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Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FOSSILIZED HATS AND BABY DINOSAURS....The LA Times profiles fanatical creationist Ken Ham today:

He showed the children a photo of a fossilized hat found in a mine to prove it doesn't take millions of years to create ancient-looking artifacts. He pointed out cave drawings of a creature resembling a brachiosaur to make the case that man lived alongside dinosaurs after God created all the land animals on Day 6.

....Ham encourages people to further their research with the dozens of books and DVDs sold by his ministry. They give answers to every question a critic might ask: How did Noah fit dinosaurs on the ark? He took babies. Why didn't a tyrannosaur eat Eve? All creatures were vegetarians until Adam's sin brought death into the world. How can we have modern breeds of dog like the poodle if God finished his work 6,000 years ago? He created a dog "kind" a master blueprint and let evolution take over from there.

Feel free to laugh or cry as the spirit moves you. I did a little of both myself.

Kevin Drum 6:41 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (124)

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Comments

Betcha 10 bucks 'ol Kenny boy drives a SUV. And where did SUV's evolve from? Yep, fossils. lol

Posted by: Tank on February 11, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Vegan dinosaurs?

Posted by: Selecta on February 11, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

He pointed out cave drawings of a creature resembling a brachiosaur to make the case that man lived alongside dinosaurs after God created all the land animals on Day 6.

Cripes, I hope future archeologists who are this dim never find any of our comic books.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 11, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

On a more serious note, when you turn education (or anything else) over to an all-powerful central authority, you can't always rely on that authority being a rational one.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 11, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

I actually had four sons: Shem, Ham, Japheth, and Trevor. The thing is, by the time I got around to building the ark, the Tyrannosauruses weren't vegetarian anymore, what with Eve already having eaten the apple and all.

Aaanyway, long story short, that's why you don't hear much about Trevor.

Posted by: Noah on February 11, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

fossilized hat? how bout a fossilized brain?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on February 11, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Noah,

Wow. That's a bitch about Trevor. By the way, why are there two different stories in Genesis about what you took in your ark during the flood?

Give us the scoop on what really happened.

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: On a more serious note, when you turn education (or anything else) over to an all-powerful central authority, you can't always rely on that authority being a rational one.

Whereas if you abolished the U.S. Department of Education and left education entirely up to the locals, or better yet got rid of state-sponsored education of any sort and left it up to the parents, our children would be surrounded by nothing but enlightenment and reasoned discourse.

This is one of your dumbest posts ever, Tom. I had a good chortle at first thinking it was one of your parodists.

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

The government of the United States and the several states is entirely in the hands of people who:

- agree with Ken Ham,
- will say that they agree with Ken Ham, or
- who will not say that Ken Ham is out of his mind.

Think about that for a couple hours.

Posted by: James E. Powell on February 11, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Got kids who want to learn something about evolution? Try Jay Hosler's "Sandwalk Adventures," a rather odd, but educational comic about Darwin, and his explanations for how evolution works.

Larry Gonick's first volume of "The Cartoon History of the Universe" is also pretty good. In fact, the entire series is highly recommended.

And for Ham and the rest? Pssst...whales got leg bones!

Posted by: tbrosz on February 11, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Whereas if you abolished the U.S. Department of Education and left education entirely up to the locals, or better yet got rid of state-sponsored education of any sort and left it up to the parents, our children would be surrounded by nothing but enlightenment and reasoned discourse.

No. Choice does not mean perfection. What it means, as with any other system where you get lots of options, is that local screwups won't become universal screwups. With highly-centralized education, when somebody decides New Math or "non-evolutionary" science is a great idea, everybody suffers.

We put men on the Moon without a national Department of Education, and frankly, I don't think it was ever necessary to create that particular entity.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 11, 2006 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Ham's stuff would make a good movie, though. I'd give a lot to see Noah trying to gather up baby Tyrannosaurs out from under their parents. This is probably when track shoes were invented.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 11, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

So who says God finished his work about 6000 years ago? These people (or are they poodles?) don't even know what they're arguing about. Good thing they're in charge of everything.

Posted by: Kenji on February 11, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. That's a bitch about Trevor. By the way, why are there two different stories in Genesis about what you took in your ark during the flood?

Give us the scoop on what really happened.

In the fog of war, er I mean water, you can get conflicting stories. Such as, are the levees certified for 40 days and nights of rain, or 35? So of course, you might end up with more than one story.

Posted by: Noah on February 11, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

We must really rethink our immigration policy - When a Ham slips in under the radar from Queensland, Australia, to be closer to TBrosz in California, it might be time to raise the drawbridge - At least Ham's public school children are no longer subjected to his teachings, but he can infect the children of the world through his "ministry" and dvds.

Floopmeister, will you please take him back? He will be in Tasmania on the 15th of February for a seminar. Could you sic a few Tasmanian devils on him?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 11, 2006 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Consciousness and intelligence are not synonymous.
The problem is the extent to which spirituality has come to be dominated by monotheism. One is not the absolute. A universal state of oneness isn't a set of one.
A spiritual absolute would be the essence of consciousness we rise out of and fall back into, not a focal point from which we fell and seek to return. Intelligence is a process of distinction and judgment. Information is infinite and irreducible.
From this bottom up perspective, good and bad are not a duel between the forces of lght and darkness, they are binary code for biological calculation.
This is why stupidity is the norm and people are only as far as they are along the evolutionary curve.

Posted by: brodix on February 11, 2006 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh. That guy gives new meaning to the Biblical "curse of Ham."

Posted by: Otto Man on February 11, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

I saw that fossilized hat on TV once, on one of those creationist shows. I think it's would make a great symbol for the creationist cause.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

If you do not agree with Ken Ham, then Satan is in your buttocks. Satan is in your buttocks, you children-eating atheists.

Posted by: Dr. Sniff on February 11, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

In the fog of war, er I mean water, you can get conflicting stories. Such as, are the levees certified for 40 days and nights of rain, or 35? So of course, you might end up with more than one story.
Posted by: Noah on February 11, 2006 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ah....Heckuvajob Brownie was there too.....I see....no wonder there is more than one story.....that is making sense now!!

So tell me this....if all that was left of humanity was you, your wife, three sons and their wives...wouldn't that make your future descendants basically sisters and brothers marrying each other, and your grandchildren would have been cousins marrying cousins? Why would a thinking god set us up for a gene pool crisis like that?


I hear banjos in the background.....

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Heck, I'm surrounded by Ham's. In my neck of the woods, churches advertise their anti-evolution/anti-humanist summer camps on their street panels and billboards with words that are most definitely "in your face" all your un-godly liberal swine. My TV is swarming with preachers that, if you really listen to them, sound almost, well, evil.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 11, 2006 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

What's Ham's position on endangered red-legged frogs?

Anyway, Ham doesn't have a monopoly on manipulating 8 year olds. I just got my nephews to shovel the snow out of our driveway to prepare for the alien landing tonight.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 11, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just Ham--if he weren't here, some other ignorant Gantryesque fraud would be up there spouting the same thing.

It's the parents. I nearly wept for those kids.

Posted by: PZ Myers on February 11, 2006 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Fossil fuel.

Define.

Is oil only 6,000 years old?

All those who believe in the evolving creationist intelligent design crap need to STOP using fossil fuels.

Afterall, didn't the devil place fossils all over the earth? Therefore, using oil must be a sin. So think biofuel all you creationiks.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 11, 2006 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz fossilized brain is proof that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has a sense of humor.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on February 11, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Actually Ken Ham himself is not the problem. It's
the fact that people like Ken Ham are being taken seriously, or at least being used by others as tools in service of the latter's agenda.

Posted by: lib on February 11, 2006 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

And to think...

Only one bull on the Ark gave rise to all the world's bullshit!

Posted by: koreyel on February 11, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz and shortstop: yep, you are wrestling with the ever-present dilemma of government solutions. Some things you just know you are likely to accomplish without government, even central government involvement. On the other hand, that centralization can easily be over done and conducive to abuse.

Take the position of secretary of state (at the state level). This was an innocuous office in all the state across the country for decades. They would provide technical assistance to any precinct, any locality that needed help or asked for it. Local precincts would constantly get their votes in late for one reason or another (and still do), but no big deal, help was available and the job would get done. Then suddenly, a Katherine Harris comes along and abuses the hell out of the position and actually calls an election.

Same with the national Department of Education. It trucks along mainly providing assistance until a heavy-handed President gets carried away with mandatory standards without providing much help or money. Things go to hell.

So, I identify with both the broz and the SStop. Damned if you do, damned if you dont.

Of course, I have to note that although we put a man on the moon without the DOE we certainly didnt do it without NASA and federal money.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 11, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

I know some conservatives who claim that they'd have voted for Kerry except for his support for the Department of Education.

It's like saying that I'd have voted for Bush except for his funny eyebrows.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 11, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

Christian apologists have answers for everything.

It's easy - anyone can do it. Whenever someone asks a question you don't know the answer to, simply reply, "God".

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 11, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Noah?

How long can you tread water?

;)

Posted by: Thlayli on February 11, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

How DARE you laugh at someone's religious beliefs!

