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Teaching of evolution set to go under microscope (Texas)
The Dallas Morning News ^ | 13 December 2007 | KAREN AYRES SMITH

Posted on 12/13/2007 7:06:55 PM PST by Stultis

The resignation of the [Texas] state's science curriculum director last month has signaled the beginning of what is shaping up to be a contentious and politically charged revision of the science curriculum, set to begin in earnest in January.

[snip]

Former science director Chris Comer says she resigned from the Texas Education Agency to avoid being fired after officials told her she had improperly endorsed evolution. She had forwarded an e-mail announcing a speech by a prominent scholar on evolution, which the state requires schools to teach.

[snip]

The [State Board of Education] must vote on any changes to the curriculum. Most board members, including the chairman, have said publicly they don't want to introduce intelligent design into the curriculum, and many of them also have said they want to keep the current language on evolution.

[...] Even small changes in the language could mean big changes in textbooks later on.

[snip]

Don McLeroy, a conservative board member on the losing side of the vote [adopting textbooks in '03] and a Sunday school teacher, later told a church group that he believed he could have persuaded more members to reject the books if he had challenged the assumption [of naturalism].

"How can the materialistic philosophic naturalistic base dependency of Darwinism be brought into the discussion and used for our benefit?" Dr. McLeroy asked, according to a recording of the speech. "We didn't use it. All we did was stay with evidence, and we got run over."

Dr. McLeroy is now chairman of the board. Gov. Rick Perry appointed the Bryan dentist to the post in July.

[snip]

Ten Republicans and five Democrats sit on the state board. Dr. McLeroy is part of a bloc of seven social conservatives who often vote together.

(Excerpt) Read more at dallasnews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: biology; creationism; crevo; evolution; piltdownman; scienceeducation
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1 posted on 12/13/2007 7:06:56 PM PST by Stultis
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To: Stultis

Here’s hoping Texas avoids the Kansas embarrasment.


2 posted on 12/13/2007 7:10:40 PM PST by saganite
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To: saganite
Here’s hoping Texas avoids the Kansas embarrasment. (sic)

Why bring Bob Dole into this, can't you let sleeping dogs lie?

3 posted on 12/13/2007 7:18:01 PM PST by DaveyB (Ignorance is part of the human condition - atheism makes it permanent!)
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To: saganite
The only thing embarassing about Kansas was how 90% of the population caved in to the arrogance of the other 10%. When you need to defend your worldview with non-stop fraud, lies, censorship, persecution and intimidation, the odds are the truth is far from you.

Expelled: The Movie

4 posted on 12/13/2007 7:19:03 PM PST by Liberty1970
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To: Stultis
This insanity has all the earmarks of the MADD revolution and the anti-smoking (now anti-eating and global warming) hysterias.

It will happen. The PR model is proven to work, and it is a foregone conclusion.

Those of us who want the facts to govern in these matters are SOL.

5 posted on 12/13/2007 7:27:09 PM PST by elkfersupper
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To: Liberty1970
When you need to defend your worldview with non-stop fraud, lies, censorship, persecution and intimidation, the odds are the truth is far from you.
As indeed the Dover trial demonstrated. But I wouldn't be THAT rhetorically savage and hateful towards the antievolutionists. They are certainly foolish, but so are we all in one way or another.
6 posted on 12/13/2007 7:27:27 PM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: Stultis

fools


7 posted on 12/13/2007 8:47:09 PM PST by Carl from Marietta (I know, I've been gone for awhile, but I do look in occasionally, so don't mess up!!)
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To: Stultis
I believe science should be taught in science class.

Science as defined by the scientific method, consists of things that were observed or are repeatable. There are no observer’s records of evolution nor has it been repeated. We do however have an eyewitness record of creation. The Bible also tells us that at some point creation will also be repeated as a new heavens and a new earth will be created by God. So evolution could certainly not claim to be a more scientific theory of our origin. An unbiased Scientist would also considers all possible explanations. An explanation would not be ruled out simply because it is also an article of Christian faith. Belief in anything unproved is faith. Believing in evolution takes faith and the details of the theory itself are in a constant state of flux. Those on the leading edge of evolutionary theory willingly admit that most of what I was taught thirty years ago about evolution they now known to be impossible. So why teach as dogma the current theory of evolution which will ultimately be called impossible by evolutionists of the future. If we’re interested in teaching science we should teach kids to question the theory if we have any interest in them refining it when they grow up. If we teach kids to accept the theory how it is and not to doubt it where it conflicts with scientific evidence we are teaching it to them as a religious belief. Evolution has always gone against the second law of thermodynamics and the recent advances in genetic study have caused the theory of evolution to evolve on a daily basis as things once taught are found to be false. To not allow evidence pro and con and competing theories to be taught is close minded. And I thought only us creationists were supposed to be that way...Ha Ha Ha.

8 posted on 12/14/2007 1:27:59 AM PST by ME-262 (Nancy Pelosi is known to the state of CA to render Viagra ineffective causing reproductive harm.)
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To: Liberty1970

I liked Mr. Cantwell. Some of us first experienced deep time during his science lectures.


9 posted on 12/14/2007 6:52:14 AM PST by js1138
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To: ME-262

What competing theory are you referring to? I’m not aware of any alternative explanation that explains the evidence for the age of the earth, the distribution of fossils in the strata, the distribution of ERVs in various genomes, nylon-eating bacteria, and about a hundred other lines of evidence.

You can’t be referring to the proposition that some undefined entity, having undefined capabilities and limitations, did some undefined something at undefined times and places using undefined methods for undefined reasons.

How would anyone actual research that proposition? It’s been on the table for 200 years without inspiring any research.


10 posted on 12/14/2007 7:03:05 AM PST by js1138
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To: Liberty1970

That’s what libs rely on en lieu of actually debating -

arrogance and “intellectual” bullying (”you must be a backwards assed hayseed bible thumper to not see it my way”).


