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The Worst Jobs in Science No.3- Kansas Biology Teacher
Popular Science ^

Posted on 10/28/2005 2:36:03 PM PDT by scientificbeliever

3. Kansas Biology Teacher On the front lines of science's devolution "The evolution debate is consuming almost everything we do," says Brad Williamson, a 30-year science veteran at suburban Olathe East High School and a past president of the National Association of Biology Teachers. "It's politicized the classroom. Parents will say their child can't be in class during any discussion of evolution, and students will say things like 'My grandfather wasn't a monkey!'"

First, a history lesson. In 1999 a group of religious fundamentalists won election to the Kansas State Board of Education and tried to introduce creationism into the state's classrooms. They wanted to delete references to radiocarbon dating, continental drift and the fossil record from the education standards. In 2001 more-temperate forces prevailed in elections, but the anti-evolutionists garnered a 6-4 majority again last November. This year Intelligent Design (ID) theory is their anti-evolution tool of choice.

At the heart of ID is the idea that certain elements of the natural world—the human eye, say—are "irreducibly complex" and have not and cannot be explained by evolutionary theory. Therefore, IDers say, they must be the work of an intelligent designer (that is, God).

The problem for teachers is that ID can't be tested using the scientific method, the system of making, testing and retesting hypotheses that is the bedrock of science. That's because underpinning ID is religious belief. In science class, Williamson says, "students have to trust that I'm just dealing with science."

Alas, for Kansas's educational reputation, the damage may be done. "We've heard anecdotally that our students are getting much more scrutiny at places like medical schools. I get calls from teachers in other states who say things like 'You rubes!'" Williamson says. "But this is happening across the country. It's not just Kansas anymore."

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


TOPICS: US: Kansas
KEYWORDS: crevolist; education; kansas; notthisagain; scienceeducation
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1 posted on 10/28/2005 2:36:04 PM PDT by scientificbeliever
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To: scientificbeliever

Welcome to FR.


2 posted on 10/28/2005 2:37:05 PM PDT by Borges
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To: scientificbeliever

What was the point of nitpicking through this article to post only one of these "reasons?" Do you have something against the state of Kansas?


3 posted on 10/28/2005 2:41:38 PM PDT by NapkinUser ("It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: scientificbeliever
They wanted to delete references to radiocarbon dating, continental drift and the fossil record from the education standards.

Fools. And I say that as a life-long Christian.

4 posted on 10/28/2005 2:42:13 PM PDT by Clock King ("How will it end?" - Emperor; "In Fire." - Kosh)
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To: scientificbeliever

5 posted on 10/28/2005 2:43:35 PM PDT by anonymous_user (This space available.)
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To: PatrickHenry

kansas ping


6 posted on 10/28/2005 2:44:52 PM PDT by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Clock King
They wanted to delete references to radiocarbon dating, continental drift and the fossil record from the education standards.

I'd never heard that before. Stupefying.
7 posted on 10/28/2005 2:45:10 PM PDT by Borges
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To: scientificbeliever

I don't know if you've lurked around here or not, but Crevo threads can be a lot of fun.

They usually devolve (pun intended) into ad hominem attacks before too long...


8 posted on 10/28/2005 2:45:21 PM PDT by Disambiguator (Making accusations of racism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.)
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In 1999 a group of religious fundamentalists won election to the Kansas State Board of Education and tried to introduce creationism into the state's classrooms. They wanted to delete references to radiocarbon dating, continental drift and the fossil record from the education standards.

This shows that if these folks get in control its not just evolutionary biology on the chopping block. Also geology, sedimentology, paleontology, nuclear chemistry, and a host of other fields. They'd probably be happy trashing most of science in favor of their superstitions.

9 posted on 10/28/2005 2:45:26 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: scientificbeliever

I'd expect nothing less from Polular(ized) Science. Joe Shit the ragman wouldn't know 'science' if he was taught it.


10 posted on 10/28/2005 2:45:27 PM PDT by dhuffman@awod.com (The conspiracy of ignorance masquerades as common sense.)
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To: scientificbeliever

> "We've heard anecdotally that our students are getting much more scrutiny at places like medical schools."

