or the “fits” and “starts” proposal) why has the rate of "evolution" slowed down so much since the Cambrian explosion?
8. What accounts for the wild and unique creatures of the Burgess Shale?
9. If all of those phyla happened once in the Cambrian period (it did, right?), then why not twice? Or a hundred times? Or a million, or a billion since?
19 posted on 01/30/2005 4:56:06 PM PST by Lucky Dog
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To: WomanBiologist

Sorry to bust your bubble, but ontogeny recapitulate phylogeny was shown to be wildly exaggerated by Haeckel.
It has long been questioned or outright discredited.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has been shown to be
due to transmissible genetic snippets, or loss of information causing less susceptibility to certain natural chemical compounds or their congeners. (no new structures
are developed in order to cause resistance...just alterations of existing one..i.e. antibiotic pumps, or
bacterial pore population as examples, inability of
certain antibiotics to attack certain molecular structures, or expression of enzymes which destroy the antibiotic..
(some organisms remain susceptible to the same antibiotics...whatever change there might be, it is
very very,limited, and does not represent a change from lets say a bacterium to a PPLO, or a fungus, or even a
prion (yet)
Carbon dating is really accurate for maybe 10-20K years...
also the rate of production and accumulation of C-14 is
unknown...(only good for a few half-lifes before lots of
unknown factors come into play)... would not be good for
long time in millions of years...

I understand the latest interpretations of the fossils show
a one time large accumulation of all current life forms
in the so-called "cambrian explosion"...the tree of life
that we all remember, now can be rearranged as the
"lawn" of life, with lots of beginning of the different
life forms at the same time....

There are of course, many questions to be answered.
Also, note if science limits itself only to so-called
tangible items...i.e. stuff you can see or sense with
the tools we got...what is "chance"? or time???
Does "chance" exist, or is everything just following a
pre-ordained path? Isn't time (according to the latest
physics kind of "elastic" and dependant on the viewer???
I personally think modern science has many elements in it
that are steeped in intangible beliefs which cannot be
proven, but must be accepted in order to do the work.

Sorry bout the long post...

20 posted on 01/30/2005 5:17:46 PM PST by Getready ((...Fear not ...))
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