11 posted on 12/14/2007 7:06:34 AM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: ME-262

First, paragraphs are friends, not your enemy... :)

You have it exactly right - when they teach evolution as a fact without pointing out where it fails to explain the evidence, they are teaching a religion.

And actually, this is the whole point - they are teaching evolution as THE REASON TO NOT NEED A CREATOR.

The irony is, SCIENCE has been pointing to the existance of the Creator in every recent discovery of Universal origins and in the observation about the location of our Earth.


12 posted on 12/14/2007 7:10:23 AM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: MrB
That’s what libs rely on en lieu of actually debating -

Well, in this case these folks wanting evolution watered down would probably describe themselves as conservatives, but yes: In place of debating their issues in the marketplace of scientific ideas (e.g. by developing competing theories and conducting relevant original research testing them) they're trying to effect, for their views, the status normally accorded to ideas (like evolution) that have prevailed by such means, but instead bypass scientific debate and do it purely by political fiat. That is indeed a kind of "arrogance" and "'intellectual' bullying".

13 posted on 12/14/2007 10:19:35 AM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: saganite
Here’s hoping Texas avoids the Kansas embarrasment.

This is a non-issue being drummed up by the liberals in Dallas. It even says so in their own article:

The [State Board of Education] must vote on any changes to the curriculum. Most board members, including the chairman, have said publicly they don't want to introduce intelligent design into the curriculum, and many of them also have said they want to keep the current language on evolution.

I've read a couple of interviews with the chairman of the State Board of Education (who believes in Creation) and he made it abundantly clear that the Board will not be introducing anything religion-based and that they will stick to what they currently have in the curriculum. Unfortunately the liberals in the state aren't happy with that and want everybody to believe that the big bad Christians are going to try and screw up the schools (regardless of the fact that Christians are on the State Board of Education and have no desire to introduce ID into the classrooms).
14 posted on 12/14/2007 10:31:19 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: MrB
And actually, this is the whole point - they are teaching evolution as THE REASON TO NOT NEED A CREATOR.
Gratuitous assertion gratuitously denied.

Point to ANY instance in ANY biology textbook or ANY biology curricula ANYWHERE (outside of the old Soviet Union or other explicitly atheistic venue) that either states or directively implies that evolution denies theism.

In fact your assertion is worse than gratuitous; it's palpably false. I have never seen such a thing as you suggest, and I've read dozens and dozens of antievolution books and articles that would have eagerly hyped such an example if one existed.

15 posted on 12/14/2007 10:32:53 AM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: af_vet_rr
To follow that up, in addition to the chairman, I read an interview with another board member, and they made it abundantly clear that while they were very religious, they felt that religious matters need to be taught in the church and at home by the parents and that the last entity they wanted teaching anything that was religion or faith-related was the state.

That pretty much falls in line with what most thinking Christians (and Jews) believe - that Children need to learn about religious issues through their parents and within the framework of their church or synagogue or whatever religious institution they are a part of.
16 posted on 12/14/2007 10:37:11 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: MrB
And actually, this is the whole point - they are teaching evolution as THE REASON TO NOT NEED A CREATOR.

If that was true, then there would be 10s and 10s of millions, if not 100 million+, atheists in this country.

The fact is, the only thing stopping a child from learning about God is lazy parenting.
17 posted on 12/14/2007 10:39:55 AM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr
I've read a couple of interviews with the chairman of the State Board of Education (who believes in Creation) and he made it abundantly clear that the Board will not be introducing anything religion-based and that they will stick to what they currently have in the curriculum.

I haven't kept up with this particularly well in recent years, but I suspect the concern is about the textbook guidelines.

Years ago antievolutionists managed to get in language, I don't remember exactly, but something to effect of "testing theories" or presenting "alternative evidence" or something of the like. The language itself was not necessarily objectionable, except that it was applied ONLY to evolution and nothing else.

Later on the language was kept in but was universalized, or rather the cross references tying it ONLY to evolution were eliminated. Of course antievolutionists fought this. They'd never say so, of course, but from their actions it's obvious that antievolutionists actually want all theories other than evolution to be taught as dogmatically as possible -- essentially as facts -- so that evolution (which is often the only theory in biology textbooks that's actually called a "theory") can be made to seem questionable or invalid by contrast.

So I suspect the worry is that there will be an attempt to tie the anti-dogmatism language back to evolution (and evolution only). This could be done while still, however superficially, meeting the claim that nothing "religion-based" was being added.

18 posted on 12/14/2007 10:46:43 AM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: saganite
Here’s hoping Texas avoids the Kansas embarrassment.

Here's betting that Freepers will cheer when Texas embarrasses itself like Kansas.

19 posted on 12/14/2007 10:49:23 AM PST by trumandogz (Hunter Thompson 2008)
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To: Stultis
she had improperly endorsed evolution

If one intends to endorse something be bold and do it properly.

20 posted on 12/14/2007 10:52:45 AM PST by RightWhale (anti-razors are pro-life)
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To: DaveyB

>>Here’s hoping Texas avoids the Kansas embarrasment. (sic)


Why bring Bob Dole into this, can’t you let sleeping dogs lie?<<

He really should not have done Viagra and Britney Spears ads so close together.


21 posted on 12/14/2007 11:56:15 AM PST by gondramB (Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.)
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To: Stultis

>>”How can the materialistic philosophic naturalistic base dependency of Darwinism be brought into the discussion and used for our benefit?” Dr. McLeroy asked, according to a recording of the speech. “We didn’t use it. All we did was stay with evidence, and we got run over.”<<

The implication being that next time he wants to science decision to be made on philosophy rather than evidence.

That’s honest of him to say but not good if he carries that out.


