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Old 02-01-2009, 08:31 PM   #1
SkinWalker
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Texas wins victory over Creationists

The whackos who would like to introduce superstition and pseudoscience into the public school classroom lost some foot hold recently:
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The Texas Board of Education has tentatively adopted new teaching standards that would make it more difficult to teach creationism in Lone Star state schools.

Board members voted eight-to-seven last night to drop controversial language in the state's curriculum that requires science teachers to discuss the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.
See the article at The Scientific American


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Old 02-01-2009, 11:42 PM   #2
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I'm happy about the outcome, although the 7-8 vote is a little unsettling. It's questionable whether the seven who voted against the change should be on the board if they don't know enough about science to realize that the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories are already contained in the usefulness of said theories' predictions and not whether they correspond to some ephemeral, absolute "Truth." It's like stressing that because you can't put a living chimpanzee in the function f(x) = x6^3, the function is limited and suspiciously questionable. It's confusing, it's nonsense and it certainly doesn't need to be told to children to "make sure they knew the weaknesses" of math. Kids aren't stupid and they aren't going to try to put a chimp into a function -- not because they know it's a weakness of math (it's not), but because they know it's totally irrelevant to math. In the same way, thinking that evolution as a theory must be perfect in all details is simply to misunderstand what a scientific theory is and how it is meant to be used. You'd almost think that it's those board members who need the education.

On the other hand, if they did know enough about science and still voted against removing the language, it's certain they should not be on the board at all. I don't know what is in the oath of office they took (I can't seem to find it anywhere), but the children and citizens of Texas deserve - and should require - the board to be both objective and honest in its decisions. If it happened, the purposeful and malicious interference with Texas' minors' rightful educations would be inexcusable.

Given Texas has a large influence on textbook production, lower population states will likely switch to the new version as well in the future. The more the better.


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Old 02-03-2009, 12:58 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis View Post
I'm happy about the outcome, although the 7-8 vote is a little unsettling.
Agreed, but it is not surprising the closeness of the vote considering the number of whackos in this state (myself included) and the number that are serving within the state government especially on school boards. I’m actually pleasantly surprise the vote was not the other way.
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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This is good news! I think its is sad how little people are taught about evolution as it is.


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Old 02-03-2009, 03:22 PM   #5
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I dunno, I actually somewhat oppose this. I'd personally like to learn creationism in school, along with evolution. I think that they should have it, but not as a forced class and as long as they don't teach it as a fact.

I just like knowledge. Of anything and everything.




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Old 02-03-2009, 03:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Vikinor View Post
I dunno, I actually somewhat oppose this. I'd personally like to learn creationism in school, along with evolution. I think that they should have it, but not as a forced class and as long as they don't teach it as a fact.
Only problem is, creationism is based on opinions and personal beliefs, while evolution is based on scientific facts. Either way, teaching creationism in school would violate several laws in the US, including the distinct separation of church and state.
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Old 02-03-2009, 04:22 PM   #7
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If they teach 'creationism' in classes on world history or religion by going through various religions' creation myths, then fine. If they teach it in science class as an alternative to theories on the big bang, the formation of stellar bodies, abiogenesis, evolution, etc... then no.

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Old 02-03-2009, 04:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Vikinor View Post
I dunno, I actually somewhat oppose this. I'd personally like to learn creationism in school, along with evolution. I think that they should have it, but not as a forced class and as long as they don't teach it as a fact.

I just like knowledge. Of anything and everything.
I have to disagree as well. If someone wants to learn about Creationism they should do so outside of school curriculum. I would however, accept it if it would include other religions as well, not just the christian 'version'.

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Old 02-03-2009, 04:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dagobahn Eagle View Post
If they teach 'creationism' in classes on world history or religion by going through various religions' creation myths, then fine. If they teach it in science class as an alternative to theories on the big bang, the formation of stellar bodies, abiogenesis, evolution, etc... then no.
Exactly.


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Old 02-03-2009, 05:37 PM   #10
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Why shouldn't Creationism be taught in public school? Or, at least, Intelligent Design?