Unsurprising. In the late 1990's, I was living in Lakewood, CO, on the outskirts of Denver, and one of the local students was trying to get the school board to pass a ruling that would force teachers to discuss other "theories" then just evolution. It was a raucus meeting, with speeker after speeaker form both sides.... but what finally clinched it was the kid himself. He got up, launched into his spiel and as soon as he said that the textbook he wanted was in use in Alabama, half of the room erupted in laughter. Nobody could take him seriously after the *next* speaker got up and simply said that the Lakewood school district would be lumped with Alabama.

In the end, reason prevailed and the forces of superstition were led out of the room by their pointy little ears. It was a sight to fill any true conservatives heart with joy and pride.


11 posted on 10/28/2005 2:45:56 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: Coyoteman; Borges

The more I see of the Creationist/ID crowd, the more I think of them as a cancer on collective intelligence.


12 posted on 10/28/2005 2:46:55 PM PDT by Clemenza (Gentlemen, Behold!)
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To: scientificbeliever

The parents can take it to court. The so-called Christians are busy committing perjury in Dover. Taht case will be over soon, and with some luck the Intelligent Design scam will be taught as history.


13 posted on 10/28/2005 2:47:42 PM PDT by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: scientificbeliever
Alas, for Kansas's educational reputation, the damage may be done. "We've heard anecdotally that our students are getting much more scrutiny at places like medical schools.

I don't believe this for a moment. When making admission decisions, medical schools look at MCAT scores, college courses, college GPA, and so on; they generally do not consider high school work.

Besides, what does a evolution have to do with one's suitability to practice medicine?

14 posted on 10/28/2005 2:47:51 PM PDT by Logophile
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To: Borges

> Stupefying.

Not really. Creationism becomes something of a challenge when you also have to explain the fossil record and radiocarbon dating (not to mention the *other* radiodating systems). Best to jsut get rid of all that pesky evidence.


15 posted on 10/28/2005 2:48:15 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: scientificbeliever
Signed up just today to post this, huh?

Who're you trying to kid?

16 posted on 10/28/2005 2:49:11 PM PDT by A Jovial Cad
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To: scientificbeliever
a group of religious fundamentalists

Someone should tell Popular Science not to use big words that they don't understand...

17 posted on 10/28/2005 2:49:11 PM PDT by Exigence
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To: Logophile

> Besides, what does a evolution have to do with one's suitability to practice medicine?

Same thing a rejection of the "astrology" and "humours" theories of disease do. A doctor who rejects science.... not a good doctor.


18 posted on 10/28/2005 2:50:10 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: js1138

From Dayton, TN to Dover, PA, the Creationists never cease to make themselves look like fools to anyone on the right side of a bell curve.


19 posted on 10/28/2005 2:51:53 PM PDT by Clemenza (Gentlemen, Behold!)
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To: orionblamblam

"forces of superstition"

Is this the line being used by the atheists on this board?

And no I don't believe creationism should be taught in schools.


20 posted on 10/28/2005 2:53:14 PM PDT by NapkinUser ("It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: Clemenza
The Luddites were a social movement of English workers in the early 1800s who protested – often by destroying textile machines – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution that they felt threatened their jobs. The movement – which began in 1811 – was named after a probably mythical leader, Ned Ludd. For a short time the movement was so strong that it clashed in battles with the British Army. Measures taken by the government included a mass trial at York in 1813 that resulted in many death penalties and transportations.

Since then, the term Luddite has been used to describe anyone opposed to technological progress and technological change. For the modern movement of opposition to technology, see neo-luddism. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

The YECCERs make the Luddites look like amateurs.

21 posted on 10/28/2005 2:53:15 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Logophile
I don't believe this for a moment.

I agree. What sort of science teacher relies on anecodotal evidence?

Not to mention that at least one of these fundamentalists under attack has a doctorate in the sciences himself.