22 posted on 12/14/2007 11:57:45 AM PST by gondramB (Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.)
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To: Stultis; MrB

Stultis, could you qualify that evidence you’re looking for just a little bit more? If you’ve never read an atheist blogger, a newspaper or a magazine article (or a book) stating flatly that “the origin of life is . . .” you might take a look at one of the http://ScienceBlogs.com bloggers.

The Comer business is not at all what she’s trying to make it into - or it probably wasn’t in the beginning. She’s been irritating her bosses for a while. She got caught enough times for them to fire her.


23 posted on 12/14/2007 12:15:28 PM PST by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org)
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To: MrB
First, paragraphs are friends, not your enemy... :)

True

You have it exactly right - when they teach evolution as a fact without pointing out where it fails to explain the evidence, they are teaching a religion.

False

And actually, this is the whole point - they are teaching evolution as THE REASON TO NOT NEED A CREATOR.

False

The irony is, SCIENCE has been pointing to the existance of the Creator in every recent discovery of Universal origins and in the observation about the location of our Earth.

False

1 out of 4. I'm afraid you'll have to do better than that. And the only thing that's ironic is your use of the word.

24 posted on 12/14/2007 12:21:25 PM PST by LibertarianSchmoe ("...yeah, but, that's different!" - mating call of the North American Ten-Toed Hypocrite)
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To: Stultis

There’s no such things as “microscopes”.


25 posted on 12/14/2007 12:23:05 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: LibertarianSchmoe

Your denial of the last point is out of your own ignorance.

The rest is just disagreeing with opinion. Not “false”.


26 posted on 12/14/2007 12:27:31 PM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: MrB
Your denial of the last point is out of your own ignorance.

Um, no. Not everyone bases their belief in a Creator on dishonest claims of nonexistent evidence. Some people have faith.

The rest is just disagreeing with opinion. Not “false”.

No, you're making assertions (dishonest ones at that), not offering opinions.

27 posted on 12/14/2007 12:39:20 PM PST by LibertarianSchmoe ("...yeah, but, that's different!" - mating call of the North American Ten-Toed Hypocrite)
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To: LibertarianSchmoe

“dishonest claims of nonexistent evidence”

your ignorance, not mine.


28 posted on 12/14/2007 12:41:23 PM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: hocndoc
She’s been irritating her bosses for a while.

Any source for this? Any information about what she did that was "irratating" to her bosses?

She got caught enough times for them to fire her.

Caught doing what?

29 posted on 12/14/2007 12:51:38 PM PST by atlaw
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To: hocndoc
Should be, of course, “Any information about what she did that was “irritating” to her bosses?"

(Keyboard's fault. Mind of its own. Honest.)

30 posted on 12/14/2007 12:56:41 PM PST by atlaw
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To: atlaw
After spending the next week out of the office, Ms. Comer said, she returned to hear that she had one day to resign or she would be fired.

TEA officials presented her with a three-page memo criticizing her for speaking at a conference without permission and for questioning the leadership at the agency when Robert Scott was serving as acting commissioner. Mr. Scott had since been named commissioner.

The memo also stated that Ms. Comer's e-mail about Dr. Forrest's speech had compromised the agency's neutrality in the curriculum revision process.

"I left there in shock," Ms. Comer said. "I was so embarrassed. I've never been fired in my life."

She resigned the next day.

"Obviously this is a personnel issue I can't comment on," Mr. Scott said. "Suffice to say there are other issues as well."

I covered Comer's resignation last week on my blog, with more links and quotes here and here.

31 posted on 12/14/2007 2:08:40 PM PST by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org)
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To: hocndoc; MrB
Stultis, could you qualify that evidence you’re looking for just a little bit more? If you’ve never read an atheist blogger, a newspaper or a magazine article

hocndoc, MrB said, "And actually, this is the whole point - they are teaching evolution as THE REASON TO NOT NEED A CREATOR."

It's reasonably clear to me that "they" means educators -- science teachers, textbook authors, curriculum planners, etc -- in Texas specifically and/or in general.

So I'm looking for evidence, as I said, that ANY biology curricula or textbook does what MrB wildly claims is the "whole point" of evolution education, i.e. uses evolution to deny God and advance atheism.

I'm sure that you can find bloggers that do this. That's irrelevant. I want curricula or textbooks. Even individual educators advancing atheism via evolution would qualify, PROVED THAT such individuals are not so acting as "loose cannons," but with knowing approval from supervisors, or in harmony with curricula, or something of the like.

32 posted on 12/14/2007 4:10:12 PM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: Stultis

Yeah, I’ll rush right out and find a textbook written by a leftist that states that the real goal of teaching evolution is to promote atheism.

We all know how upfront and honest leftists are about their agenda.

Like... Anthropogenic Global Warming is about saving the planet instead of forcing global socialism, wealth redistribution, and the destruction of capitalism.

Like... Motor voter and illegal immigrant driver’s licences are about making sure that illegals know our driving laws and about registering legal people to vote, separately, and not about getting an illegal immigrant voting block for democrats.

Like... Embryonic stem cell research is about finding cures for diseases and not about removing all ethical issues about destroying embryos and abortions.

And the ACLU is concerned about Constitutional freedoms and not just a communist promoting anti-Christian organization.

Yeah, I’ll rush right out and find an example of how the left teaches evolution in order to promote atheism.


33 posted on 12/14/2007 6:56:42 PM PST by MrB (You can't reason people out of a position that they didn't use reason to get into in the first place)
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To: Liberty1970; saganite
The only thing embarassing about Kansas was how 90% of the population caved in to the arrogance of the other 10%.

I wasn't aware that the 90% of Kansans who had sense had caved in to the kooky 10% who wanted to screw up the teaching of science in the state. Can you provide documentation for this claim?

When you need to defend your worldview with non-stop fraud, lies, censorship, persecution and intimidation, the odds are the truth is far from you.