I think it's because the evolutionists know Intelligent Design is more logical and has more scientific support than evolution does. But, the only way they can continue teaching it is to not allow the Intelligent Designers to speak...to not allow the scientists who used to be evolutionists to speak...to say why they've changed their minds. Yes, everyone should question why evolution requires censorship! Ahhhh, it appears we've learned nothing from Copernicus.

Evolutionists have to censor other points of view. They know there have been so many discoveries in the last fifteen years that have scientifically disproved evolution that if they become known evolution will die. But, the scientists do know this information, which is why evolution is dead as far as scientists are concerned. It continues today only as a religious belief.

Something is seriously wrong when I can question my government, but I cannot question your religion - evolution.

Go on! Keep calling doctorate degreed scientists whackos! Insist upon censorship! I, and other scientists, know this is the only defense the evolutionists have left.


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Old 02-03-2009, 06:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Volar the Healer View Post
I think it's because the evolutionists know Intelligent Design is more logical and has more scientific support than evolution does. But, the only way they can continue teaching it is to not allow the Intelligent Designers to speak...to not allow the scientists who used to be evolutionists to speak...to say why they've changed their minds. Yes, everyone should question why evolution requires censorship! Ahhhh, it appears we've learned nothing from Copernicus.
Please show me scientific evidence that vehemently proves intelligent design over evolution. While you're at it, please provide me evidence for the existence of (a) God.

To the point: you can't. There is no way anyone can relatively prove nor disprove the existence of a God, which is ultimately a psychological trait imbued to humans as well as a metaphysical entity. As a result, God can't be measured using scientific methods, and therefore, the notion that God created every creature in the world in exactly six days is illogical, and is no way scientific.

However, evolution does not say "There is no God", it just says "God did not create the Earth and all of its biological life in exactly six days".
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Evolutionists have to censor other points of view. They know there have been so many discoveries in the last fifteen years that have scientifically disproved evolution that if they become known evolution will die. But, the scientists do know this information, which is why evolution is dead as far as scientists are concerned. It continues today only as a religious belief.
How can evolution be dead? There are absolutely thousands and thousands of documents presenting evidence that promotes the theory of evolution as a legitimate scientific theory.
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Something is seriously wrong when I can question my government, but I cannot question your religion - evolution.
How can a scientific theory be a religious denomination?
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Old 02-03-2009, 06:48 PM   #12
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if they [facts] become known evolution will die.
How do you know these facts?

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However, evolution does not say "There is no God", it just says "God did not create the Earth and all of its biological life in exactly six days".
This is something that a lot of religious people miss or ignore, which irritates me.


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Old 02-03-2009, 06:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray jones
Exactly.


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Originally Posted by Volar the Healer View Post
Why shouldn't Creationism be taught in public school? Or, at least, Intelligent Design?
Well, I just said it should above. Students should be informed that in the old days people believed various things were created by gods, spirits, etc. They should be given examples of various creation myths from around the world. Same as they should be taught that in the old days people thought the Earth was flat. But to teach Creation in science class, just because people still believe in it? Makes no sense whatsoever. School is for learning, not catering to the sentiments of various groups within its student body.

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I think it's because the evolutionists know Intelligent Design is more logical and has more scientific support than evolution does.
Define 'evolutionist'. Do you mean scientists who accept evolution is real, do you mean people in general who do, or do you mean something else altogether?

Quote:
But, the only way they can continue teaching it is to not allow the Intelligent Designers to speak...to not allow the scientists who used to be evolutionists to speak...to say why they've changed their minds. Yes, everyone should question why evolution requires censorship! Ahhhh, it appears we've learned nothing from Copernicus.
Surely it's not censored more than the idea that the Earth is flat, that things fall because God want them to, or that the Sun orbits the Earth? I was informed fairly early on in school of all these ideas. They just weren't taught as valid ideas supported by science. Ironically, since we Norsemen have this pesky state religion of ours, we were, in elementary school, made to go through the Bible as though it were fact and its actions justified, and forced to pray before eating our lunches, attending church, etc., unless you had a parental note excusing you. The Norwegian state just got in trouble with the UN some time ago for violating the students' rights and had to make religion classes more objective, though, so at least we're moving forward .

