Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

One side can be wrong: 'Intelligent design' in classrooms would have disastrous consequences
Guardian UK ^ | September 1, 2005 | Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne

Posted on 09/06/2005 5:11:42 AM PDT by billorites

It sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? Such a modest proposal. Why not teach "both sides" and let the children decide for themselves? As President Bush said, "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes." At first hearing, everything about the phrase "both sides" warms the hearts of educators like ourselves.

One of us spent years as an Oxford tutor and it was his habit to choose controversial topics for the students' weekly essays. They were required to go to the library, read about both sides of an argument, give a fair account of both, and then come to a balanced judgment in their essay. The call for balance, by the way, was always tempered by the maxim, "When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly half way between. It is possible for one side simply to be wrong."

As teachers, both of us have found that asking our students to analyse controversies is of enormous value to their education. What is wrong, then, with teaching both sides of the alleged controversy between evolution and creationism or "intelligent design" (ID)? And, by the way, don't be fooled by the disingenuous euphemism. There is nothing new about ID. It is simply creationism camouflaged with a new name to slip (with some success, thanks to loads of tax-free money and slick public-relations professionals) under the radar of the US Constitution's mandate for separation between church and state.

Why, then, would two lifelong educators and passionate advocates of the "both sides" style of teaching join with essentially all biologists in making an exception of the alleged controversy between creation and evolution? What is wrong with the apparently sweet reasonableness of "it is only fair to teach both sides"? The answer is simple. This is not a scientific controversy at all. And it is a time-wasting distraction because evolutionary science, perhaps more than any other major science, is bountifully endowed with genuine controversy.

Among the controversies that students of evolution commonly face, these are genuinely challenging and of great educational value: neutralism versus selectionism in molecular evolution; adaptationism; group selection; punctuated equilibrium; cladism; "evo-devo"; the "Cambrian Explosion"; mass extinctions; interspecies competition; sympatric speciation; sexual selection; the evolution of sex itself; evolutionary psychology; Darwinian medicine and so on. The point is that all these controversies, and many more, provide fodder for fascinating and lively argument, not just in essays but for student discussions late at night.

Intelligent design is not an argument of the same character as these controversies. It is not a scientific argument at all, but a religious one. It might be worth discussing in a class on the history of ideas, in a philosophy class on popular logical fallacies, or in a comparative religion class on origin myths from around the world. But it no more belongs in a biology class than alchemy belongs in a chemistry class, phlogiston in a physics class or the stork theory in a sex education class. In those cases, the demand for equal time for "both theories" would be ludicrous. Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened?

So, why are we so sure that intelligent design is not a real scientific theory, worthy of "both sides" treatment? Isn't that just our personal opinion? It is an opinion shared by the vast majority of professional biologists, but of course science does not proceed by majority vote among scientists. Why isn't creationism (or its incarnation as intelligent design) just another scientific controversy, as worthy of scientific debate as the dozen essay topics we listed above? Here's why.

If ID really were a scientific theory, positive evidence for it, gathered through research, would fill peer-reviewed scientific journals. This doesn't happen. It isn't that editors refuse to publish ID research. There simply isn't any ID research to publish. Its advocates bypass normal scientific due process by appealing directly to the non-scientific public and - with great shrewdness - to the government officials they elect.

The argument the ID advocates put, such as it is, is always of the same character. Never do they offer positive evidence in favour of intelligent design. All we ever get is a list of alleged deficiencies in evolution. We are told of "gaps" in the fossil record. Or organs are stated, by fiat and without supporting evidence, to be "irreducibly complex": too complex to have evolved by natural selection.

In all cases there is a hidden (actually they scarcely even bother to hide it) "default" assumption that if Theory A has some difficulty in explaining Phenomenon X, we must automatically prefer Theory B without even asking whether Theory B (creationism in this case) is any better at explaining it. Note how unbalanced this is, and how it gives the lie to the apparent reasonableness of "let's teach both sides". One side is required to produce evidence, every step of the way. The other side is never required to produce one iota of evidence, but is deemed to have won automatically, the moment the first side encounters a difficulty - the sort of difficulty that all sciences encounter every day, and go to work to solve, with relish.