Yes, exactly. But still the anti-evolution liars keep persisting. It gets tiring after a while, even after they've been caught telling gross falsehoods and making fallacious arguments over and over and over again, like for example (from prior posts of mine):

Anti-evolution creationists make thousands of "mistakes" on a regular basis, and they never seem to correct themselves or each other. In fact, they keep repeating each other's mistakes ad infinitum.

Anti-evolutionists make so many "errors", of such a gross and obvious nature, that one has to ask whether they do it out of dishonesty, or mere incompetence, because making so many "errors" that many entire websites (maintained by scientists, not by other anti-evolution creationists) are dedicated towards tracking all of the anti-evolutionists' errors.

For example, here are *hundreds* of example of just *one* kind of creationist "error":

The Quote Mine Project: Or, Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines

The Revised Quote Book: Looking at how Creationists Quote Evolutionists

Quotations and Misquotations: Why What Antievolutionists Quote is Not Valid Evidence Against Evolution

Creationist Arguments: Misquotes

Creationist Whoppers

Quote-Mining...The Tradition Continues - ICR Representative Frank Sherwin Visits Eureka College

Misquotations in the Creation Book

Creationist "Out of Context" Quotes

Famous Quotes found in books (and misused by creationists)

Lie Ho! Lie Ho! It's off to the quote mine we go…

Want more? Here is an excellent example of repeated distortions of the actual science by an AECreationist book filling children's heads with gross mispresresentations: Skeletons in Your Closet.

And: A Creationist Exposed.

And: ICR Whoppers. From the Talk.Origins Archive

And: Lying For Jesus: Duane Gish, InterVarsity, and Creationism at Rutgers

And: Some Verifiable Instances of Creationist Dishonesty

And: Creationism: Bad Science or Immoral Pseudoscience?

And: Lucy's Knee Joint: A Case Study in Creationists' Willingness to Admit their Errors

And: Missing Supernova Remnants as Evidence of a Young Universe? A Case of Fabrication

And: Icons of Evolution FAQs (creationist Wells spends a whole book distorting science)

And: Hiding the Numbers to Defame Radiometric Dating A Few Examples of the Many Misused References in Woodmorappe (1999)

And: Creationist Lies and Blunders

...how many more would you like? Want more? Okay:

Summary of the ability of the two creationists (Hovind and Havoc) to present information they *know* is false, and to *fail* to retract when reminded of their falsehoods, is presented here, along with links to all appropriate documentation.

This sort of behavior, unfortunately, is *typical* of creationists. Here, want dozens of more examples of their distortions? A few more for the road? Another? Still more, perhaps? How about even more? Ooh, here are some good examples. And there's lots more where that came from, like this and this and this and lots more here and *tons* here and countless more here and yet more here, a goodie... Wait, there's more over here, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., *ETC.*, etc., etc., etc., . How about 300 more creationist misrepresentations? Not enough, you say? Well then visit this link.

Still not enough? Okay, fine: Several hundred more anti-evolution creationist "mistakes"...

I can keep this up all day long. AECreationists have grossly misrepresented science and made "errors" thousands upon thousands of times, yet never seem to "notice" or correct each other. Instead, they just repeat each other's falsehoods, even *after* the "error" has been publicly exposed. Are they liars or just stone stupid? You make the call. But either way, I'm not going to let them set school science standards, they have revealed themselves to be grossly unsuited for the job.

And then of course there were the multiple acts of blatant perjury from the anti-evolution side in the Dover trial, etc.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though -- since they have no leg to stand on from a scientific standpoint while hoping to prop up the world's oldest failed hypothesis, the best they can manage is to lie, distort, hand-wave, and propagandize.

Expelled: The Movie

Another good example, thanks -- I'll add it to the list of dishonest anti-science propaganda pieces. I haven't seen the movie itself, of course (it's not out yet), but I've seen the trailers, read the press releases, seen and read statements by Stein and the filmmakers, etc. And it's an amazingly high pile of blatant crap, aimed at hysterically swaying emotions while spewing falsehoods and nonsense. In other words, the usual anti-evolution bluster.

34 posted on 12/14/2007 9:24:27 PM PST by Ichneumon (Ignorance is curable, but the afflicted has to want to be cured.)
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To: ME-262; Stultis; MrB; js1138; LibertarianSchmoe; <1/1,000,000th%; atlaw
I believe science should be taught in science class.

So do I. Unlike almost every anti-evolution person I've ever conversed with or listened to or read the works of, however, I'm actually familiar with the science, how science works, the scientific method, and the vast amount of evidence available on this issue.

What most anti-evolutionists mean by "science", however, is "whatever we happen to believe fervently in, which we'll slap a label of 'science' on, while denouncing as 'non-science' any part of real, established science that clashes with our existing presumptions."

How did you mean it?

Science as defined by the scientific method, consists of things that were observed or are repeatable.

Wrong. You're not starting out very well here.

More accurately (but even this doesn't cover the full story), it's defined by *testable* things based on *evidence* which is observable AND testable. Note the several large differences between this and your version. The *testing* itself and the *evidence* itself must be observable and repeatable (i.e., repeatably testable), which is NOT the same thing as the phenomenon *itself* being directly observable. If you're unclear on the difference, go watch a CSI show -- to reconstruct how a crime was committed (or how an accidental death happened, etc.), they don't need to repeatedly kill the victim over and over again, nor do they need to find someone who was there and saw it happen. They do, however, need evidence which can be observed and tested, and which can have the tests repeated by an independent tester (such as one chosen by the defense attorney) if necessary in order to confirm the tests and to rule out error, dishonesty, bias, etc.

If you're *still* unclear on the difference, read: Explaining the Scientific Method (to Creationists)

There are no observer’s records of evolution nor has it been repeated.

See above -- you're insisting on ludicrous standards, one not required for any other branch of science. Try again. For how science is *actually* done in order to accurately reconstruct and confirm past events, however, again see: Explaining the Scientific Method (to Creationists)

We do however have an eyewitness record of creation.