Quote:
Evolutionists have to censor other points of view. They know there have been so many discoveries in the last fifteen years that have scientifically disproved evolution that if they become known evolution will die. But, the scientists do know this information, which is why evolution is dead as far as scientists are concerned. It continues today only as a religious belief.
All dead wrong. If any scientific discoveries were made which disproved such a hallmark theory as the ToE, it would've been heralded as a revolution of science and the person discovering it would have received, at least, a Nobel's peace prize.

Your problem is you look at science the way you look at organized religion, with its dogmas, priesthood and tradition. Science is nothing like this - it lives to continuously change and improve its theories, hypotheses and laws and thrives when they are challenged, not when they are respected and upheld as truth just because they're "handed down from above" or written about in poetic verses in old books. Just that Galileo and Copernicus were persecuted for challenging dogma doesn't mean I would be attacked if I provided real evidence Evolution was one big illusion.

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Something is seriously wrong when I can question my government, but I cannot question your religion - evolution.
Oh, but you can. You just did, as a matter of fact, and I don't think the CIA is going to trace your post and arrest you over it, either.

Quote:
Quote:
This is something that a lot of religious people miss or ignore, which irritates me.
However, evolution does not say "There is no God", it just says "God did not create the Earth and all of its biological life in exactly six days".
Indeed. It's sad that people think they have to disregard a scientific theory because of their religion. Picture a girl saying that "as a Christian, I believe the Earth is flat with four corners, and the heliocentric theory offends my sentiments and should be taught as that, a theory, with the Biblical worldview as an equal or superior alternative".


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Old 02-03-2009, 08:06 PM   #14
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Well, Dagobahn. I can tell you exactly why you "Norsemen" have those problems. Norway is a strange and backwards, although beautiful land.

On topic, I agree with you. I think if creationism were to be taught then they cover all of it. The Norse, Greek, Native American myths and legends and so on. I just think it'd be a fun class to take. Like Sociology.

I'm also going to have to say that I disagree that evolution is being censored. You could be right, maybe we are all being fooled, but at this point in time I disagree with that statement. One thing about science is that it's always changing. It changes according to new discoveries. The atom wasn't even thought to exist before it was discovered.




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Old 02-03-2009, 11:32 PM   #15
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Only problem is, creationism is based on opinions and personal beliefs, while evolution is based on scientific facts. Either way, teaching creationism in school would violate several laws in the US, including the distinct separation of church and state.
Then how did life begin, the odds of life starting on Earth in the amount of time that it did is technically based on the chemical interactions and what all, about the same as a tornado ripping through a junk yard and assembling a fully functional Boeing 747. I'll find the book I got that from later.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:18 AM   #16
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Then how did life begin, the odds of life starting on Earth in the amount of time that it did is technically based on the chemical interactions and what all, about the same as a tornado ripping through a junk yard and assembling a fully functional Boeing 747. I'll find the book I got that from later.
I hate to tell you, but this is an argument from ignorance. Before you can even start discussing what the odds are you must define what n is. The number of worlds in all possible universes (mulitverse theory is another topic) is n. You then look at the number of misses, where life didn't begin, began but discontinued, began and was successful, etc.

This isn't within our ability at this time, so discussion on the "odds of life starting on Earth" is one from ignorance. Indeed, we know it did if only because we are here.

In addition, the analogy about a "tornado ripping through a junk yard" only to produce a 747 is an analogy from ignorance. Science doesn't suggest such a process exists in nature nor does it imply that evolution is such a process. There is no accidental process to evolution. The argument isn't relative to evolution since evolution doesn't work by assembling a species from individual parts. Evolution occurs via selective gradual modifications to existing structures to create order.

This weak analogy, often fallaciously favored and repeated by those that are apposed to the truth and reason of evolutionary explanations for life, originates from Fred Hoyle (1983: 18-19), who wasn't making the analogy to lifeforms as complicated as people. He was making the analogy to abiogenesis, where it's more appropriate. Earliest life on the planet would have been in the form of self-replicating molecules of RNA or other strings of proteins comprised of amino acids. There's no reason to believe such spontaneous assemblies couldn't occur at the molecular level. It's an absurd analogy to apply to complex organisms like humans, bovids, or even cockroaches.