What, after all, is a gap in the fossil record? It is simply the absence of a fossil which would otherwise have documented a particular evolutionary transition. The gap means that we lack a complete cinematic record of every step in the evolutionary process. But how incredibly presumptuous to demand a complete record, given that only a minuscule proportion of deaths result in a fossil anyway.

The equivalent evidential demand of creationism would be a complete cinematic record of God's behaviour on the day that he went to work on, say, the mammalian ear bones or the bacterial flagellum - the small, hair-like organ that propels mobile bacteria. Not even the most ardent advocate of intelligent design claims that any such divine videotape will ever become available.

Biologists, on the other hand, can confidently claim the equivalent "cinematic" sequence of fossils for a very large number of evolutionary transitions. Not all, but very many, including our own descent from the bipedal ape Australopithecus. And - far more telling - not a single authentic fossil has ever been found in the "wrong" place in the evolutionary sequence. Such an anachronistic fossil, if one were ever unearthed, would blow evolution out of the water.

As the great biologist J B S Haldane growled, when asked what might disprove evolution: "Fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian." Evolution, like all good theories, makes itself vulnerable to disproof. Needless to say, it has always come through with flying colours.

Similarly, the claim that something - say the bacterial flagellum - is too complex to have evolved by natural selection is alleged, by a lamentably common but false syllogism, to support the "rival" intelligent design theory by default. This kind of default reasoning leaves completely open the possibility that, if the bacterial flagellum is too complex to have evolved, it might also be too complex to have been created. And indeed, a moment's thought shows that any God capable of creating a bacterial flagellum (to say nothing of a universe) would have to be a far more complex, and therefore statistically improbable, entity than the bacterial flagellum (or universe) itself - even more in need of an explanation than the object he is alleged to have created.

If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.

In fact, the bacterial flagellum is certainly not too complex to have evolved, nor is any other living structure that has ever been carefully studied. Biologists have located plausible series of intermediates, using ingredients to be found elsewhere in living systems. But even if some particular case were found for which biologists could offer no ready explanation, the important point is that the "default" logic of the creationists remains thoroughly rotten.

There is no evidence in favour of intelligent design: only alleged gaps in the completeness of the evolutionary account, coupled with the "default" fallacy we have identified. And, while it is inevitably true that there are incompletenesses in evolutionary science, the positive evidence for the fact of evolution is truly massive, made up of hundreds of thousands of mutually corroborating observations. These come from areas such as geology, paleontology, comparative anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, ethology, biogeography, embryology and - increasingly nowadays - molecular genetics.

The weight of the evidence has become so heavy that opposition to the fact of evolution is laughable to all who are acquainted with even a fraction of the published data. Evolution is a fact: as much a fact as plate tectonics or the heliocentric solar system.

Why, finally, does it matter whether these issues are discussed in science classes? There is a case for saying that it doesn't - that biologists shouldn't get so hot under the collar. Perhaps we should just accept the popular demand that we teach ID as well as evolution in science classes. It would, after all, take only about 10 minutes to exhaust the case for ID, then we could get back to teaching real science and genuine controversy.

Tempting as this is, a serious worry remains. The seductive "let's teach the controversy" language still conveys the false, and highly pernicious, idea that there really are two sides. This would distract students from the genuinely important and interesting controversies that enliven evolutionary discourse. Worse, it would hand creationism the only victory it realistically aspires to. Without needing to make a single good point in any argument, it would have won the right for a form of supernaturalism to be recognised as an authentic part of science. And that would be the end of science education in America.

Arguments worth having ...

The "Cambrian Explosion"

Although the fossil record shows that the first multicellular animals lived about 640m years ago, the diversity of species was low until about 530m years ago. At that time there was a sudden explosion of many diverse marine species, including the first appearance of molluscs, arthropods, echinoderms and vertebrates. "Sudden" here is used in the geological sense; the "explosion" occurred over a period of 10m to 30m years, which is, after all, comparable to the time taken to evolve most of the great radiations of mammals. This rapid diversification raises fascinating questions; explanations include the evolution of organisms with hard parts (which aid fossilisation), the evolutionary "discovery" of eyes, and the development of new genes that allowed parts of organisms to evolve independently.

The evolutionary basis of human behaviour

The field of evolutionary psychology (once called "sociobiology") maintains that many universal traits of human behaviour (especially sexual behaviour), as well as differences between individuals and between ethnic groups, have a genetic basis. These traits and differences are said to have evolved in our ancestors via natural selection. There is much controversy about these claims, largely because it is hard to reconstruct the evolutionary forces that acted on our ancestors, and it is unethical to do genetic experiments on modern humans.