Really? Cool. When can we interview him or her?

If on the other hand he/she is unavailable for questions, and you're relying on an alleged written account by an alleged witness, we await your attempts to demonstrate conclusively that the piece of parchment in question was actually directly written by the alleged eyewitness, that it's actually what it purports to be and not an old bedtime story passed down through generations, that you have an original copy and not an Nth-hand transcription which may have been endlessly altered by transcription errors or edits by overzealous copyists, that it is not contradicted by dozens of other documents also purporting to be an account of creation by an eyewitness, that its contents are in excellent accord with independent evidence which can be used to judge its veracity and accuracy, etc. And so on.

We'll wait.

The Bible also tells us that at some point creation will also be repeated as a new heavens and a new earth will be created by God.

So?

So evolution could certainly not claim to be a more scientific theory of our origin.

Wait, what? Sure it could, because it is. It's a more scientific theory because unlike your version, science has confirmed the validity of evolutionary biology a vast number of times in dozens of multiply independent cross-confirming ways, through literally millions of observations involving a vast number of experiments, field studies, and mountains of evidence, and evolutionary biology has passed huge numbers of potential falsification tests with flying colors. That's science.

An unbiased Scientist would also considers all possible explanations.

We do. A "possible explanation" is a hypothesis, and science examines as many possible hypotheses as it can. However, you're forgetting the part where many hypotheses end up being rightly discarded because they fail falsification tests, are by their nature impossible to either confirm or falsify, or otherwise get ruled out by failing to match the real-world evidence.

An explanation would not be ruled out simply because it is also an article of Christian faith.

You're right, and it's not. Explanations are ruled out because they don't work, they don't match the evidence or they fail upon experimental testing, etc. It's not our fault that lot of the "explanations" favored by adherents of a number of religions fail in this manner when tested. This is true even when they're tested by the faithful. Even long before Darwin, beliefs in a 6000-year life of the Earth, and of a global flood, had been discarded by scientists who were good Christians, because the mounting evidence ruled out these "explanations".

For example, as early as the mid 1850's, most geologists had realized that the geologic record was not consistent with a global flood. A specific case: in 1857 Hugh Miller -- a creationist geologist -- wrote of his conclusions that at most, the Biblical flood was a local flood in the Mideast, since geology showed no signs of a global flood. On page 327 of his book, "The Testimony of the Rocks, he wrote:

"No man acquainted with the general outlines of Palaeontology, or the true succession of the sedimentary formations, has been able to believe, during the last half century, that any proof of a general deluge can be derived from the older geologic systems, -- Palaeozoic, Secondary [Mesozoic], or Tertiary."
He wrote this not because he was biased against Christianity, he wrote it because the evidence had falsified that explanation. And so it is today as well.

Belief in anything unproved is faith.

Defining "faith" in such a manner defines it so broadly that almost everything qualifies, making the definition rather meaningless. "Proof" is a standard unavailable in this real world -- it's only possible in artificial realms such as mathematics where the writer is free to set the rules by personal fiat.

It's more accurate (and more matching the common use of the word) to define "faith" as that which is believed despite the inability to verify them.

Believing in evolution takes faith

Nope. It doesn't take "faith" to have confidence in the validity of evolutionary biology, it takes knowledge, understanding of the relevant processes, and familiarity with the evidence. For any part of evolutionary biology, the tenets can be personally verified and double-checked. No "faith" necessary in the least. "Faith" is for things which *can't* be checked for validation. Evolutionary biology can.

and the details of the theory itself are in a constant state of flux.

The "details", yes, but this is true of any field of science. So? The foundations of evolutionary biology, however, are stable, well-established, stronger than ever, and getting stronger each day as more and more evidence accumulates.

Those on the leading edge of evolutionary theory willingly admit that most of what I was taught thirty years ago about evolution they now known to be impossible.

With all due respect, that's horse crap. I've been following this topic in great depth for over thirty years myself, and there's not a single thing that was being taught thirty years ago that is now "known to be impossible".

You're getting your stuff from creationist tracts instead of science journals, I can tell... Big mistake.

So why teach as dogma the current theory of evolution which will ultimately be called impossible by evolutionists of the future.

Because a) it's not taught as dogma, it's taught as the best understanding based on the best current evidence, and b) your fantasy that you have a crystal ball that lets you confidently state what scientists will be saying in thirty years is a little disturbing.

Science is always a matter of the best current explanation of the best available evidence. And it's more than willing to update its explanations if new evidence allows more accurate fine-tuning. But that's hardly a good reason for the common creationist attempt to use this fact as an excuse to say, "well, maybe it's all crap despite science's many stellar successes, let's not bother teaching anything, and I'll just believe whatever in the hell I want". Sorry, but that way lies idiocy.

If we’re interested in teaching science we should teach kids to question the theory if we have any interest in them refining it when they grow up.

There's a big difference between "questioning the theory" in a healthy scientific way, and "questioning the theory" in the irresponsible, anti-science way the anti-evolution folks want to encourage. I'm all for the former, but the latter is an insult to the Enlightenment.

If we teach kids to accept the theory how it is and not to doubt it where it conflicts with scientific evidence we are teaching it to them as a religious belief.

That would be if that's how it was being taught, but it's not. For example, evolutionary biology is not taught in a way that "conflicts with scientific evidence". If you think it is, you're entirely welcome to give what you consider your very best examples (choose no more than three for starters, so make them count).

Evolution has always gone against the second law of thermodynamics

ROFL!!!!! No, son, it hasn't.

I've seen endless creationist attempts to explain why they think it does, and every single time, they've made complete idiots of themselves. I invite you to present *your* attempt, let's see how well *you* do.