I'm going outside to riot now.

Don't anyone touch my cheeseburger in the fridge. I'm saving it for when I get back!

Posted by: a fundie's fundamentalist on February 11, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

It seems as if Ham has overlooked the parts of the Bible that are inconvenient to him. He might do well to read II Peter 3.8:

"Be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day"

This pretty much seems to tell the fundies they are not to decide the biblical meaning of time.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 11, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

jim:

Assuming the Department of Education worked like a charm until suddenly Bush was elected doesn't stand up very well. A commentary from May, 2000.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 11, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Wow.

Sometimes I wonder if people like Ken Ham are really fucking insane, or just really fucking stupid.

Sometimes it's hard to decide.

Posted by: The Dude on February 11, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

"It seems as if Ham has overlooked the parts of the Bible that are inconvenient to him. He might do well to read II Peter 3.8:"

Forget about that - there's that little part about bearing false witness . . .

tbrosz - I'm am amazed to read a Cato Institute piece complaining about the DOE, suggesting that "Congress should simply end federal involvement in education and return the department's budget to the American people in the form of a tax cut." The world's turned upside down! I mean, with a budget that totals about 6% of total education spending (as Olson admits) it hasn't been able to "solve the problem of American schools" in two decades. Oh . . .my . . god!!

The piece criticizes Title I program funding for being"unable to narrow, let alone close, the achievement gap. Unless one's worked in a poor school, I don't think you can really get this one. It stops things from being that much worse. (Of course, it also represents in a pitifully inadequate way, federal equalization of school funding, which is a bad, evil no-no, since it is good and right that suburban McMansion scions have lavished upon them a top-dollar public school education experience, while their poorer counterparts (in age, not worthiness, of course; sometimes urban and darker-skinned, but not exclusively) be given so much less. It's an interesting inverse twist of "To each according to his need" - . . . the more you need, the less you get.

Anyway, let me stop ranting - the point is that the problem before, at worst, was inadequacy (finanical or otherwise). It was Bush who gave the DOE sharp teeth, big muscles, and a small, angry brain. But to top off the silliness, NCLB, while a federal program, relies on state standards and testing, creating a huge incentive for states to dumb down their requirements, penalizing those that aim high, and opening up room for some to wander off into lala land.

Ham . . . oh, what can you say? Oddly enough, one never sees fanatical evolutionists showing kids faked pictures, etc. in order to show them that God doesn't exist. (disclaimer; the existence or nonexistence of God/s doesn't actually have anything to do with evolution, blah, etc.) You don't even see fanatical atheists doing that.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 11, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

How did Noah fit dinosaurs on the ark? He took babies.

fucking hilarious. what a maroon.

Posted by: craigie on February 11, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

Choice does not mean perfection. What it means, as with any other system where you get lots of options, is that local screwups won't become universal screwups. With highly-centralized education, when somebody decides New Math or "non-evolutionary" science is a great idea, everybody suffers.

So we shouldn't have anyone decide anything just in case they decide it badly?

"Choice" as a religious icon is great in many - possibly most - situations. Because I really don't care what you have for breakfast, and what you eat can't possily affect me, let's have as much choice in breakfast foods as possible.

But giving everyone the "choice" as to when to cross an intersection with their car, to choose one example, is not such a good idea. Sometimes, you need standards. People can argue and hammer out what those standards should be - I think that's called politics - but ya gotta have 'em.

Posted by: craigie on February 11, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Nothing is really certain, isn't it? I mean, someone else is probably going to read this, right? Alternatively, there could be no one else and you're all illusions.

Or, God did take just seven days to create the world. And, he created rocks that looked like they were billions of years old even though they're only 5000 years old in actual fact. A being with the power to create a world in seven days could certainly create rocks that have the characteristics of million-year-old rocks, right? Perhaps that was by design, in order to separate those who believe in God from those who believe what they think to be accurate.

-- PostYourTips

Posted by: TLB on February 11, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes I wonder if people like Ken Ham are really fucking insane, or just really fucking stupid."

Arguably they're afraid. Very, very afraid. I mean, if Genesis isn't a science/history textbook that is literally true in all its particulars, than . . well, actually, I don't get the part that comes next, but it's bad. Very, very bad. So bad that creationists must lie, fake their credentials, prostitute any last shred of intellectual integrity and critical thought, and etc.

tbrosz: "On a more serious note, when you turn education (or anything else) over to an all-powerful central authority, you can't always rely on that authority being a rational one."
Granted, that's true.. Of course, the DOE wasn't (and still isn't, really) an all-powerful central authority. I'm sure you'd agree that there are areas of life where some federal involvement is sensible, despite drawbacks. Some degree of centralization isn't necessarily horrible, especially when counterbalanced with some degree of localism. One problem with U.S. ed. is that things that shouldn't be localized are (education funding, at least to the current extent, standards given the current system), while NCLB ignores real local variation.

More pertinantly:
On a more serious note, when you turn the country over to an all-powerful central authority, you can't always rely on that authority being a rational one.

Agreed?

But anyway, that comment you wrote about creationism some time back was very well said. Thanks.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 11, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Sometimes I wonder if people like Ken Ham are really fucking insane, or just really fucking stupid."


I actually think that creationists take the monkey ancestor concept a little too personally.

Posted by: jerry on February 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps that was by design, in order to separate those who believe in God from those who believe what they think to be accurate."
Biologist/evangelical Christian Ken Miller has argued that God used evolution and chance so he didn't leave any definite clues - for if the existence of God was a scientific fact, then belief wouldn't be a freely given act of faith, but a sort of dully-compelled necessity:

If a string of constant miracles were needed for each turn of the cell cycle or each flicker of a cilium, the hand of God would be written directly into every living thing - his presence at the edge of the human sandbox would be unmistakable. Such findings might confirm our faith, but they would also undermine our independence. How could we fairly choose between God and man when the presence and the power of the divine so obviously and so literally controlled our every breath?
and indeed, that evolution is the cornerstone of a truly free(-willed) and meaingful creation: see here. Also a very good bit about how, by insisting that inexplicable nature proves God, creationists (and creationist varieties of religion turn science into a threat to religionm shrinking from the light that science sheds our world to seek God in darkness - which describe's Ham's nonsense quite well, to me.

Miller doesn't make this as a scientific claim, of course, but a theological one.

"Sometimes, you need standards. People can argue and hammer out what those standards should be - I think that's called politics - but ya gotta have 'em."

And this isn't a digital yes/no thing - you can have a very broad, overall set of national standards (in the general or specific use of that term) that gains in specificity, is filled in, so to speak, more and more as we turn the local dial up.

Think of it as a business*: do you want a) a rigidly controlled cookie-cutter empire, where on-site expertise and innovation is unneeded and even undesired, allowing employees to be both low-skilled and low paid (McSchool), b) a flexible business model, combining local innovation and independence with a core set of principles and methods, or c) a free-for-all where you increasingly toss cash at all sorts of operations with limited accountability?

* The difference being that a) kids aren't widgets, and b) nobody's ever figured out a responsible way to make education profitable.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

Is Ken Ham insane or stupid ?
I don't know the man.
The conditions, however, need not be mutually exclusive.
Tbrosz' post didn't make me think of Education first and foremost. Centralized authority ? Isn't that the Oval Office these days ? There really should be limits to stupidity.

Posted by: opit on February 12, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

No wonder I get the heebie jeebies when little_grape starts singing the songs she hears at her grandma's church...they're fucking programming children, for christ's sake...

Posted by: grape_crush on February 12, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK
"We are not just an animal," Ham said. He had the children repeat that, their small voices rising in unison: "We are not just an animal. We are made in the image of God."

Cap- and cornerstone. In this view, if you accept one of the major findings of modern science, we're all just animals.* That's why there's always this fuss about 'coming from monkeys,' or 'my ancestor wasn't an ape.' If we're just animals,' then we're doomed to go from rutting beasts to rotting flesh.

How these folks decide that evolution means we're just Godless animals - and what's so bad about being an animal, especially given that we self-evidentially outshine our relatives both in the depths of our depravity and the heights of our humanity - I dunno. I just dunno.


* It's often said, but still true - strange that the kind of behavior people talk about when they're ranting about "animals" never seems to have anything to do with real animals at all, but instead is the kind of thing you'll find people doing.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

"We put men on the Moon without a national Department of Education, and frankly, I don't think it was ever necessary to create that particular entity."

Federal cabinet departments are umbrella agencies coordinating and controlling the actions of the front-line agencies below them, where the actual program work gets done. The Department of Education was simply split off from the old Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), inhering various agencies and associated programs from HEW. Similarly, the Department of Energy was split off from the Department of the Interior, with substantial components tranferred over from the Department of Defense.

This kind of rearranging does not inherently create more governmental programs and has little direct impact on spending with only a small amount spent on the actual department HQ. However, Congress can certainly add or subtract and expand or reduce the programs under any given department, and some might argue that the mere existence of a department creates a political incentive to give it more programs, money, and power over time.

