Skip to comments.The Worst Jobs in Science No.3- Kansas Biology Teacher
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 worldthe human eye, sayare "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 ...
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.
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.
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!
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
yeah....i saw it and i thot of posting it
i didnt claim otherwise...did i?
> 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...
> 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?
"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.
Tell that to Baby Fae
> 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.
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.
"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.
> 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.
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?
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.
> If I remember correctly, it goes hypothesis, theory and ends as fact.
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.
The author seems a bit of a drama queen.