I'll even give you a few pointers to help you avoid the usual creationist pitfalls: First, the Second Law of Thermodynamics (henceforth denoted as "SLoT") does NOT say that "information cannot increase" or "order cannot increase", like so many clueless creationists idiotically seem to think it does. If it *did* actually say such a thing, and if that were true, not only would evolution be impossible, but so would snowflake formation, the production of babies, and the growth of an acorn into an oak tree. Second, the SLoT is essentially a mathematical statement. In order to demonstrate that some process is or is not a violation of the SLoT, you're going to have to mathematically analyze its entropy relative to that of the Universe as a whole. Go for it. Finally, evolution is the change in genetic frequency in a population over time. If you think that you have found a way to use the SLoT or any other scientific law to demonstrate that changing genetic frequencies are impossible, then you've made a mistake, because genetic frequencies really do change over time out here in the Real World(tm).

Before you fall flat on your face trying to flog the "evolution violates SLoT" idiocy like so many other hapless creationists, read this first, then if you still think you have a case, feel free to present it: Thermodynamics, Evolution and Creationism

and the recent advances in genetic study have caused the theory of evolution to evolve on a daily basis as things once taught are found to be false.

Really? Such as? You sort of "forgot" to mention that part. I've been reading thousands of journal articles on advances in genetics, and I have yet to see one that actually invalidates a fundamental tenet of evolutionary biology. Quite the contrary, in fact, they keep reconfirming and extending the validity of evolutionary biology. So what'cha got? Be specific.

To not allow evidence pro and con and competing theories to be taught is close minded.

Just as soon as someone actually comes up with a "competing theory", let us know, and we'll be glad to teach its pros and cons. Until then, we'll keep teaching the only scientific theory of biological change which currently exists, and that's evolutionary biology.

Hint: Neither creationism nor "Intelligent Design" are scientific theories. They're loose hypotheses which have yet (after thousands of years of trying) to gain enough explanatory power, much less supporting evidence, to rise to the level of actual "theory".

In other words, as soon as creationism/ID manage to actually *produce* some science, then they'll have something worth presenting in science class. And yes, I've seen the claims -- they're hand-waving and propaganda, not actual science. Again, if you think you have an actual counterexample, now would be a great time to present it.

And I thought only us creationists were supposed to be that way...Ha Ha Ha.

When the shoe fits...

35 posted on 12/14/2007 9:42:13 PM PST by Ichneumon (Ignorance is curable, but the afflicted has to want to be cured.)
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To: MrB
You have it exactly right - when they teach evolution as a fact without pointing out where it fails to explain the evidence, they are teaching a religion.

And they allegedly do that where, exactly? Give an example of something they're teaching which actually "fails to explain the evidence."

And actually, this is the whole point - they are teaching evolution as THE REASON TO NOT NEED A CREATOR.

No, they're not, although I suppose it might look that way to someone sufficiently steeped in anti-science propaganda. Instead, they're teaching it because it's an extremely well established and productive field of science.

The irony is, SCIENCE has been pointing to the existance of the Creator in every recent discovery of Universal origins and in the observation about the location of our Earth.

Again, an anti-evolution claim is made without a single supporting example. Gosh, how surprising. Give us your very best three examples, and we'll see how well they (and your credibility on this topic) hold up to examination.

36 posted on 12/14/2007 9:46:18 PM PST by Ichneumon (Ignorance is curable, but the afflicted has to want to be cured.)
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To: MrB; Stultis; hocndoc
[So I'm looking for evidence, as I said, that ANY biology curricula or textbook does what MrB wildly claims is the "whole point" of evolution education, i.e. uses evolution to deny God and advance atheism.]

Yeah, I’ll rush right out and find a textbook written by a leftist that states that the real goal of teaching evolution is to promote atheism.
We all know how upfront and honest leftists are about their agenda.
[snip [i]non sequiturs[/i]]
Yeah, I’ll rush right out and find an example of how the left teaches evolution in order to promote atheism.

Your inability to support your conspiracy theory is duly noted, as is your failed attempt to use sarcasm to blame someone for daring to ask you to support your own claim.

37 posted on 12/14/2007 9:51:04 PM PST by Ichneumon (Ignorance is curable, but the afflicted has to want to be cured.)
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To: Stultis; MrB; Ichneumon; All

I knew you could qualify it a bit more.

The real world is the “loose cannons.” I had them in school (”billions and billions of years ago”).

If you have read the science blogs and journals, you would notice that these are the people teaching our future teachers, and that the thing that motivates them even more than losing funding for research (and much more than a calling to teach) is the chance that someone might infer that we are created.

Evidence for that: their energy is expended on the blogs and they’re not disseminating the facts they’ve discovered. They set up their blogs, research the news and post in order to spend their time and talents cursing God and His believers.

I like to spend my time trying to give them an example of a reasoning, knowledgable believer that they really don’t want to curse. It’s my equivalent of establishing communications. (God bless ‘em, sometimes it’s like one of the science fiction scenarios, with First Contact with an alien being.)


38 posted on 12/15/2007 1:01:03 AM PST by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org)
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To: af_vet_rr; Ichneumon; MrB; Stultis

Sometimes though, it also takes a bit of translating. When you’ve been taught the 6 day creation, and every book talks about billions of years. I manage my translations when talking to the 6 x 24 hours believers and when talking to the 4.5 Billion years non-believers.

It’s good to discover truth and whatever the Truth is, that’s how God works. Sometimes our measurements are off a few decimal points, though, so we have to be patient with one another as we learn the instruments and invent better ones.


39 posted on 12/15/2007 1:06:39 AM PST by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org)
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To: Ichneumon
You say there are no signs of a global flood, but yet you’ll admit that every inch of this earth’s crust was at one time or another submerged. I think you rule it out because you don’t want it to be true. A strictly scientific minded person with no bias would feel no unnatural compulsion to rule it out. vast portions of this earth’s surface are stratified sediment that is laid down by flooding. When you have places all over the earth with thousands of feet of uninterrupted strata (meaning it got laid down all at once)you would have to admit that every continent on this planet has most certainly at some time been flooded beyond anything we’ve seen after Noah stepped out of the ark.