Sexual versus natural selection

Although evolutionists agree that adaptations invariably result from natural selection, there are many traits, such as the elaborate plumage of male birds and size differences between the sexes in many species, that are better explained by "sexual selection": selection based on members of one sex (usually females) preferring to mate with members of the other sex that show certain desirable traits. Evolutionists debate how many features of animals have resulted from sexual as opposed to natural selection; some, like Darwin himself, feel that many physical features differentiating human "races" resulted from sexual selection.

The target of natural selection

Evolutionists agree that natural selection usually acts on genes in organisms - individuals carrying genes that give them a reproductive or survival advantage over others will leave more descendants, gradually changing the genetic composition of a species. This is called "individual selection". But some evolutionists have proposed that selection can act at higher levels as well: on populations (group selection), or even on species themselves (species selection). The relative importance of individual versus these higher order forms of selection is a topic of lively debate.

Natural selection versus genetic drift

Natural selection is a process that leads to the replacement of one gene by another in a predictable way. But there is also a "random" evolutionary process called genetic drift, which is the genetic equivalent of coin-tossing. Genetic drift leads to unpredictable changes in the frequencies of genes that don't make much difference to the adaptation of their carriers, and can cause evolution by changing the genetic composition of populations. Many features of DNA are said to have evolved by genetic drift. Evolutionary geneticists disagree about the importance of selection versus drift in explaining features of organisms and their DNA. All evolutionists agree that genetic drift can't explain adaptive evolution. But not all evolution is adaptive.


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: crevolist; crevorepublic; enoughalready; notagain
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-200 ... 251-258 next last

Discuss!


1 posted on 09/06/2005 5:11:42 AM PDT by billorites
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: billorites
'Intelligent design' in classrooms would have disastrous consequences

What's this we've got now, guys?

2 posted on 09/06/2005 5:18:01 AM PDT by Tax-chick (How often lofty talk is used to deny others the same rights one claims for oneself. ~ Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: billorites
Right, Intelligent design would be a disaster in the classroom but the F word, as we learned last week, has been deemed an absolutely indispensable learning tool in UK classrooms. Let's face it England is doomed.
3 posted on 09/06/2005 5:20:14 AM PDT by hflynn ( Soros wouldn't make any sense even if he spelled his name backwards)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

LOL!


4 posted on 09/06/2005 5:20:58 AM PDT by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/Laocoon.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Ping


5 posted on 09/06/2005 5:23:11 AM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: billorites

This is a very well written arguement that illustrates the scientific fallacy of ID in a very logical manner. It also highlights that controversies in the sciences do not disqualify current theories and understandings, but merely show that there are always new things for science to learn. It is important, for the sake of science as a whole, to keep ID out of science classes.


6 posted on 09/06/2005 5:25:48 AM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: billorites
Similarly, in a class on 20th-century European history, who would demand equal time for the theory that the Holocaust never happened?

Discuss what, exactly? This author ascribes to ID supporters the numero uno lash of antisemitism .... denying the Holocaust.

But, as usual, I'm not surprised. For if Darwinian Evolutionary science was so compelling, so convincing, just why on earth would such a lame attempt at tarring ID supporters be attempted?

Oh....I forgot: b/c evolution itself has turned out to be a faith system itself which its practicioners relentlessly deny. It is said all cults have the same thing in common: one person, usually a man, writes a set of 'documents'. Then, followers ooze out of the woodwork, and proclaim the person 'the answer'. And then the cultists start acting really weird. This article sounds alot like that...

7 posted on 09/06/2005 5:27:32 AM PDT by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/Laocoon.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: doc30

Will you keep science out of philosophy classes, as a quid pro quo?


8 posted on 09/06/2005 5:30:41 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: billorites
"Without needing to make a single good point in any argument, it (the ID thesis) would have won the right for a form of supernaturalism to be recognised as an authentic part of science."

Well, silly string theory, with its 7 of its 11 dimensions by definition being UNTESTABLE ... I guess that is NOT supernatural ... because it IS accepted as science? Wow.