Nor do I believe all of the rest of the pap in the article. I've watched journalist after journalist go to only one side of the debate and write that Kansas wants to do something that is absolutely not the case. The approach is reasonable: open the classroom to the possibilities to teaching that some problems exist with the theory of evolution. Any honest scientist would admit as much.

22 posted on 10/28/2005 2:55:23 PM PDT by Exigence
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To: scientificbeliever

The article omits the fact that evolution can't be tested by the scientific method either. Facts of paleontolgy, biology, biochemistry, etc., are open to interpretation based on the interpreter's preconceptions. The preconception on the part of the evolutionists is called 'naturalism.' When faced with a fact that is totally inexplicable and which probably always will be, they are not permitted to say "God did it", for then they would cease to be scientists and would become (horrors!) theologians. They say, and totally against all reason, "There MUST be a natural explanation for this!


23 posted on 10/28/2005 2:55:36 PM PDT by Designed
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To: NapkinUser
not at all....just thought to show one more way the left is spinning and lying
if you read the rest of the 'worst jobs' they have in the article you will see that being a biology teacher in Kansas is nothing compared to those and they just inserted this in there to attack ID
24 posted on 10/28/2005 2:56:11 PM PDT by scientificbeliever
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To: NapkinUser

> Is this the line being used by the atheists on this board?

I dunno. You'd have to ask one.

However, this "line" is nevertheless accurate.


25 posted on 10/28/2005 2:57:21 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: Exigence
open the classroom to the possibilities to teaching that some problems exist with the theory of evolution.

But that does not bring ID into the classroom.

Weakness in certain parts of the theory of evolution does not constitute evidence for the belief in ID.

26 posted on 10/28/2005 2:58:20 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: scientificbeliever

Why not save concepts like "Intelligent Design" or solipsism for a philosophy course?

Not to say those are invalid ideas, but they are about as scientific as a hippy wondering aloud whether "we all, like, live in the matrix and don't know it, man?" Included in a philosophy course would be discussions of ethics and responsibility as described by Aristotle, Confucius, and, of course, Jesus of Nazareth. I spent 3 months in haiti on a missionary trip and found that the French model of education calls for rigorous study of the underpinnings of Western thought.


27 posted on 10/28/2005 2:58:48 PM PDT by pidgin_toes
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To: Exigence

Even though I am a church-going Christian, I do not believe in creationism or intelligent design. But the thing is, the nuts on the far-left want evolution passed off as a fact when the scientific community still has it as a theory. Both sides and the science for and against evolution should be taught.


28 posted on 10/28/2005 2:59:21 PM PDT by NapkinUser ("It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: orionblamblam
Creationism becomes something of a challenge when you also have to explain the fossil record

Actually, if you check the facts, all Kansas really wants to do is point out that there are significant holes in the fossil record that call into question aspects of macroevolution. Wouldn't it be honest to admit that such is the case? But, current Kansas guidelines prohibit such a mention -- no criticism can be made of evolution.

Perhaps it's well to find out the facts and not rely on biased journalism before jumping to conclusions... how unscientific.

29 posted on 10/28/2005 2:59:28 PM PDT by Exigence
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To: A Jovial Cad

yeah....i saw it and i thot of posting it
i didnt claim otherwise...did i?


30 posted on 10/28/2005 2:59:34 PM PDT by scientificbeliever
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To: Designed

> The article omits the fact that evolution can't be tested by the scientific method either.

Your posting omits the fact that not only *can* evolutionary theory be tested by the scientific method, it *has* *been.*

> When faced with a fact that is totally inexplicable and which probably always will be...

Such as?

> They say, and totally against all reason, "There MUST be a natural explanation for this!

"totally against all reason?" Wow. So... all the scientific discoveries in all the fields of science ever since the ancient Ionians first came up with the basic scientific method... all a bunch of hooey, huh?


31 posted on 10/28/2005 3:00:40 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: orionblamblam

"I dunno. You'd have to ask one."

May I ask if you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, etc.? I'll understand if you do not want to answer.


32 posted on 10/28/2005 3:01:43 PM PDT by NapkinUser ("It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: Logophile
Besides, what does a evolution have to do with one's suitability to practice medicine?