“No “faith” necessary in the least.”(to believe macro-evolution) You humor me. I’ve got a bridge that evolved in my back yard, would you like to buy it?

“When can we interview him or her?”(God our creator) You’ll get your chance. However the meeting won’t go well for many.

My kid eats nylon too. He must be more evolved than most.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket “Explanations are ruled out because they don’t work, they don’t match the evidence or they fail upon experimental testing” Amen! brother. That is why I still don’t have faith in the theory of macro-evolution. The theory of evolution and unintelligent chance design origin is one of the largest all encompassing theories and yet still has produced no useful technology that wouldn’t have come about without it. It is a barren theory! It doesn’t produce technology because it is either false or not understood correctly by its adherents. What useful technology or advancement is a direct result of this age old theory? You got nothing buddy! And don’t make me list the ungodly atrocities committed by those who’ve tried to practice their evolution.

“there’s not a single thing that was being taught thirty years ago that is now “known to be impossible”. I’m sure even you know you’re wrong here since you follow this closely. How about minerals in a sunny primordial swamp forming amino acids forming proteins forming genes forming DNA forming living single celled organisms capable of reproducing themselves into higher life forms. Later I was told that since UV light breaks down the building blocks it could have only happened underground and life came up through a geyser fully formed and ready to meet the world. still later your experts tell me life could not have evolved on our hot planet but was instead brought here frozen on an Icy comet. Can hardly wait for the next version. It is amusing.

(macro-evolution)”it’s not taught as dogma” I kind of got the sense from you writing that you wanted me to accept a theory as settled and vetted like one of the laws. I get a sense that if you were my teacher and I did not believe the theory to be true and answered on the test accordingly, I wouldn’t be given an A+. And when you are required to answer in accordance with a belief in a theory that is teaching it as dogma. Nobody ever required me to give examples proving Heisenberg’s uncertainty theory on a test. Nor have I ever been harangued for not believing it.

“Neither creationism nor “Intelligent Design” are scientific theories. They’re loose hypotheses” So evolution is in some theoretical origin hierarchy above my view, huh! .... Bite me, you heathen. Go blow a peppered moth out your a$$. My view was sealed by the all knowing God before the foundation of the universe, written down for mankind thousands of years before I was born and has never needed to change based upon recent findings. Throughout church history those who have tried to meld the Bible with contemporary theories opposed to the narrative have always looked foolish when those opposing theories have gone out of vogue. As for your theory....This too shall pass.

"So what'cha got? Be specific." If you've been studying this as long as you claim, you already know what I got. But so as not to write a book here, much can be found at answersingenesis.org As for just a few of the things I've got: irreducible complexity, Second Law of Thermodynamics, cases of statistical improbability too numerous to count, absence of transitional forms in the fossil record, evidences of catastrophism not traditional evolutionary uniforitarianism, rate of stellar decay, shortages of accumulated meteoritic dust, shortage of helium in our atmosphere, sea-floor sediment accumulation, lack of vestigial organs, and much much more than I can recall. I probably don't follow this as much as you do since my view is static not a constant variable like yours. But instead of asking you to address all of that I'll give you a slow pitch and ask you to describe how the current belief by evolution believing genetic researchers that we all descended from a most recent common ancestor pegged at 2000-5000 years ago fits with our respective theories. I suspect once again I'll be seeing the historical version of evolution modified to allow for the new finding while my view remains yet unchanged. Via Con Dios Brother.

40 posted on 12/15/2007 6:09:11 AM PST by ME-262 (Nancy Pelosi is known to the state of CA to render Viagra ineffective causing reproductive harm.)
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To: hocndoc
From your blog --

She made the political move, and got fired for it. Really, advocating a lecture titled, "Inside Creationism's Trojan Horse," by Barbara Forrest, a well-known anti-Creationist. That's worse than "not neutral." The title of the lecture is blatantly political.

there's a difference between speech and advocacy on scientific controversies while working in a academic position

You've got to be kidding. First, are you suggesting that the Director of Science Curriculum for the Texas Education Agency is supposed to be "neutral" on the issue what is being taught as science curriculum? If so, what's the point of having a Director of Science Curriculum? Just put a "Director" sign on an empty chair and be done with it.

Second, are you suggesting that it is a firing offense if the Director of Science Curriculum has the audacity to advocate for the teaching of science in science classrooms?

Third, what scientific controversy are you talking about? Creationism isn't science, it's religion. And if you contend its not, then please, set out the Creationism curriculum for us -- you know, that niggling little thing that teachers are supposed to actually teach when they stand up in front of the class. Have at it. Nobody else seems to want to tackle that missing detail.

41 posted on 12/15/2007 7:08:49 AM PST by atlaw
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To: MrB
We all know how upfront and honest leftists are about their agenda.

Like... Anthropogenic Global Warming is about saving the planet instead of forcing global socialism, wealth redistribution, and the destruction of capitalism.

Problem here is that including antievolution themes in textbooks and curricula, or softpedalling treatments of evolution, because of ideologically motivated political pressure on the part of antievolution activists, rather than because some nonevolutionary theory has EARNED scientific standing based on scientific research and testing -- will make it MORE difficult to keep ideologically motivated global warming diatribes and the like out of textbooks and curricula.

The best way to keep out the leftist crap, or remove it where it exists, is to insist on hard-nosed curricula and texts which objectively reflect the actual standing of ideas in the working sciences.

If you include antievolution views -- irrespective of their EARNING their place in curricula -- then you're legitimizing that political path to inclusion. In that case you're not really entitled to complain about leftists utilizing the same pathway to include their favored views in science curricula.