9 posted on 09/06/2005 5:32:48 AM PDT by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/Laocoon.htm)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick
Perhaps the most powerful witness at the Kansas hearings was Jill Gonzalez Bravo, a middle school science teacher.

It took enourmous courage for her to buck the establishment and cross the picket lines of the boycott.

Here is her vivid description of why she made that decision.

********************

The Kansas State Board of Education revised science standards to incorporate about 95% of the Minority Report’s suggested changes. The new standards would allow for a more critical approach to the teaching of evolution. The basis for adopting these new standards was the testimony given by twenty-four individuals eighteen of which were PhD scientists with accolades too numerous to account for here.

The testimony presented in the May hearings has yet to be rebutted by those in opposition to the adopted changes. All but four board members support the revised standards. These members represent their constituents and they have the right to oppose the changes however, their decision should be an informed one. Sadly this is not the case. Sue Gamble (District 2, Shawnee), Janet Waugh (District 1, Kansas City), Bill Wagnon (District 4, Topeka) and Carol Rupe (District 8, Wichita) all chose to support the boycott and did not attend the hearings.

Distressing? Yes. If one cares about the education of our children should they support a boycott on an issue that many families find important? To be honest when asked to testify at the hearings I myself declined twice. Though I had never felt comfortable with the way evolution was presented in the classroom, I did not want to get involved. What would people think?

I began to research the minority report reading documents both in support of and opposition to the changes. I even contacted the president of Kansas Citizens for Science. I had hoped to have open dialog with him. I respect what he has done to support many science educators and believed him to be reasonable. After first accusing me of trying to bait him into making a comment, he encouraged me to boycott. He told me that if I testified I would be aligning myself with the Intelligent Design group's "political and religious agenda".

Applying the skills I try to impart on my students, I developed the following hypothesis based on his comment. If testifying for the minority report indicated an alliance with the Intelligent Design Network, then boycotting must mean that I align myself with the ACLU who argued for the opposition. As a mother of three children, the oldest being a boy, I could not with conscience back an organization that supports NAMBLA.

In my life I try to focus my actions on one question, "Whom do I serve?" Well as a public educator my job is to serve parents and their children. I do not serve special interest science organizations and I most certainly do not serve the ACLU. So I testified.

I testified that in my early years of teaching I was confronted with questions posed by students about the controversies surrounding evolution. Putting my pride aside I admitted that I was unequipped to answer them and would often prematurely end the discussions.

I testified that as educators our job is to teach, reflect and alter instruction in order to better serve students. After observing an opposition to instruction into the theory of evolution, I began researching what students believed to be a controversy.

I testified that there were discrepancies in data displayed in text books and that an objective overview on this theory was not presented. But in light of the hostile environment toward debate over evolution, I kept silent for over ten years. Why? To be honest, it was self-preservation.

As a public servant I realize that I do not always have this privilege. So I take issue with board members that are elected to make decisions about our children’s education and then do not exhibit enough courage to participate in an event of interest to many Kansas families. As servants of the public it is our responsibility to create academically sound learning environments. This debate was not so much about "good science" but good pedagogy. Teachers must be informed and students must be allowed the academic freedom to critically analyze all content. So I ask these four individuals, "Whom do you serve?"

Jill Gonzalez
10 posted on 09/06/2005 5:47:30 AM PDT by GarySpFc (Sneakypete, De Oppresso Liber)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: doc30

I couldn't agree with you more, billorites, let's keep ID out of the science classroom, it doesn't belong there.

I think it is a dangerous 'cause' for Conservatives (I'm an ultra-Republican and strong supporter of our President, but I was dismayed by his recent remarks on ID, which--by seeming to equate modern scientific research with theological speculation--seems to me to smack of the kind of liberal relativism that has caused many of our social ills).

Science per se isn't our enemy, though science can of course be misued--but the methodology of science does have very strong mechanisms for correcting its own errors, and where there are errors or omissions in the current model of evolutionary theory, they can (and are) addressed by valid scientific research. But ID smacks of a hidden agenda, it's 'junk science' that is too easy to refute.

I don't accept that Evolution is taught as some kind of 'faith'--science just doesn't work like that. By all means, follow and practice your faith--but I hope your faith is not (as mine is not) so fragile that it is threatened by the other beautiful truths available to us through science.


11 posted on 09/06/2005 6:04:25 AM PDT by SeaLion
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: billorites

Running scared, huh?