Calls by some to abolish both of the DOEs are incoherent unless they address what will happen to the agencies under these departments. Will these program-level agencies be abolished or merely dumped into some other department? That's been the shoal upon which abolition of the Department of Energy has repeartedly wrecked, in that the major portion of its programs consist of managing federal nuclear facilities such as Hanford that simply can't be abandoned and which won't cost less if merely transferred to another department.

In contrast, in the case of the Department of Education the goal of some seems to be to reduce or eliminate the underlying programs.

Posted by: Bill D. on February 12, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the idea that we were made in the image of god explains why aliens in science fiction films are almost invariably anthropomorphic.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 12, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, the idea that we were made in the image of god explains why aliens in science fiction films are almost invariably anthropomorphic.

Actually, it's because up until the age of inexpensive computer animation, it was because people in suits and makeup were cheaper.

Reading down some comments on No Child Left Behind: Can anybody tell me how Ted Kennedy managed to completely wipe his fingerprints off this one? Wonder how many people know he also helped invent the HMO.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 12, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, it's because up until the age of inexpensive computer animation, it was because people in suits and makeup were cheaper.

Now you're in my neighborhood Tom, and this statement won't parse. People in suits and makeup are still cheaper. But the computer animation is so, so much more convincing. That's why people spend boatloads of money doing it.

Compare budgets and then results on King Kong (1976) and King Kong (2005). One really is a guy in a suit. The other is real.

Posted by: craigie on February 12, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

I shouldn't have said films. Aliens are generally anthropomorphic in books, too. It's probably part a lack of imagination and part a narrative imperative. It's hard to relate to some of Stanislaw Lem's more alien aliens, for example.

But even if we accept panspermia, must we imagine Jesus popping in on every planet, like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve? (He didn't stick around after resurrection because he had another engagement.)

Posted by: bad Jim on February 12, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

I've actually met Ken Ham. When I attended Bob Jones University, he spoke in chapel and then visited the "Philosophy of Science" class I was taking at the time. Quotes around that because a decent philosophy of science is certainly not what you got in taking that class. Ham and I also have something in common - we're both from Australia. I don't remember exactly what he spoke about (tho, of course, it would've been about Creationism) or how much I agreed with, as I was already headed to the edge of the fold and would not much later make a break for it. I do remember very specifically in that class, however, that the teacher (name of Joe Henson) mentioned that he thought the Holocaust greatly exaggerated. I must say that BJU would nothave agreed with him on that; however, he is Chairman Emeritus of the school's Division of Natural Science and is described as "a long-time leader of the creation apologetics movement."

You'll find his answer to the argument that Biblical creationism is but one of many such stories of human origins utterly unenlightening. And if you care to read more, you'll find more there.

tbrosz, your proposed balkanization of education would be a disaster. For one thing, the state of South Carolina would probably demand that creationism (or at least ID - maybe both) be taught in public schools. And if the States left it alone, it'd be just as bad really. You'd have pockets of even greater igorance than you have now, as counties all over the country declared that they weren't going to teach evolution at all. Let the individual school decide you say? Well, that's why we have private schools, isn't it?

As a kid raised in fundamentalist circles, and as a student of BJU, I would like never have been even exposed to detailed and accurate descriptions of evolution if I hadn't sought them out on my own.

Do you think the average person is likely to suffer from the same compulsion I did?

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

With highly-centralized education, when somebody decides New Math or "non-evolutionary" science is a great idea, everybody suffers.

But thankfully, that's *not* what happened recently is it? Judge Jones up in PA - a Republican judge anointed by W - not only ruled against teaching ID in schools there, but ruled explicitly against it and in great and eloquent detail, such that his ruling is bound to be used as an exceptional precedent moving forward.

I'm not sure there's a thought leader in the history of education who would agree with what you're proposing. A liberterian, an objectivist, a religious fundamentalist maybe, but not any decent educator.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz and shortstop: yep, you are wrestling with the ever-present dilemma of government solutions. Some things you just know you are likely to accomplish without government, even central government involvement. On the other hand, that centralization can easily be over done and conducive to abuse.

I don't think there's a dilemma at all. I think centralized education is the only way to do it. The fact that it can be abused doesn't discount that. Just learn how to keep the witch doctors and snake charmers out. It's like the old saying about democracy not being perfect but it's the best system we've got.

It's not even worth considering the pros and cons of centralized vs decentralized (in the sense described) - the latter would be an unmitigated disaster.

This is like comparing democracy versus anarchy as if the latter might be a strong second (or in tbrosz's case, first).

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

And, he created rocks that looked like they were billions of years old even though they're only 5000 years old in actual fact.

So God created the earth deceptively? You mean, he's a liar? Interesting theory.

About as weighty as the idea that we were all created 30 seconds ago with memories of things we actually never experienced, but interesting nonetheless.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 3:25 AM | PERMALINK

But even if we accept panspermia, must we imagine Jesus popping in on every planet, like Santa Claus on Christmas Eve? (He didn't stick around after resurrection because he had another engagement.)

This is one reason many fundamentalist Christians do not believe in aliens and life on other planets. Also, because the Bible doesn't mention them. For them, if life is discovered on other planets, they will have to alter their world - no, their universal view. In fact, the discovery of life on other planets has the *potential* to create fissures in many areas of fundamentalist thought.

Big Bang theory should have already done that really, but it's another area of science fundamentalists can still get away with describing as "just a theory." Such folks protest that how could anyone know with such precision that the universe is 13.7 billions years old, but then do nothing to investigate how science has actually determined this through physical measurement.

How anyone could actually study the following and still come away believing in a literal six-day creation some 10,000 years ago is beyond me: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_uni.html

I wonder what Ham would say in return. I certainly hope he wouldn't reach for the intellectually disingenuous "appearance of age" argument.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

It's hard to argue that America's schools are doing a good job. Our students consistently test worse in math and science than those of most of our trading partners. I'm inclined to believe that the greater prevalence of religious belief in America than in those other countries is related, both as cause and effect.

We probably just aren't spending enough money on our schools. Having a national curriculum might well be an improvement, but by itself it wouldn't do much. Teaching needs to be a highly paid and highly respected profession, and it isn't now.

Recently there was a thread over at Pharyngula collecting comments about experiences in high school biology courses. Most were described as dreadful, the material as "stamp collecting." Few teachers actually knew the subject matter.

I think that if we continue to delude ourselves that government is the problem and taxes are unjust, the education provided our young will continue to deteriorate, and we will produce a populace increasingly ignorant and devout.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 12, 2006 at 3:52 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody even thought the Big Bang was theologically controversial. It's been implied that Hoyle, Bondi and Gold introduced the steady state hypothesis because they thought the Big Bang implied a creator (although I don't remember hearing that at the time).

At least one wingnut has objected to the Uncertainty Principle as the source of moral relativism. I actually think it might be entertaining to watch thinkers of that ilk try to deal with the whole of quantum theory. Actually, god might just be what we need to explain the role of the observer.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 12, 2006 at 3:58 AM | PERMALINK

bad Jim - that being true, there are still stacks of fundamentalists and evangelicals - millions of them - in the US who believe in a literal six-day creation and for them the universe began round about day one. And for all of them, the Big Bang is highly controversial. You pretty much have to be a more liberal theologian for it not to be. Trust me, I grew up within such fundamentalist circles.

To me, the Big Bang doesn't have to preclude the existence of God - sure - but it does make a literal reading of the Bible impossible. And there's a helluva lotta people in the US still hanging on to that literal word-for-word inspiration. That's why I say that a proper understanding of Big Bang theory should send *should* send shock waves through the American religious community. The truth is, however, that all these folks remain in the dark and they respond with the sort of "just a theory" sentiment without actually even studying the evidence.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 4:17 AM | PERMALINK

51% - approx 153 million Americans believe God created us in our present form

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/22/opinion/polls/main965223.shtml

this poll's worse, saying that 61% of Americans believe that the creation story in Genesis is *literally true* - about 180 million Americans

with our iPods and Tivo and Hybrid cars and wireless internet, we get to thinking we live in a highly advanced society - yet that large a portion of our population still believes in something that should be the modern-day equivalent of spontaneous generation.

There are good reasons why that's true - religion has very deep roots and the idea that the Bible might not be literally true is quite frightening I think to many people, but it sure makes for an odd society we find ourselves living within.

55% of Americans believe every single word of the Bible to be literally true - 165 million of us

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6650997/site/newsweek/

OK, Ill stop!

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK

The Big Bang seems like such an obvious creation event that I'd expect them to sieze on it. I guess the 15 billion year time scale could be an issue, even though Ussher's 6000-year time scale seems ultimately to reduce to a combination of a literal reading of Paul's remark that a thousand years is but a day to God and a scheme relating human history to God's first work week.

As someone whose first scientific love was astronomy, I'm annoyed that the fundamentalists are waffling on what ought to be bedrock issues of faith like geocentrism and a flat earth (not that there aren't still some stories like that still circulating).

Posted by: bad Jim on February 12, 2006 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

Clarke's observation that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic is sounding scarier every day.