Tell that to Baby Fae

33 posted on 10/28/2005 3:01:53 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: NapkinUser

> the nuts on the far-left want evolution passed off as a fact when the scientific community still has it as a theory

Ahem: "fact" and "theory" are not mutually exclusive. In this case, evolutionary theory describes a general process. Evolution is a fact in that we can see conclusively that it has happened and that it continues.


34 posted on 10/28/2005 3:02:41 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: Coyoteman
But that does not bring ID into the classroom.

Red herring. The point is that science teachers are prohibited from uttering anything that might critcize evolution. That's the "extreme" position those on the board are having to contend with, Popular Science spin notwithstanding.

35 posted on 10/28/2005 3:03:14 PM PDT by Exigence
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To: orionblamblam

"fact" and "theory" are not mutually exclusive"

Yes they are. If I remember correctly, it goes hypothesis, theory and ends as fact. A theory is something that can be tested and confirmed, but not 100% conclusive. Theories can also be tested and be proven wrong any day.

That is what I remember. It's been 30 years.


36 posted on 10/28/2005 3:06:38 PM PDT by NapkinUser ("It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: Exigence

> Actually, if you check the facts, all Kansas really wants to do is point out that there are significant holes in the fossil record that call into question aspects of macroevolution.

1: "Macroevolution" is a fanciful term with no sceintific definition. Say "evolution."
2: The holes in the fossil record present no difficulty for the theory of evolution, anymore than a lack of photos of Pluto's position yesterday show that Keplers laws of planetary motion are in jeopardy of being overthrown.

> Wouldn't it be honest to admit that such is the case?

No. It would be a lie to admit that, just as it would be a lie for me or you to "admit" that Bush invaded Iraq to steal oil.

> no criticism can be made of evolution.

Sure you can. Produce a scientific theory to counter evolutionary theory, and have at it. So far, though, no such theories are in evidence.


37 posted on 10/28/2005 3:06:51 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: Exigence
The point is that science teachers are prohibited from uttering anything that might critcize evolution.

Can you substantiate this point? Are they forbidden to discuss scientific questions within evolution, or are they forbidden to discuss religious alternatives, such as CS and ID which are not science, but beliefs?

Definitions:

Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"

Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true

Based on this, evolution is a theory. CS and ID are beliefs.

38 posted on 10/28/2005 3:07:04 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: NapkinUser

> If I remember correctly, it goes hypothesis, theory and ends as fact.

Wrong.
http://wilstar.com/theories.htm

Quote:
Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.

Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.

In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena.

An analogy can be made using a slingshot and an automobile.

A scientific law is like a slingshot. A slingshot has but one moving part--the rubber band. If you put a rock in it and draw it back, the rock will fly out at a predictable speed, depending upon the distance the band is drawn back.

An automobile has many moving parts, all working in unison to perform the chore of transporting someone from one point to another point. An automobile is a complex piece of machinery. Sometimes, improvements are made to one or more component parts. A new set of spark plugs that are composed of a better alloy that can withstand heat better, for example, might replace the existing set. But the function of the automobile as a whole remains unchanged.

A theory is like the automobile. Components of it can be changed or improved upon, without changing the overall truth of the theory as a whole.

Unquote.


39 posted on 10/28/2005 3:08:25 PM PDT by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: scientificbeliever
Being a biology teacher in Kansas is probably much better than, say in NYC. The pay is good, you don't have the level of drugs and violence you have in the largest cities, and I doubt any of them are staying up nights worrying about teaching ID.

The author seems a bit of a drama queen.

40 posted on 10/28/2005 3:09:30 PM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: Logophile
Besides, what does a evolution have to do with one's suitability to practice medicine?

Next time you go to a physician make sure you pick one who disavows evolution.

41 posted on 10/28/2005 3:10:22 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: orionblamblam

Um...where was I wrong in what you quoted?


42 posted on 10/28/2005 3:11:38 PM PDT by NapkinUser ("It is a damn poor mind indeed which can think of only one way to spell a word." -Andrew Jackson)
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To: orionblamblam
Same thing a rejection of the "astrology" and "humours" theories of disease do. A doctor who rejects science.... not a good doctor.