12 posted on 09/06/2005 6:07:08 AM PDT by Shery (S. H. in APOland)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: billorites

There was NO 'Intelligent design' in these public schools.


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1478230/posts


13 posted on 09/06/2005 6:12:02 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Worthy of a ping? I think it's a pretty good explanation of why ID shouldn't be taught as science.


14 posted on 09/06/2005 6:12:19 AM PDT by stremba
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VadeRetro; Junior; longshadow; RadioAstronomer; Doctor Stochastic; js1138; Shryke; RightWhale; ...
Dawkins article:
EvolutionPing
A pro-evolution science list with over 300 names.
See the list's explanation at my freeper homepage.
Then FReepmail to be added or dropped.

15 posted on 09/06/2005 6:12:28 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Discoveries attributable to the scientific method -- 100%; to creation science -- zero.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: billorites
In all cases there is a hidden (actually they scarcely even bother to hide it) "default" assumption that if Theory A has some difficulty in explaining Phenomenon X, we must automatically prefer Theory B without even asking whether Theory B (creationism in this case) is any better at explaining it.

Of course theory A (Neo Darwin Orthodoxy) has no difficulty explaining anything, it is the most confirmed theory every formulated in the history of science. I learned this in public skrewl.

16 posted on 09/06/2005 6:13:30 AM PDT by Rippin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GarySpFc

Excellent post, GarySpFc. I appreciate the opportunity to see this.


17 posted on 09/06/2005 6:16:48 AM PDT by Tax-chick (How often lofty talk is used to deny others the same rights one claims for oneself. ~ Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: billorites
There is much controversy about these claims, largely because it is hard to reconstruct the evolutionary forces that acted on our ancestors, and it is unethical to do genetic experiments on modern humans.

This guy is exactly right, the experiments must be done on those pre-modern 'christian' types.

18 posted on 09/06/2005 6:17:15 AM PDT by Rippin
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gobucks

String theory as a whole is not in principle untestable, however. There are various particles that should appear in high energy particle accelerator experiments, for example. If no particles or particles different from those predicted appear in such experiments, then string theory is wrong. Furthermore, it may be possible (but admittedly difficult) to test for the presence of the additional dimensions predicted by string theory. At macroscopic distances, gravity obeys an inverse square law. This is a direct result of the fact that there are three macroscopic spatial dimensions. Were there 7 macroscopic spatial dimensions, gravity would obey an inverse sixth power law. By testing at microscopic dimensions, it may be possible to determine that gravity obeys a force law different from an inverse square law which would be evidence of extra microscopic spatial dimensions.


19 posted on 09/06/2005 6:17:40 AM PDT by stremba
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Just mythoughts

No, no, you just don't get it. As long as the students believe in Darwin's theory, without question or doubt, they've received the essentials of a good education. What, you say they can't read? Why, that's just irrelevant piffle!


20 posted on 09/06/2005 6:18:41 AM PDT by Tax-chick (How often lofty talk is used to deny others the same rights one claims for oneself. ~ Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

Yes, yes, yes, the theory has been retitled "common descent" from survival of the fittest. I guess survival of the fittest label wasn't PC.


21 posted on 09/06/2005 6:22:41 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: gobucks

The analogy is a good one. ID supporters are deniers of science.


22 posted on 09/06/2005 6:24:59 AM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Just mythoughts

no survival of the fittest was just not accurate, and I am not aware of that phrase being used extensively except by the media.


23 posted on 09/06/2005 6:25:12 AM PDT by bobdsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: GarySpFc

So this school teacher would rather her students not learn science, and have superstition and religion taught in it's place. Very foolish.