In The Time Machine, H.G. Wells got some details of contemporary America right, the narcissism, ignorance of how things work and lack of any care for the future. The Eloi, however, he described as thin, whereas my countrymen are noticeably thick. So much better for the Morlocks.

Posted by: bad Jim on February 12, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: notebook on February 12, 2006 at 5:36 AM | PERMALINK

You'd have to be an idiot to believe this crap. I think the problem is that it reflects how badly science is taught in American schools in the early years. If you taught kids to be skeptical and ASK questions of "easy" answers a lot fewer of them would be prepared to accept them.

Posted by: Marc Draco on February 12, 2006 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

My first question to creationists is, "Which creation story do you prefer, the one in Chapter One of the Book of Genesis, or the one in Chapter Two? They contradict one another, so which is it? I usually get a slack-jawed response.

Anyone who understands Biblical authorship, knows the Creation stories were never meant to be literal history. The one in Chapter One is generally attributed to the "P" strand, reflecting the priestly tradition. It was meant to be recited or chanted as verse, much like a song. It isn't, and wasn't meant to be, a road map for how God created the universe. Further, who would have been there to witness it?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 12, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

Further, who would have been there to witness it?

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 12, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

He was. Duh!

Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

Enjoy the foot of snow in the North East. Then keep telling people about global warming.

And you guys are saying creationist science is bad?

The central assumption of an omnipotent god is that he made an explosion that looks suspicously like the big bang.. and you believe that god would be suspicously be unable to fiddle with carbon decay. Please.

Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/evolution/dn7539

If you guys are so smart. Explain to me how punctuated evolution is consistent with mutation and natural selection being the only causes of origin of the species?

What if God intervened whenever a burst of evolution necessary to create a new species came about?

Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

"Enjoy the foot of snow in the North East. Then keep telling people about global warming."

Oh, come on. You really don't get this? How climate change - anthropogenic or 'natural' - isn't a matter of turning up or down some big thermostat in the sky, but involves a planet-wide insanely complex system?

Ah, never mind.

"you believe that god would be suspicously be unable to fiddle with carbon decay. "
Well, sure, any omnipotent god worth his, um, godness could. The point is that modern science functions by making the working assumption that God isn't placing his thumb on the scales. Otherwise it's useless.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

You people should all calm down.

First of all, nothing even vaguely religious is allowed to be uttered in anything closely resembling a public school any more. Although they do make 10 year-olds draw posters with pro-choice themes and talk about condoms.

Before you jump to tear me a new one, I am pro-choice, and not overwhelmingly religious.

I just think children deserve to have some of their innocence, and I'll take a parochial school over the cesspools public schools have become any day.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

McA:

Explain bacteria that become resistant to anti-biotics. Aren't they evolving?

If the earth is only 6,000 years old, how old are stars? How far away are they?

If you say..oh 5 million light years, then how could people 6,000 years ago be talking about seeing stars?

Or did God put the red-shift on all heavenly bodies?

Believing that the earth is only 6,000 years old actually diminishes the wonder of it all.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 12, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

craigie: Compare budgets and then results on King Kong (1976) and King Kong (2005). One really is a guy in a suit...

I can't believe you went and ruined that for me!

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Enjoy the foot of snow in the North East. Then keep telling people about global warming.

Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 9:01 AM | PRMALINK

McA:
Last time
you tried to "discuss" global warming you didn't come out so well. Why don't you give it a break or actually read some of the science and then discuss it.

Regards,
Y.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on February 12, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

"If you guys are so smart. Explain to me how punctuated evolution is consistent with mutation and natural selection being the only causes of origin of the species?"

No conflict. 1. science doesn't say they're the only causes; there are other accepted and proposed mechanims, although natural selection is almost certainly the star,
2. How is "running" consisting with "moving my legs" as the only way of getting around on foot? In other words, huh? Punk eek just says that instead of constant slow steady change, most of the time a species is more or less the same (the equilibrium bit), with evolutionary change happening in relatively quick bursts (the punctuated bit), probably involving little groups out on the fringes of the organism's range and gene pool, where things are odd anyway due to genetic drift/founder effects , and marginal conditions select for weird stuff that might end up coming in handy - ie, when an ice age shows up, suddenly those freaky whatevers up in the mountains with all the fur and large size and etc. are everywhere (either through competition, taking over where the heat-loving whatevers die or run off, or breeding and having their genes selected for . . .)
Wikipedia on punctuated equilibrium and natural selection. If you're interested in the ~15 decades of evolutionary biology vs. a literal reading of Genesis and the tarted up, PR-laden lowest-common-denominator-creationism -that-trills-"Oh, we didn't say it was God, and we're really really realy scientists so you have to teach the controversy!"-ID-silliness controversy - well, start at the Talk.Origins archive.

It turns out, after a bit of excitement and even a little namecalling, that people seem to generally agree that while evolutionary change does sometimes seem to happen in quick bursts, we're talking quick in a geological sense - with those quick bursts really involving relatively slow, gradual change over tens or hundreds of thousands of years and many, many generations, not "dogs giving birth to kittens" (The problem is we think in Human instead of Rock).

"What if God intervened whenever a burst of evolution necessary to create a new species came about?"
Ok. Sure. Could be. How would science test this? Walk into the lab, shout "I don't believe God intervened whenever a burst of evolution necessary to create a new species came about?" and see whether or not lightning hits you? Maybe God really is directing the lightning, or causing plagues 'cause he's pissed, and etc. - but that's not part of science anymore, because it turned out that having religion do the "why" and letting science take care of the "how" (in the instrumental sense) does a much better job of reducing infant mortality, getting us to the moon, curing diseases, etc. The problem with creationists is that to one degree or another, they're convinced that unless you stick with an specific version of "how" present in middle eastern cultures several thousand years ago and now read wildly out of context, you have to dump the "why". (The ID version just dumps all the supporting detail as a way to adopt to a specific cultural and legal environment).

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Such is the human race, often it seems a pity that Noah... didn't miss the boat. Sam L. Clemens

The Great Flood narratives which appear so often are believed by some cultural anthropologists to stem from real events: the cataclysmic (sp?) floods when generally rising sea levels during one the interglacial periods caused the Atlantic to pour over the narrow isthmus connecting Europe and Africa which existed at what is now the Pillars of Hercules into what is now the Mediterrean Sea.

As for 'crazy or stupid?" Not mutually exclusive. I go for both.

(I love that the Krewes de Vieux threw tiny little sandbags during their parade(s) - but I'm bemused by LATimes references to 'floats'. These guys parade through da Qua'ter and they don't have those hge motorized floats.)


Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

you believe that god would be suspicously be unable to fiddle with carbon decay. Please.

So, God fiddled with carbon decay to make the earth look older than it is? So, he's used deceit in creating the universe in order to make us have faith? So, essentially, his desire for us to have faith in him prompted him to create a great universal lie for us to observe and analyze? Interesting. Doesn't make for a terribly admirable God figure, but interesting.

Interesting also that McA goes from talking about the Big Bang in one sentence to carbon decay in the next.

The increasingly tight case for Big Bang theory is built upon the measurement of cosmic microwave background radiation. I encourage you to read about it.

I just think children deserve to have some of their innocence, and I'll take a parochial school over the cesspools public schools have become any day.

If their innocence entails that they continue to be taught fairy tales, then I have to emphatically disagree. But thankfully we live in a country where you have the freedom to send your kids wherever you want. I do hope we'll focus on improving our public schools though, rather than throwing our school system to the market and allowing school curricula to be determined by its popularity rather than its accuracy.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"adopt" = "adapt"
sorry about the runaway italics, don't know where they came from. Goddidit, I guess.

"Compare budgets and then results on King Kong (1976) and King Kong (2005). One really is a guy in a suit..."
Now imagine if I refused to believe this and said that unless it was really a gorilla, then the whole movie is worthless. It's not about wilderness vs. civilization, beauty and the beast, etc., etc.. It's all about whether or not it's a real gorilla! I cook up weird theories to prove it's a real giant gorilla, and that zipper is just a big hoax - or maybe we're not saying it's a giant gorilla, it could be a giant chimp or a giant gibbon, we've gots nothing to do with gorillas at all! You see, first I insist that you ban all discussion of gorilla suits in film class. Then , after that doesn't work, I insist that you give equal film-class time to pseudo-scientific silliness proving it's a real gorilla. Then,right after they say that one can't talk about how it's really a real gorilla in film class, just coincidentally I sometimes start insisting that filming Kong with a guy in a gorilla suit is so complex it couldn't have happened (he'd have to be, like, 100 feet high!!), so while I'm not saying it was a giant gorilla, a Super Simian just had to be involved, and it's only right that you teach the controversy!! Meanwhile, while I'm teaching little film students to shout at their teachers "How do you know it was a guy in a gorilla suit?? WERE YOU THERE?!," real working filmmakers are doing awesome and exiting stuff with CGI and etc., and telling old stories in cool new ways . . .*

* In this convoluted and rather odd analogy,you can have literal gorillaism saying that it being just a guy in a gorilla suit means that a) there aren't any such things as giant gorillas and b) that there's no cimenatic magic in the world and moviemaking is dead!, while the real film guys are going look, we never said whether or not there are such things as giant gorillas, that's really not our job, we're filmmakers, not cryptozoologists, we were just saying that it's really, really obvious that it was a guy in a gorilla suit, and can we get back to figuring out to do cool special effects now?**

** I think I need some more sleep . . .

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK


** I think I need some more sleep . . ."
since then I could get the close-italics tag right!
>smacks head

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

** I think I need some more sleep . . ."
since then I could get the close-italics tag right!

smacks head

I wondered what was up with that gigantic block of italics?