42 posted on 12/15/2007 10:19:51 AM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: DaveyB
“Here’s hoping Texas avoids the Kansas embarrasment. (sic)
Why bring Bob Dole into this, can’t you let sleeping dogs lie?”

Yes, what does Bob Dole and Viagra have to do with Evolution? :-)

43 posted on 12/15/2007 10:29:24 AM PST by TRY ONE (NUKE the unborn gay whales!)
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To: hocndoc
The real world is the “loose cannons.” I had them in school (”billions and billions of years ago”).

Huh? How are references to well established, extensively tested and universally accepted (aside solely from a subset of strict Biblical literalists) ages, such as the approximately 4.6 billion year age of the earth, examples of denying God and promoting atheism? Why would the subset of strict biblical literalists who reject such ages get to speak for all Christians, let alone all theists, such as that incidentally disagreeing with them is denying God?

If you have read the science blogs and journals

As noted previously blogs are irrelevant. And as to the later, I seriously doubt you can find a single example of a scientific research journal, particulary any important one, that any an remotely affirmative manner has used evolution in an antitheistic argument.

44 posted on 12/15/2007 10:40:47 AM PST by Stultis (I don't worry about the war turning into "Vietnam" in Iraq; I worry about it doing so in Congress.)
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To: ME-262
But instead of asking you to address all of that I'll give you a slow pitch and ask you to describe how the current belief by evolution believing genetic researchers that we all descended from a most recent common ancestor pegged at 2000-5000 years ago fits with our respective theories.

Please post some evidence for the statement that "we all descended from a most recent common ancestor pegged at 2000-5000 years ago."

45 posted on 12/15/2007 12:06:50 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: ME-262
You say there are no signs of a global flood, but yet you’ll admit that every inch of this earth’s crust was at one time or another submerged. I think you rule it out because you don’t want it to be true. A strictly scientific minded person with no bias would feel no unnatural compulsion to rule it out. vast portions of this earth’s surface are stratified sediment that is laid down by flooding. When you have places all over the earth with thousands of feet of uninterrupted strata (meaning it got laid down all at once)you would have to admit that every continent on this planet has most certainly at some time been flooded beyond anything we’ve seen after Noah stepped out of the ark.

And those flood sediments date from various times and places during the 4.5 billion year age of the earth. That just proves that there is water, not that there was one flood.

Noah's flood is placed very close to 4350 years ago by biblical scholars. You need to come up with a global flood at that date, not an ocean bottom 500 million years earlier and another one 750 million years earlier, etc.

And a flood at this date will come as a great surprise to the Egyptians (they failed to record a flood about then and just kept on building pyramids and the like).

And how do you explain genetic continuity from before to after that date in North America? A 10,000+ year old individual found in a cave in southern Alaska has living lineal descendants all along the west coasts of North and South America. No break in the mtDNA pattern and replacement by Noah's DNA.

The scientific evidence says there was no global flood at the appointed time, some 4350 years ago. Even the early creationist geologists finally gave up by about 1830.

46 posted on 12/15/2007 12:17:40 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: ME-262

Bite me, you heathen. Go blow a peppered moth out your a$$.

????????

I'm sure you win a lot of arguments with that line of reasoning.

47 posted on 12/15/2007 1:18:33 PM PST by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: TRY ONE
...what does Bob Dole and Viagra have to do with Evolution?

To insist on evolution you need to be drugs; just like Bob because neither can stand on their own. --rimshot

48 posted on 12/15/2007 1:36:00 PM PST by DaveyB (Ignorance is part of the human condition - atheism makes it permanent!)
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To: Stultis

The ”billions and billions of years ago” was a joke. Since you don’t seem to get it, it’s a play on a famous line attributed to Carl Sagan, implying that I’m very old, while also referring to the disconnect and need to translate that that those “Biblical literalists” and their children experience daily.

Now, you and I may firmly believe that the earth is very old. But, if we’re so smart that we can understand more than the “Biblical literalists,” we should be able to explain our facts without calling names such as “Creationism’s Trojan Horse.”

You may believe that the bloggers don’t repeat what they say on the ‘Net when they’re teaching. However, I’ve had my teachers tell me that there’s no need for a God to explain the origin of the species and I’ve read it even more often in letters to journals and in books by Dawkins and Sam Harris. These last two are quoted all over.

It’s difficult for me to agree with you that blogs are irrelevant. I’ve been involved in conversations just like this one with Dworkin, Myers, and (Lord rest his soul) Stephen Gould. Dawkins doesn’t respond to the responses he gets, but he posts his articles and has a forum similar to FR.

As for the scientific literature, take a look at the assumptions in the titles of articles (and the weak assumptions, at that, for anyone not exposed daily to the significance of the minutiae that support the conclusions that are made) in the free articles from Science News:

http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/search?fulltext=&datetype=rangeweeks&rangeweeks=4&hits=20&sortspec=date&searchtype=allfre


49 posted on 12/15/2007 4:33:31 PM PST by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org)
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To: atlaw

Where are you from, atlaw? Texas Eduction Agency employees do not set any sort of policy or curriculum - good or bad. Our elected officials do. We elect the Board of Education for a reason. We certainly don’t hire employees them to use our resources for their own agenda or to criticize the people we elect.

Texas is a “right to work” state. That’s one of those political “newspeak” terms. What it really means is a right to hire and fire on the part of the employers.

If a State employee wants to keep her job, she won’t publicly say her department doesn’t have any real leadership. She won’t complain about being told to relate official BOE policy rather than giving her own interpretation. She won’t make waves just after a new BOE chair and new director are named, just after the whole of the State is getting used to the new Legislative mandate for ethics statement, and - most importantly - just before a hearing that’s going to be controversial enough.

And she will know enough to understand that last sentence.


50 posted on 12/15/2007 4:33:59 PM PST by hocndoc (http://www.LifeEthics.org)
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