24 posted on 09/06/2005 6:26:22 AM PDT by doc30 (Democrats are to morals what and Etch-A-Sketch is to Art.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Comment #25 Removed by Moderator

To: The Red Zone
Will you keep science out of philosophy classes, as a quid pro quo? Sorry, Red Zone, if I sound pedantic about this, but your point doesn't stack up for me on this. You can't keep science out of philosophy classes because science is part of epistemology, the study of what counts as knowledge and thus the root of western philosophy even before Aristotle. For example: I wasn't a witness to any of the sordid events involving Bill, Monica and a hapless cigar, yet I maintain I have reasonably certain knowledge as to the nature if not the precise sequence of those events--and also maintain I'd really rather not think about them, ugghhhh! Now, demonstrating the basis for my supposed knowledge here would be a textbook example of a problem in epistemology--technically (but not morally!) appropriate to a Philosophy 101 course... And I'm not too sure about quid pro quo calls here; surely there has already been too much 'political horse trading' in establishing our educational curricula?
26 posted on 09/06/2005 6:29:16 AM PDT by SeaLion (Never fear the truth, never falter in the quest to find it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Just mythoughts
the theory has been retitled "common descent" from survival of the fittest

Yes, the schools do have a problem with concept of some being more "fit" than others ... except for football and basketball, of course.

27 posted on 09/06/2005 6:31:56 AM PDT by Tax-chick (How often lofty talk is used to deny others the same rights one claims for oneself. ~ Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: SeaLion

Well what is commonly called 'science' today seems to carry on as the philosophy-which-must-be-right(-so-all-others-are-wrong). If it's going to claim the birthright to be the 500 lb. canary in all arenas of human thought, something's gotta give.


28 posted on 09/06/2005 6:37:52 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: bobdsmith
"no survival of the fittest was just not accurate, and I am not aware of that phrase being used extensively except by the media."


You cannot not deny there is a PC negative associated with the phrase. Evolutionists are not capable of self regulation they got a theory to maintain. Some evolutionists prophetic warnings are that to allow ID and or creationism in the class room will doom this nation to third world status. (sounds a bit religious, being a prophetic warning and all)

Well maybe we should assess the status of public education this day under evolutionists reign. Kansas gets all the attention by the evolutionists, so I say lets look at Louisiana and see what evolutionists run government public education produces.
29 posted on 09/06/2005 6:39:12 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

"Yes, the schools do have a problem with concept of some being more "fit" than others ... except for football and basketball, of course."

BUMP!!!


30 posted on 09/06/2005 6:40:52 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Tax-chick

This is much further reaching than the concept of fitness at a sport. This is like saying you are life's reject or life's darling based on utterly inanimate principles. In fact even on FR we kid about Darwin awards when see a story of somebody doing something foolishly self destructive. This kind of world view is fine as a joke, but I'd never recommend anyone build his life on that.


31 posted on 09/06/2005 6:42:42 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Just mythoughts

No I don't deny that there is perceived PC incorrectness with that term when people don't understand what it means. Natural selection is a better phrase than "survival of the fittest" as it cannot be as easily misunderstood.

The "fittest" in survival of the fittest are not the strongest, most physically fit. That is a common misconception which is why the phrase is avoided by biologists. Only the media and popular culture seem to carry it nowadays.


32 posted on 09/06/2005 6:45:09 AM PDT by bobdsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: The Red Zone

Fair point, Red Zone -- I guess I was lucky in my science teachers, they gave me a powerful methodology for working things out, not a set of infallible doctrines.

In my book, any one teaching that science is 'final truth' ain't teaching science!


33 posted on 09/06/2005 6:47:10 AM PDT by SeaLion (Never fear the truth, never falter in the quest to find it)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: Just mythoughts
Some evolutionists prophetic warnings are that to allow ID and or creationism in the class room will doom this nation to third world status. (sounds a bit religious, being a prophetic warning and all)

Some, even prominent ones in well accomplished professions, do. It puzzles me why they do so, if they are truly wedded to a scientific worldview -- because what we call 'science' today is peculiarly suited to devising techniques to answer such questions. It also puzzles me why the 'scientific' handwringing seems to center on this issue, and not more salient matters such as most Americans knowing next to nothing about what a molecule is. (Most creationists know.)

34 posted on 09/06/2005 6:47:53 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: doc30
So this school teacher would rather her students not learn science, and have superstition and religion taught in it's place. Very foolish.

OH NONSENSE! Nobody said one thing about teaching superstition, religion, or even intelligent design in the class room. The Kansas Science Standards simply add the teaching of what may be flaws in the theory of evolution.
35 posted on 09/06/2005 6:50:32 AM PDT by GarySpFc (Sneakypete, De Oppresso Liber)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: billorites
This article raises an excellent point -- an argument should not be treated as having "two sides" when one of them is based on science and the other is based on baloney.

If this principle were applied to economics education, we'd have a fighting chance of getting the country straightened out....