First of all, medicine is as much art as science. Very little of what a practicing physician does is affected one way or the other by the theory of evolution. Surgeons, for instance, learn their specialty by doing surgery, not by studying evolutionary biology.

Second, I am not convinced that a belief in Intelligent Design is necessarily a rejection of science. (Young-earth creationism is another matter—it is both bad science and bad theology.) Neither evolution nor ID are relevant to the physical sciences: a person could accept ID and still do excellent work in astronomy, chemistry, physics, or geology. Even in some biological fields, evolution is not a big issue.

43 posted on 10/28/2005 3:13:37 PM PDT by Logophile
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To: Designed
The article omits the fact that evolution can't be tested by the scientific method either.

Either you lie or you're just ignorant concerning evolution. I got news for you, it's being done daily all over the planet in laboratories and in the field. The evidence supporting evolution would literlly overwhelm you. Ask PatrickHenry for a list.

44 posted on 10/28/2005 3:13:56 PM PDT by Rudder
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To: NapkinUser
"fact" and "theory" are not mutually exclusive"

Yes they are. If I remember correctly, it goes hypothesis, theory and ends as fact. A theory is something that can be tested and confirmed, but not 100% conclusive. Theories can also be tested and be proven wrong any day.

That is what I remember. It's been 30 years.

Facts are data: the size of the moon, the hardness of a rock, age of a fossil, the fact that change occurs through time.

Evolution is a theory. A theory is used to organize data. Heinlein said it well:

Piling up facts is not science--science is facts-and-theories. Facts alone have limited use and lack meaning: a valid theory organizes them into far greater usefulness.

A powerful theory not only embraces old facts and new but also discloses unsuspected facts [Heinlein 1980:480-481].

Look again at the definition of a theory that I posted above:

Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"

In addition to being a fact (things change over time), evolution is an explanation of how things change over time. The theory of evolution has withstood 150 years of challenges, including by fields of investigation--genetics and radiometric dating, for example--that did not exist when the theory was proposed. Every fossil that is found, and every DNA sequence that is decoded constitutes a test of the theory of evolution. It has passed all test to date.

45 posted on 10/28/2005 3:14:28 PM PDT by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: Exigence

And every time they find a new intermediate fossil, that opens up two new gaps in the fossil record on either side. They think they're gathering evidence, but they're only undermining their own case! Fools!


46 posted on 10/28/2005 3:15:10 PM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: Coyoteman
Weakness in certain parts of the theory of evolution...

The problem is that the evolutionists don't want to admit there are any weak points in the theory of evolution because if they admit there are any flaws in the theory, they would have little choice but to bring ID/creationism into the picture to explain the many weaknesses of the evolutionary theory.

Unfortunately, many evolutionists (not the ones here in FR land, of course) don't have the intellectual honesty to admit there are any flaws in the theory at all. They take evolution by faith, which is more faith than your average YEC has.

47 posted on 10/28/2005 3:15:27 PM PDT by Tamar1973 (Palestine is the cancer; Israel is the cure!)
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To: Designed

Uh, have you ever set foot in a science class? We studied evolution and its applications in my high school science class, in the context of the scientific method.


48 posted on 10/28/2005 3:15:55 PM PDT by Clemenza (Gentlemen, Behold!)
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To: NapkinUser
Perhaps you've missed this, but the Kansas school board has been taken over by fundamentalists, who've added scientifically nonsensical content to the biology curriculum, to make it conform with the addled theories of the Discovery Institute. It's so bad, in fact, that the National Academy of Sciences has refused to let Kansas use any of it's copyrighted material to draw up their new standards.

Truly, drive 100 miles south of here in Lincoln, NE, and you're back in the early 19th century.

49 posted on 10/28/2005 3:19:20 PM PDT by Right Wing Professor
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To: Clemenza

I went to a religious high school and grade school, and they taught evolution, thank God.


50 posted on 10/28/2005 3:19:24 PM PDT by Central Scrutiniser (Never pet a dog that is on fire)
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