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan79 spends too much time in front of the television if he thinks schools are cesspools. Why, the Times reported just yesterday that out in the country schools can't put on watered-down versions of "Grease" or any version at all of "The Crucible" because local bigots censor them. Don't kid yourself that kids are learning what they need to know about sex in those schools.

sportsfan79, if you've got kids you better start disabusing them of their so-called "innocence" right away or they'll have the same lousy attitudes toward sex that you do. I urge you to talk to them about sex as much as you can so that they don't fear it's something to hide, don't sneak around to do it, and don't get prematurely pregnant (or worse, constract a deadly disease) as a result. Knowledge is power, and denying kids the knowledge they need is giving them an enourmous handicap in living successful adult lives.

Posted by: David in NY on February 12, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

I just think children deserve to have some of their innocence, and I'll take a parochial school over the cesspools public schools have become any day.
_______________________________

If their innocence entails that they continue to be taught fairy tales, then I have to emphatically disagree. But thankfully we live in a country where you have the freedom to send your kids wherever you want. I do hope we'll focus on improving our public schools though, rather than throwing our school system to the market and allowing school curricula to be determined by its popularity rather than its accuracy.


What you call "fairy tales", others call "faith". And you shouldn't be so frightened of it. It may suprise you that people of faith are some of the kindest and most caring out there. Don't judge them all by Pat Robertson.

Regarding the school comment, I completely believe in "throwing the school system to the market". But it's not so that "curricula [can] be determined by popularity". It's so that an unmotivated and bloated group of status quo administrators will be forced to work a little harder for actual improvement.

The free market system works.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

...when you turn [anything] over to an all-powerful central authority, you can't always rely on that authority being a rational one.

...And, he created rocks that looked like they were billions of years old even though they're only 5000 years old in actual fact.

...So God created the earth deceptively? You mean, he's a liar?
------------

God is NOT a liar - He's a comedian. You just can't take a joke!

Anyway, He invented lies as well -- they just need to be kept in context, you know, to tell the Good Liars from the Evil Liars.

Otherwise, would God have annointed King Dubya? But, Dubya's not a very Good liar... hmmmm. Wait, I almost forgot: God's a comedian!!

Guess I can't take a joke, either.

Posted by: sadderbudwiser on February 12, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

** I think I need some more sleep . . ."
since then I could get the close-italics tag right!
>smacks head
Posted by: Dan S.

Hey, Dan, don't fell bad, sugar, I don't have a clue about how to format here with 'tags'.

Anybody point me toward a quick tutorial of how this works?

Always willing to learn new skills.

>smacks head, wishes I had one of those tiny little sandbags...will trade some 80's era Bacchus doubloons for...

Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

"What you call "fairy tales", others call "faith". And you shouldn't be so frightened of it. It may suprise you that people of faith are some of the kindest and most caring out there."

What you call "faith" others call "superstition". It may surprise people of "faith" to learn that they don't have a monopoly on kind and caring behavior.

Posted by: cotton mather was a jerk on February 12, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

No prob' CFShep. The only problem is that I can't type out the actual formatting tags, or they will not appear in the post.

I'll type them one character at a time. To get italics, you type the character:

and then:
i

and then:
>

With no spaces between.

At the end of your italicized block, you type:

and then:
/

and then:
i

and then:
>

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

What you call "faith" others call "superstition". It may surprise people of "faith" to learn that they don't have a monopoly on kind and caring behavior.

I'm well aware of that, cotton. That's why I said "people of faith are SOME of the kindest and most caring out there"

I've also met some very kind agnostics and liberals.

Just not on this board.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Also, back to topic (for this thread), since the taxpaying public pays the bill for education, they should be able to decide where their children get to utilize those funds.

We need a school voucher system immediately.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Ham is a hack. Everyone knows Noah didn't take baby dinosaurs on the ark. Noah gave the dinosaurs Miracle Beans (which were given to Noah by God) in order to shrink them down to microscopic size.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on February 12, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oh come now, you silly people. I really have to pop in and say a few things here. First of all, get it through your slowly evolving brains that the Bible is not to be taken literally. I mean the various authors were at best giving it their best shot at explaining that which their level of science could not. And for Pete's sake, don't you think a bit has been lost in translation along the way?

Of course I didn't create the world in six days. It has been, and still is, a very long process. You have been taking extreme license with my works and using them in sometimes the most mean spirited ways. All of you -- followers of Islam, Christianity, Judiasm, the rest -- don't you get it? There is only one me, and your twisting things quite abusively.

Here's the deal. Scientific exploration and knowledge does not preclude my existence you silly twits. You have learned quite a bit in the last 6000 years, but there is so much you don't know. If you try to explain it all, either by simplification or believing that your science knows it all, your heads will explode. So go with it. Expand your horizons. Keep learning. Evolution is real, and includes evolution of spirit AND religion.

Oh yes, and as for the Heaven and Hell concept, important note here. You are already in it. You are creating them both, right here, right now. Don't forget that. You have a choice. Deal with it.

Posted by: God on February 12, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, that's of course you're, not your.

Yes, it's true. Even God makes mistakes. That's what makes me cool. I own my shit. How about you?

Posted by: God on February 12, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but mentioned above - Interesting to me that the Fulton, MO schoolboard will not allow "The Cruicible" to be staged.

When I saw the play in LA a few years back, Charlton Heston played the lead.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 12, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

OT, but mentioned above - Interesting to me that the Fulton, MO schoolboard will not allow "The Cruicible" to be staged.

Never saw "the crucible". Grease was good, though. I don't know why it wouldn't be allowed in a school (depending on the grade level).

When David in NY attacked me with that stuff above, he said I was getting my info about public school from "watching too much TV".

Not true. I'm getting it from my own firsthand experience.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, that's of course you're, not your.

Yes, it's true. Even God makes mistakes. That's what makes me cool. I own my shit. How about you?
Posted by: God

grin. laughing.

"There here!"

Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

What you call "fairy tales", others call "faith". And you shouldn't be so frightened of it. It may suprise you that people of faith are some of the kindest and most caring out there. Don't judge them all by Pat Robertson.

I grew up in fundamentalism, sportsfan, so I know hundreds, probably thousands of people of faith. How kind and caring they are isn't relevant. Neither is the kindness of the many muslims, buddhists, atheists and agnostics I know. And this isn't a question of whether or not people have a right to practice their faith. Of course, they do. But they do not have the right to demand that fairy tales or matters of faith be taught in the science classroom. Teach them in a religion class or at church fine. You're adept at conflating these issues, but it's quite simple to separate them.

The free market system works.

When you refer to the "free market" are you referring to the market in the US with its thouands of attendant regulations or a totally free market like that of, say, Iraq, the day after the fall of Saddam?

I would guess that a great way to create cultural and intellectual poverty zones in the United States would be to decentralize the education system in the manner some have described in this thread. IF you want to create a stronger America with greater intellectual capital, telling US schools they can teach whatever they want is not the way to go about it.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

One of the funnier things I've seen was a lecture of how dinosaur poop was aged by 6000 year old star light or star dust which made the poop appear much much older than it really was. And this was somehow a test of a man's faith. To be able to deny the (faked by god) 'evidence' and be a witness to god's really really confusing creation.

Posted by: bcinaz on February 12, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

bcinaz,I remember getting a ride home from Christian school when I was a kid and my friends mom waqs talkng about how dinosaurs never existed and that they were just hoaxs by evil evolutionists. I kid you not. Guess I was already a junior skeptic because I told her that they had actually found dinosaur skeletons and did she really believe those were faked? I remember she didn't have anything to say in response.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Robert S. you're falling into a common delusion around here, namely that logic, persuasion,facts or referncce to any of these make any sort of immpression on tbroz and his sock puppets.

But good effort, guy.

"Please don'ta squeeza da banana'

Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

LOL. I know, Shep, I know. But I'm interested in tis stuff and few people I know are interested in talking about it.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Ham:

I'm really scared and confused about where we came from and where we're going in this life.
(Join the crowd; this is a common human trait.)

I found one book that explains everything, and since it gives me reassurance to know I'm always right, I'm going to take this book literally, even though I wouldn't do that with any other book. ( Well, maybe this book is like many others: some good philosophy, some bad philosophy and maybe some philosophy that worked well for the time and place where it was set, but doesn't translate very well outside )

I can't go back to not knowing, I'm too insecure.
(Lighten up - I find insecurity kind of thrilling)

Posted by: DK2 on February 12, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that modern science functions by making the working assumption that God isn't placing his thumb on the scales. Otherwise it's useless.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 12, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Why? If God doesn't place his thumb in their very often - its still good to go.

Works fine in medicine and engineering.

-"Barring a miracle you have 6 months to live"
-"Assuming you don't see a situation where the building gets four times the anticipated stresses, it won't fall down".

And if a tiny causes affects a major change unexpectantly you can always call it a "chaos math effect" or a "one in a million chance".

---------------------

So, God fiddled with carbon decay to make the earth look older than it is? So, he's used deceit in creating the universe in order to make us have faith?
..........
If their innocence entails that they continue to be taught fairy tales, then I have to emphatically disagree.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 12, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

If god wanted belief without faith. Christ would come more than once so everyone got an eyewitness piece of evidence. If he wanted belief without free will he wouldn't have left the 'fruit of knowledge' in the Garden of Eden.

Why is he obliged to leave evidence of how he made the Earth to leave you no room for denial?
Perhaps redemption is on his terms, not yours.

Just as life in the Garden of Eden was contingent on his one term. Don't eat the fruit.

The more interesting question is why you want evolution taught as dogma, rather than discuss where its proven, where its well accepted and where the debate is still evolving.

The mechanisms of mutation and punctuated vs gradual evolution are still in debate. Papering it over with a 'millions and millions of years' doesn't work because a small random process over millions and millions of years results in gradual change rather than bursts. This works off the same math as the Central Limit Theorem.

--------------

Explain bacteria that become resistant to anti-biotics. Aren't they evolving?

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on February 12, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Sure they are.

But that's microevolution as opposed to macroevolution. Scientists are extrapolating whenever they argue enough microevolution can create a new species.

There's also the issue of whether evolution just rearranges genes and whether or not it can create new genes - which are evident in different species.

The only proposed mechanism for new genes is mutation, which most of the time creates a dead creature.

If you argue that 'mysterious disasters millions of years ago' create the situations necessary for micro-evolution to make new species (loaded with recessive genes) for further evolution you may as well believe in intervention.

You can't define the situation and you can't test the hypothesis. How is that solid science?

But no one wants to teach that so one of the most interesting questions today, will not get a chance to get the attention of the next Darwin.

Science has moved from punishing secular viewpoints to being so politically secular that some interesting questions will never be investigated.

-------------------

McA:
Last time you tried to "discuss" global warming you didn't come out so well. Why don't you give it a break or actually read some of the science and then discuss it.

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on February 12, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Really.

Find me a climate modeler who predicted record winters in the North East and in Russia, before they happened.

Working on financial models has taught me that stuff that only works in hindsight and is constantly being adapted is highly suspicious for predictive purposes.

Posted by: Mca on February 12, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

In Letters From the Earth, Twain points out that Noah and Family had to bring along two specimens of every disease-causing microbe and virus known today.

They musta been sick as dogs.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on February 13, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

They musta been sick as dogs.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on February 13, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

No. Things did survive outside the arc. They didn't plant the olive tree, did they?

Besides he took every creature from a defined area. God may have made other arrangements at the same time as well..

Like if you were going to interfere to cause 40 days and 40 nights of rain, and you couldn't trigger some miraculous survivals of fairly hardy bacteria as well?

Read the bible before you repeat heresay abput it.

Posted by: McA on February 13, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

Robert S. you're falling into a common delusion around here, namely that logic, persuasion,facts or referncce to any of these make any sort of immpression on tbroz and his sock puppets. --CFShep

CFShep, ad hominem generalizations like that just betray your fear. I can understand how threatened you must feel that there are some conservatives on this board also, along with the 90% liberals. Don't worry, you still have the majority on the board, if not in public office.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

I grew up in fundamentalism, sportsfan, so I know hundreds, probably thousands of people of faith. How kind and caring they are isn't relevant. --Robert S.

I know it isn't relevant to YOU, because it's not in your value system.

But it's relevant to me.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

"Ad hominem generalizations"?

I'm not following. Fits no definition of 'ad hominem' of which I aware. Was it 'sock puppets' that spooked you? Are you a sock puppet, sir? Or merely offended on their behalf?

I do occasionally feel a twinge of sympathy for some of the apparently well-meaning people here who attempt to reason with flat earthers when it's clearly pointless.

I'm not a much of a liberal in any case. I'm slightly left-libertarian centrist.

Guess there goes my tutorial on tags, eh?

Posted by: CFShep on February 13, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly, Ham is perfect for a job in the Bush 43 administration.

He demonstrates one of the most important qualifications for such a position: fanatical loyalty to anti-science mythology couched as scientific objectivity and a willingness to put forth contradictory and mendacious arguments to support favored propaganda themes.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not following. Fits no definition of 'ad hominem' of which I aware. Was it 'sock puppets' that spooked you? Are you a sock puppet, sir? Or merely offended on their behalf?

Yes, I am offended on their behalf. Your post in question had no actual point of debate, but had only a personal characterization of those who don't agree with you.

That is what 'ad hominem' means, by the way. fyi.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Guess there goes my tutorial on tags, eh?

P.S. No, I'd still give you a tutorial on tags. Although I noticed one of the characters didn't show up, so you may still may be having problems.

The character is called the left-carrot. It's the thing that looks kindof like an arrow, pointing to the left.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"Why? If God doesn't place his thumb in their very often - its still good to go. Works fine in medicine and engineering.
[snip]-"Assuming you don't see a situation where the building gets four times the anticipated stresses, it won't fall down"."

No, that's not it. This is actually an example of assuming natural laws are constant and consistant. We use our understanding of physics & engineering to build a building that can be expected to stay up under normal conditions. We use the same knowledge to predict that in a situation where the building gets 4x the anticipated stress, it will (at leatst very likely) fall down. It is certainly possibly that things might be overlooked, our understanding is incomplete, or the contractors might have some profitable fun with substandard parts, but anyway . . .
Which is very different from saying - jeez, maybe God will be pissed at the company and make its building fall down. Perhaps that will happen, but that's an entirely different mental world from the physics and engineering bit, which work by assuming that natural laws work and aren't being toyed with.

""Barring a miracle you have 6 months to live"
That's more a statement about the limits of our knowledge than an affirmation of God. The problem, as others have pointed out, is that creationists - especially of the ID variety - are trying to use the limits (real or perceived) of our knowledge as evidence that God exists, something that's called the God of the Gaps strategy (we can't explain something (lighting, crops growing, how animals and plants came to be in their current diversity, the movements of planets how the eye was formed, how bacteria got their flagella, etc.) so God must have done it!Plenty of serious theological types don't like this kind of argument - just look at its track record!

"The mechanisms of mutation and punctuated vs gradual evolution are still in debate. Papering it over with a 'millions and millions of years' doesn't work because a small random process over millions and millions of years results in gradual change rather than bursts. "

Did you read my post at all, let alone any of the links? I'm not the fastest typist (or thinker) and it did take some time to write; I hope you won't just ignore it.
(Of course, I wrote it for anyone reading with real questions, concerns, respect for evidence. etc.)

Punk eek is not really that big a debate topic anymore, I think. There are vigorous debates and discoveries going on about how exactly evolution works.

"There's also the issue of whether evolution just rearranges genes and whether or not it can create new genes - which are evident in different species."
This isn't one of them. Seriously. Call up your local university and check.

"But that's microevolution as opposed to macroevolution."
This is a standard creationist line (ever since the more progressive ones went and said, "well, really, they do seem to have a point, the evidence re: small scale changes is overwhelming.) It's getting boring. See the TalkOrigin's Index to Creationist Claims' Claim CB902: Microevolution vs. Macroevolution., their Macroevolution FAQ and just for fun, the great big 29+ evidences for macroevolution!

What's not clear is why, on the face of it, small changes can't add up to large changes, which is what is being said here. The exact way this might happen/roles of various mechanisms, the exact time scale, whether this happens relatively slowly and gradually or relatively quicker, etc. sure, there are all sorts of fascinating questions. But drawing this giant line between micro- and macro-evolution (ie, from wolf to poodle - and macroevolution (ancestral canines to wolves/dogs, coyotes, foxes, etc., ancestral felines to lions, cheetahs, pet cats, all the little wild cats, and on back to ancestral carnivores) . . . it's like saying that, well, we see micro-erosion, but macro-erosion (wearing down mountains, say) - is a whole 'nother things.

"If you argue that 'mysterious disasters millions of years ago' create the situations necessary for micro-evolution to make new species (loaded with recessive genes) for further evolution you may as well believe in intervention."

Why? Big rock hits earth, lots of animals wiped out, the offspring of survivors have all sorts of niches that they can fill, being a not very efficient something isn't a problem now that the efficient something ate space rock . . .

"The more interesting question is why you want evolution taught as dogma, rather than discuss where its proven, where its well accepted and where the debate is still evolving."

On a high school level, based on genuine scientific consensus, and covered in an appropriate way given time alloted (a week? 3 days in june?) and background knowledge provided? Sure. That' what h.s. bio textbooks should be doing ( haven't seen any h..s bio textbooks lately, anyone have one around the house so we could check?) Of course, this isn't what the creationists want. Having failed to ban evolution teaching (1st wave) or get biblical literalism/creation science given equal time (2nd wave). Now they're trying to subject the teaching of evolution to the death of a thousand criticisms, some made-up or blatently nonsensical, some real past or current debates - complicated, obscure, technical things of the kind discussed in college and grad courses (or at very best AP courses), requiring a lot of background knowledge, so that dumping them on 9th or 10 graders in intro bio classes would be both pedagogically inappropriate and designed to confuse.

Note of course that (although things are getting better, textbook-wise, from what I've heard), coverage of evolution in highschool biology is all too often minimal or nonexistant (or even very occasionally out-and-out creationist), largely as a result of decades of creationist attacks on science education. Note that's it's a loaded religious/political issue for some, and note that no other discipline - on the high school level, anyway, has folks going around teaching kids wildly anti-[subject] nonsense and telling them to yell "Where you there?!" at their teachers.

Remember, I'm no biologist. TalkOrigins is a good start if you're interested in the issue, at least from a evolution/creation perspective. There are various evolution blogs, mired to varying degrees in this debate. I still wish there was a good evolution blog that talked about current cool developments, discoveries and debates in evolution at about a 8th or 9th grade reading level, with large, neat pictures - anyone know of one?
(Since that's what we need. Nolt being snobbish with the reading level - newspapers tend to be around this or lower)

Posted by: Dan S. on February 13, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

"Several Imax theaters in the South including a few in science museums have refused to show movies that mention evolution or the Earth's age."

Relatively speaking, we have to be the dumbest fucking nation on the planet.

You'd expect this kind of crap from third-world nations or tyrannies, but holy-moly. Seriously though, we are an incredibly stupid country.

Posted by: The Tim on February 13, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

"Several Imax theaters in the South including a few in science museums have refused to show movies that mention evolution or the Earth's age."

Relatively speaking, we have to be the dumbest fucking nation on the planet.

NO F'ING WAY! I don't believe this for a SECOND!

Show me a CREDIBLE link to this info and I'll eat my words right here on this public forum.

P.S. Sorry for the caps shouting.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

"NO F'ING WAY! I don't believe this for a SECOND!
Show me a CREDIBLE link to this info and I'll eat my words right here on this public forum."

From FOXnews.com
"IMAX Movie Mentioning Evolution Won't Show in South
CHARLESTON, S.C.IMAX theaters in several Southern cities have decided not to show a film on volcanoes out of concern that its references to evolution might offend those with fundamental religious beliefs. "

New York Times
BBC News
WorldNetDaily

(Not sure what counts as a credible source)

Before recommending a nice sauce to go with your words (and perhaps best served over a bed of linguistini? *groan*), let me note that these accounts are almost a year old, when there was a bit of fuss over it. I don't know how things stand now - whether they changed this policy or not . . .

That's the kind of thing I was getting in my long comment above - for evolution to be taught in a 'fair and balanced' way in school wouldn't require the introduction of anti-science creationist/ID propaganda; instead, we'd need to come at it from the other direction, since years of creationist agitation has knocked evolution teaching so far down, and slanted the playing field so dramatically, we'd need to stress it a lot more.

Of course, you may have been talking about the other statement ("Relatively speaking, we have to be the dumbest fucking nation on the planet"). I can't find any credible links for that. Sorry : ).
(I'm sure it's not true, though; definitely not in terms of education, and probably not in terms of intelligence, if only because lower rates of serious malnutrition in children help us out here. We're working on that, though . . .

Posted by: Dan S. on February 13, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

sportsfan079: I don't believe this for a SECOND!

You seem to have a hard time believing some of the things posted here.

Which is very strange for a faith-based conservative like yourself who apparently supports a president who repeatedly lies and demands loyal belief from conservatives in his untruths and gets it.

. . . left-carrot . . .

I don't believe it for a second!

Please provide a link proving that the less-than symbol is called a "left-carrot".

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

sportsfan079: I know it isn't relevant to YOU, because it's not in your value system.

Nor in yours.

The only values in the conservative value system begin with self: self-centeredness, self-serving, selfishness, self-love, self-aggrandizement, self-interest.

Care and concern for others is merely a false face put on by conservatives for appearence sake.

A part of their self-serving, self-centered con game of self-interest.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

McA: Working on financial models has taught me that stuff that only works in hindsight and is constantly being adapted is highly suspicious for predictive purposes.

Must be referring to the administration's models for Iraq, the American economy, and North Korea no doubt.

Funny how conservatives never apply their claimed principles of reasoning to their own political heroes and theories and indeed continually adopt contrary principles to rationalize away conservative perfidy, criminality, and incompetence.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

CHARLESTON, S.C. IMAX theaters in several Southern cities have decided not to show a film on volcanoes out of concern that its references to evolution might offend those with fundamental religious beliefs. "

Would you have a link, by any chance? I searched "evolution" on foxnews.com, but did not get this article to appear.

Not that I don't trust you, but I've seen lots of wild crap asserted on these boards, and I'd like to get an idea of context.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

The only values in the conservative value system begin with self: self-centeredness, self-serving, selfishness, self-love, self-aggrandizement, self-interest.

For an 'Advocate for God', you don't seem like a very nice person. Are you sure it's God?

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I know it isn't relevant to YOU, because it's not in your value system.

But it's relevant to me.

Wow, sportsfan.

This raises a simple series of questions:

Why would you assume that being kind and caring isn't in my values system?
Because I'm not a fundamentalist Christian?
If you're so concerned with kindness, why do you leap so quickly to an ad hominem attack?

Let me assure you that, yes, even as a non-believer who owes no allegiance to Biblical morals, I actually am concerned with kindness, and I value it in my many Christian friends as well as my non-Christian friends.

But whether someone is kind or not is wholly, 100% totally irrelevent to whether their beliefs are accurate or not. Good, kind, nice, lovely, intelligent, warm-hearted, trust-worthy, admirable, people with integrity are quite capable of believing fairy tales.

Also, the story about IMAX not showing those films is quite true; I live in Charlotte, one of the places it happened. Ironically, the IMAX theater is at a facility called Discovery Place, which is supposed to be a facility for educating kids about science. So sad.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 13, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't claim to a prophet or anything, as that would clash with every point I'm making above ... but yesterday I said that given the opportunity "the state of South Carolina would probably demand that creationism (or at least ID - maybe both) be taught in public schools."

Well, today this:

Panel votes to reject evolution teaching standards
(Columbia-AP) February 13, 2006 - The Education Oversight Committee voted Monday to reject curriculum standards for high school biology that deal with teaching evolution.
The school reform panel wants the Board of Education to rewrite a portion of the standards to encourage high school students to critically analyze evolution.
Scientists who support teaching evolution reject the idea of adding the phrase "critical analysis" to the curriculum. They call it an effort by evolution critics to introduce creationism and intelligent design in the classroom.
State Senator Mike Fair says the change is necessary because science is always changing.
Both the oversight committee and the board of education must agree on the standards. Monday's 8-2 vote sends the issue back to the board of education.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 13, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Would you have a link, by any chance? I searched "evolution" on foxnews.com, but did not get this article to appear."
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,151256,00.html

I tried to put several links in the post, but perhaps your browser is having trouble? The Fox story is a pretty short piece - some of the others have more content.

There is definitely an abundance of wild crap, and skepticism is good - but why did the original statement seem so unbelievable? It's not an isolated incident by far.

According to an informal NSTA (National Science Teacher Association) survey of over a thousand science teachers released about the same time as the IMAX incident, about a third feel " feel pressured to include creationism, intelligent design, or other nonscientific alternatives to evolution in their science classroom" and/or "feel pushed to de-emphasize or omit evolution or evolution-related topics from their curriculum" (31% and 30% respectively, see http://www.nsta.org/pressroom&news_story_ID=50377 for more details.