36 posted on 09/06/2005 6:54:10 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

The author makes the same point I've been making for years: until the IDers can present POSITIVE evidence for their position they don't have a dog in this hunt.


37 posted on 09/06/2005 6:54:36 AM PDT by Junior (Just because the voices in your head tell you to do things doesn't mean you have to listen to them)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: GarySpFc
The Kansas Science Standards simply add the teaching of what may be flaws in the theory of evolution.

No, they make up 'flaws' that aren't there.

This is from a column I wrote for the local paper.

Having determined to teach the ‘controversy’ about evolution — and lets specify right here that both the School Board and real scientists agree that evolution is the theory that all life descended from a common ancestor by the mechanism of mutation and natural selection — the School Board found themselves in the awkward position of having to identify some aspects of evolution that were scientifically controversial. So they came up with three ‘scientific’ arguments against common descent. The trouble is, not one of the three withstands scrutiny.

The first argument is that there are ‘discrepancies in the molecular evidence’ for evolution. In fact, this is a complete inversion of the truth. The fantastic advances in molecular genetics over the last six decades, which have revealed to us the entire genomes of hundreds of living organisms, is a comprehensive and completely independent corroboration of the truth of Darwin’s theory. If I take the genetic sequences of the smaller strand of RNA from the large subunit of the ribosome – the tiny apparatus that makes proteins in cells, and exists in almost every living creature – and I group together the sequences based on how similar they are, what I get is a ‘tree’ structure that mirrors in detail and nearly exactly the ‘tree of life’ inferred from old-fashioned, Darwinian evolutionary biology. The few minor differences between the trees are usually where some details of the older tree were conjectural anyway, and the molecular tree has resolved an existing controversy. The ‘discrepancies’ that IDers claim are either instances where lateral gene transfer happened between our single-celled ancestors – a known process which complicates the analysis for some proteins but can be identified and accounted for, or where the ID ‘scientists’ have simply goofed and tried to compare the wrong proteins. No legitimate, credentialed molecular biologist accepts these alleged discrepancies.

The second argument is the hoary old ‘Cambrian Explosion’: the assertion that most complex animal phyla appeared all of a sudden 450 million years ago. First of all, we now know they didn’t; still older Ediacaran rocks show an even more diverse fauna than the Cambrian, but because the creatures were soft-bodied the fossils are rarer and more poorly preserved. The major happening in the Cambrian may have in fact been the appearance of protective hard skeletons, in an evolutionary arms race between predators and prey, which as a side-effect left far more and better fossils.

But in any case, we know of many instances where rates of evolution have suddenly and dramatically accelerated. When finches arrived in new habitats on the Galapagos or Hawaiian islands, and found pristine, unpopulated environments to inhabit, we know they diverged rapidly to fill the empty ecological niches. Nebraska finches all look pretty much like finches. Explore the Hawaiian rainforest, and you can find finches that resemble sparrows, finches that resemble woodpeckers, and finches that resemble hummingbirds. But the molecular data says they’re all finches. Environmental stasis leads to evolutionary statis; environmental change causes evolutionary change. And, in any case, none of this is an argument against common descent.

The third argument – that embryos from different types of organisms develop differently – is truly obscure. Just because I and a honeybee might, a long long time ago, have shared a common ancestor, why should my children and the honeybee larva look the same? So, in order to manufacture a controversy to fuel their religiously-inspired attacks on evolution, the School Board has resorted to scientifically false counterarguments.

38 posted on 09/06/2005 6:54:50 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: PatrickHenry

Thanks for the ping!


39 posted on 09/06/2005 6:54:58 AM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: The Red Zone
Maybe because to entertain the idea of discussing anything other than "common descent" makes common descent suspect.

They are supreme in all matters of science with their ideology and the stupid ignorant ID'ers and or creationists are not going to be allowed to share in the money pie that is public education K-12.

Their prophetic warnings of doom and destitution to third world status exposes the core of their belief. Talk about mind control.
40 posted on 09/06/2005 6:55:41 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: gobucks
This author ascribes to ID supporters the numero uno lash of antisemitism .... denying the Holocaust.

Nope. The author (quite correctly) cites Holocaust denial as another example of an "argument" where one side has facts and the other side has bullsh!t, to illustrate why such cases should not be treated as if there were a real controversy to be sorted out.