Reference(s):

Hoyle, Fred (1983). The Intelligent Universe. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.


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Old 02-04-2009, 01:45 AM   #17
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So why are we discussing abiogenesis when evolution was the topic? Argue against evolution if you have problems with it, not abiogenesis.

@Dagobahn: Luckily schools have improved a bit, though it probably still depend a lot on the teacher
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:49 AM   #18
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First, there isn't an argument about abiogenesis occurring. I was pointing out to Garfield where the 747 argument originates from and how it is inappropriately applied to complex evolution.

Second, abiogenesis *is* a part of evolution. Just not the gradual process that took place over millions of years *since* abiogenesis first occurred.


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Old 02-04-2009, 07:23 PM   #19
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In addition, the analogy about a "tornado ripping through a junk yard" only to produce a 747 is an analogy from ignorance. Science doesn't suggest such a process exists in nature nor does it imply that evolution is such a process. There is no accidental process to evolution. The argument isn't relative to evolution since evolution doesn't work by assembling a species from individual parts. Evolution occurs via selective gradual modifications to existing structures to create order.
Actually it had to do with the reactivity of other chemicals in Earth's atmosphere and oceans that were more reactive to the chemicals that make up RNA and DNA, basically the odds due to that situation of the chemical environment makes it highly improbable.

I'm not arguing about evolution when life is in existence on Earth just based on Earth's age, and how early life began on Earth, the 747 analogy is a good one.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:23 PM   #20
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Hoyle's analogy was interesting, but the science behind abiogenesis, emergence and protein development has made some interesting predictions which have held and good hypotheses exist which explain abiogenic evolution in a younger earth. Of course, such hypotheses aren't conducive to fully testing since we neither have time machines nor lifespans capable of observing the duplicated conditions long enough to evaluate. Which is why looking elsewhere in the solar system and galaxy is important.

However, this isn't really that relevant to the discussion since the creationists in Texas are opposed to teaching any kind of evolution or geologic understanding of the planet in public schools and want anything that suggests that life on the planet is a result of millions of years of gradual change in response to the environment; and that the planet is anything more than 10,000 years old to be struck from the textbooks or at least prefaced with a disclaimer that is false, unscientific and superstitious.


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Old 02-04-2009, 10:29 PM   #21
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Science cannot prove or disprove God's existence, science operates on the assumption that there is no supreme being involved, and does it's best to try to explain things, just sometimes there are things that can't be explained by science.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:58 PM   #22
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Science cannot prove or disprove God's existence, science operates on the assumption that there is no supreme being involved, and does it's best to try to explain things, just sometimes there are things that can't be explained by science.
Science doesn't care one way or another whether a god or a plethora of gods exist. The fact is, the universe behaves exactly as it should be expected to if gods did not exist, but this may be the subject of another thread topic.

Regardless, there is no attempt by science to insert or exclude any religious cult's god(s). Science observes the natural universe and attempts to explain the universe in natural terms. The doctrines of many religions and the cults of these religions, however, make empirical claims that aren't supported by empirical evidence.

Indeed, when compared and contrasted these religions and their individual cults are often inconsistent and even contradictory in their claims. The adherence of religious doctrine is nearly universally correlated (with the expected exceptions) to socio-cultural education: Anglo-saxon descendants tend to be Christian; those of Semitic ancestry tend to be Jewish or Muslim; Asian ancestry tends to give rise to Buddhism, Shintoism, Hinduism, etc. -depending on the region; etc. If I were born in the 4th Dynasty Egypt, I'd likely worship Atun-Ra, Ptah, Horus, et al.

So, if a religion is going to make an empirical claim ("my god exists and you can't disprove it!"), then it must support that claim. Saying, "look at life on the planet" isn't evidence of your god or any other. And even if it were evidence of a god (or gods), there's no evidence that its your god. The Earth could just as easily be the result of goddess Tiamat's body split in half to form the sky and earth by the god Marduk. Or it could be the ejaculate of Ptah after all.


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