Here in Pennsylvania we had the joy of being home to the Dover debacle, which presented spectators with an astounding display of - I don't know what to call it, just a total lack of intellectual curiosity, on a par with Ham's mendacity. It also seem to tie in with the "war on expertise" that Kevin disusses in a recent post. Here is Dover School Board member Heather Geesey being cross-examined (long, even with significant editing, but worth it for the flavor; short version: a major change in the science curriculum was being proposed - roughly, endorsing ID creationism as a viable scientific alternative to evolution. She doesn't know anything about, doesn't evenbother to look it up on the internet. The science teachers unilaterally oppose it, along with several board members. However, two committee members with no obvious science background - a former police officer and a auto-repair shop owner supported it and told her it was a good idea, so she went with it. (And if anybody thinks I'm being all ivy league limo-liberal elitist here, ask yourself, if you were dealing with a car problem/a law enforcement issue, who would you ask, a auto-repair guy/cop, or a science teacher? It's all about the expertise.)
"Q Now, you said you voted for the October 18th curriculum change because you liked it.
A Yes.
Q You supported the change.
A Yes.
Q It -- because it gave a balanced view of evolution.
A Yes, I mean. . .
Q It presented an alternative theory?
A Yes.
Q And the policy talks about gaps and problems with evolution?
A Yes.
Q Yes. You don t know what those gaps and problems 23 refer to, do you? 24
A No. 25
Q But it s good to teach about those gaps and problems? 2 A That -- yes, that s our mission statement, yes. 3
Q But you have no idea what they are? 4
A It s not my job, no. 5
Q Is it fair to say that you didn t know much about 6 intelligent design in October of 2004? 7
A Yes. 8
Q And you didn t know much about the book Of Pandas 9 and People either, did you? 10
A Correct. 11
Q So you had never participated in any discussions of 12 the book? 13
A No. 14
Q And you made no effort independently to find out 15 about the book? 16
A No. 17
Q And the administration had made copies of the book 18 available to boardmembers.
19 A Yes.
20 Q But you never read the book.
21 A No.
22 Q And no one ever explained to you what intelligent
23 design was about.
24 A No. 25
Q And you never got any instructional materials or tapes about intelligent design. 2
A No. 3
Q And you never viewed any or read any books about 4 intelligent design. 5
A No. 6
Q And you didn t study it independently. 7
A No. 8
Q You didn t go on the Internet and look it up. 9
A No. 10
Q So you didn t really think too much about 11 intelligent design. 12
A No. 13
Q You just knew it was something else that the kids 14 were going to learn? 15
A Yes. 16
Q And it was a theory that was different from 17 Darwin s view. 18
A Yes. 19
Q And what you testified earlier is that you were 20 relying on the recommendation of the curriculum committee. 21
A Yes. 22
Q And that was their job. 23
A Yes. 24
Q And because they were recommending the introduction 25 of intelligent design, you were going to go along with that. 1
A Yes. 2
Q And you thought it was a good idea to introduce an 3 alternative to evolution. 4
A Yes. 5
Q Now, it wasn t the entire curriculum committee that 6 was recommending this change, correct? 7
A I don t know. 8
[snip]
Q So the two people you were really listening to and 17 talking to about this were Bill Buckingham and Allen 18 Bonsell. 19
A Yes. 20
[snip] Q Now, I know you said you don t have any background 15 in science, correct? 16
A Correct. 17
Q And do you know whether Mr. Buckingham has a 18 background in science? 19
A No, I do not. 20
Q Do you know that in fact he doesn t have a 21 background in science? 22
A I don t know. He s law enforcement, so I would 23 assume he had to take something along the way. 24
Q Did he ever tell you he knew something about 25 biology? 2
Q How about Mr. Bonsell, do you know what his 3 backgroundis? 4
A No. 5 Q Do you know what he does for a living? 6
A He s a business owner, I believe. 7
Q He s not a scientist, to your knowledge? 8
A Not to my knowledge, no. 9
Q He s not a science teacher? 10
A No. 11 Q Now, there are people employed by the school 12 district who do know a little something about science, 13 correct? 14
A Correct. 15
Q And that would be the teachers. 16
A Yes.
[snip]. 8
Q And you knew that the science teachers were all 9 opposed to introducing intelligent design? 10
A Correct. 11
[snip]
Q And you never asked them any more questions about 2 their position why they didn t think this was science? 3
A No. 4
[snip]
Q And so the only people in the school district that 12 you re aware of that have a science backgroundwere opposed 13 to introducing intelligent design; they thought it wasn t 14 science, they thought it was religion, and you ignored that? [this is established in the snipped bits] 15
A Yes. 16
Q And you voted for the proposal because 17 Mr. Buckingham and Mr. Bonsell encouraged you to do so? 18
A I agreed with them, that s why I voted for the 19 proposal.

(The testimony is available here - see Day 17.)

Now South Carolina gets to join the fun, (like PA and Kansas). Sure, critical analysis sounds harmless - good, even. Except somehow it's not all of science that students would be told to critically analyze, just evolution. Except in the current environment, critically analyze means Ham-style classroom antics. Great. That's really going to help American science.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 14, 2006 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

The school reform panel wants the Board of Education to rewrite a portion of the standards to encourage high school students to critically analyze evolution.

Scientists who support teaching evolution reject the idea of adding the phrase "critical analysis" to the curriculum.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 13, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Look at your post. They are lobbying for critical analysis. What kind of science is afraid of critical analysis?

Posted by: McA on February 14, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

That's because that was a poorly written story by a TV station that didn't give the full context, McA. Here's a (slightly) better version: http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/13864178.htm
The SC media isn't exactly known for exhaustive reporting.

Anyway, of course scientists should be involved in critical analysis, but that's not the point Fair and co are trying make.

There's no critical analysis of the theory of gravity is there? We don't "teach the controversy" over whether the earth revolves around the sun or not.

The only reason any so-called "controversy" has arisen around evolution and big bang theory is because they conflict with some folks religious beliefs, not because of any dearth of proof for either.

Posted by: Robert S. on February 14, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Think here. If new species are contingent on asteroid extinction happening frequently . . ."
What? I didn't say that! I was giving mass extinctions (from whatever cause, really) as a single, extrreme example of how natural selection could really kick into overdrive. Nobody thinks an asteroid has to hit earth for species to evolve!

how does that rule out the divine or the miraculous. or for that matter intelligent design."
Rule out? It doesn't. It doesn't rule it in, either. The science doesn't have anything to do with them. Maybe God wiped the dinosaurs out via space rock and ushered in the age of mammals in order to provide for the evolution of that magnificant being, that miracle of creation, the cat . . .
[Hey! Get off the keyboard! Jeez, I go off for a minute to clean out your litterbox and look what you do! Bad kitty!]
How would science prove it?

I would have argued that secular science [is] trying to pretend gaps don't exist to maintain an illusion of control that lets people avoid thinking about the bigger picture.

Why?
I think scientists tend to pretty upfront about gaps in general. They're human, of course, but still. . . Popular science reporting tends to leave out the multiple caveats and mind-numbing details, but you can't exactly blame it for wanting good copy.
What bigger picture?


[snipping pop physics] there are always limits to science.
Sure.

"If a hurricane hits your house, you have no idea whether a butterfly's wing flapping in Tokyo did it."
White House: Kathrina disaster is butterfly's fault. And that guy made Cheney shoot him . .

Sorry . ..
Um, I'm not a meteorologist, or an expert in lepidopteran-based chaos theory fun, but what does this have to do with anything?

And if that's the case, there's plenty of room for God - even if he decides not to do something large scale (like speed up time or fiddle with fossil evidence)."
Oh. Um, still don't get it? Why do we have to find God in butterfly-caused tornados? (Yes, yes, God's action-in-the-world can be argued to be via quantum indeterminacy or sumthin', instead of heavy-handed intervention, maybe what we see as chance, randomness, etc. is only a limited mortal understanding of God's actions - but what's the point of all this? If you know there's a God, that's great. Why go looking for heaven with a telescope? (either literally or metaphorically) . . .

But this all is beside the point. I'm just trying to talk about what science is/isn't. There may be plenty of room for God - say, woven into the fabric of reality - but science can't deal with that. What could it say? It talks about the natural. Super-natural (in the sense of above/beyond natural stuff, as the God of Abraham is generally considered to be - that's religion.

Or to put it another way, religion is about your heart. Science is about that muscle in your chest that keeps your blood circulating.


Posted by: Dan S. on February 14, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to apologize to Dan S. I recieved your link, and indeed the story was on foxnews.com. I was wrong.

The mistake that I made was that you added a hotlink, and I didn't notice it. I was looking for a URL.

In any case, it is true that a movie referencing evolution was not shown in some southern theaters. Despite the fact that I am against suppressing intelligent design theory, I think that it is very unfortunate that theaters would shun a movie because it contains evolution theory. I believe no theory should be suppressed.

I do want to make a distinction, though. The story suggests that the movie wasn't prohibited for it's content, but that the decision not to show it was made based on revenues. It's still unfortunate, but I understand people making business decisions based on revenue.

I'll include the excerpt for your reference:


"We've got to pick a film that's going to sell in our area. If it's not going to sell, we're not going to take it," said Lisa Buzzelli, director of an IMAX (search) theater in Charleston that is not showing the movie. "Many people here believe in creationism, not evolution."

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 14, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

The post's now fallen off the front page, so to speak. Just one thing: the decision not to show it was based on projected revenues due to content.

This is something every movie theater, etc., has to deal with, except in this case, at least some of these theaters are attached to museums - institutions with an education mission - which makes this a little whiffy.

" Despite the fact that I am against suppressing intelligent design "

Well, me too, really - I support the current situation, where ID advocates aren't locked up, don't have their books banned or destroyed (on sale at my local chain bookstore, in fact), aren't prevented from speaking, writing blogs, etc. (In fact, I would be strongly opposed to such things!). I think ID creationism should be treated just the same as any idea/movement with an equivalent level of scientific (or historical, or etc.) acceptance that tried to get public schools - ie, astrology, aliens-built-the-pyramids-to-sharpen-razors-with, etc., Whites are "ice people" while Africans are "sun people," [ethnic group of your choice] invented everything, usually in the distant past, and so on and on and on. If this level of support changes, well, that would be a different story.

Posted by: Dan S. on February 14, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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