41 posted on 09/06/2005 6:56:04 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: The Red Zone
It also puzzles me why the 'scientific' handwringing seems to center on this issue, and not more salient matters such as most Americans knowing next to nothing about what a molecule is. (Most creationists know.)

Really? Got some proof? I've seen so many complete misrepresentations of science from creationists, I'd need to be persuaded they know any science at all.

42 posted on 09/06/2005 6:56:56 AM PDT by Right Wing Professor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: doc30
This is a very well written arguement that illustrates the scientific fallacy of ID in a very logical manner.

Agreed. This is one of the best articles I've read on the topic. Two of my favorite excerpts:

In all cases there is a hidden (actually they scarcely even bother to hide it) "default" assumption that if Theory A has some difficulty in explaining Phenomenon X, we must automatically prefer Theory B without even asking whether Theory B (creationism in this case) is any better at explaining it. Note how unbalanced this is, and how it gives the lie to the apparent reasonableness of "let's teach both sides". One side is required to produce evidence, every step of the way. The other side is never required to produce one iota of evidence, but is deemed to have won automatically, the moment the first side encounters a difficulty - the sort of difficulty that all sciences encounter every day, and go to work to solve, with relish.

If complex organisms demand an explanation, so does a complex designer. And it's no solution to raise the theologian's plea that God (or the Intelligent Designer) is simply immune to the normal demands of scientific explanation. To do so would be to shoot yourself in the foot. You cannot have it both ways. Either ID belongs in the science classroom, in which case it must submit to the discipline required of a scientific hypothesis. Or it does not, in which case get it out of the science classroom and send it back into the church, where it belongs.


43 posted on 09/06/2005 6:57:54 AM PDT by PatrickHenry (Discoveries attributable to the scientific method -- 100%; to creation science -- zero.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: billorites

I've been working on a rebuttal to this for a couple of days. Give me another couple, and I'll have it up. PM me if you want to be pinged when I post it.


44 posted on 09/06/2005 6:58:22 AM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Professor

"When finches arrived in new habitats on the Galapagos or Hawaiian islands, and found pristine, unpopulated environments to inhabit, we know they diverged rapidly to fill the empty ecological niches. Nebraska finches all look pretty much like finches. Explore the Hawaiian rainforest, and you can find finches that resemble sparrows, finches that resemble woodpeckers, and finches that resemble hummingbirds. But the molecular data says they’re all finches. Environmental stasis leads to evolutionary statis; environmental change causes evolutionary change. And, in any case, none of this is an argument against common descent."


Tell us how you apply the finch data to the human being data. Have you identified what, when, where, and why, we have different races?


45 posted on 09/06/2005 6:59:29 AM PDT by Just mythoughts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: TonyRo76
«THUNDEROUS CHEERS!»

You would cheer the undermining of science in the school systems? Sigh.

46 posted on 09/06/2005 7:00:05 AM PDT by RadioAstronomer (Senior member of Darwin Central)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Professor

OK, if you can claim that the modern TOE has swallowed up these questions and converted them to its own advantage, you can surely stop the modern textbooks from putting out the nonsense about the black/white moths demonstrating any kind of evolution, and the fraud that there is embryonic recapitulation of evolutionary history. Or does the TOE mean you get a pass on those too, because you can roll it back to an earlier state whenever you wish?


47 posted on 09/06/2005 7:00:10 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: billorites
Perhaps we should just accept the popular demand that we teach ID as well as evolution in science classes. It would, after all, take only about 10 minutes to exhaust the case for ID, then we could get back to teaching real science and genuine controversy.

This corresponds to my view.

48 posted on 09/06/2005 7:00:53 AM PDT by headsonpikes (The Liberal Party of Canada are not b*stards - b*stards have mothers!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Right Wing Professor
I'd need to be persuaded they know any science at all.

Go out and do your own tests. This IS a truth search not a debating society eh?

49 posted on 09/06/2005 7:01:37 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: steve-b

But to cite the Holocaust is also a psy-op move. You should know that is hitting below the belt while you can so charmingly argue on a different level with different criteria that it isn't.


50 posted on 09/06/2005 7:03:51 AM PDT by The Red Zone (Florida, the sun-shame state, and Illinois the chicken injun.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-100101-150151-200 ... 251-258 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson