ID vs. Academic Integrity: Gaming the System in Ohio

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Bryan Leonard is a recently visible figure in the intelligent design creationism movement. Leonard is a high school biology teacher at Hilliard Davidson High School in a suburb of Columbus. As an appointee to the Ohio State BOE’s model curriculum-writing committee, he was the author of the IDC-oriented “Critical Analysis” model lesson plan adopted by the Ohio State Board of Education last year, and he recently testified at the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court hearings. The credential that endears him to the IDC movement is that he is a doctoral candidate in science education at the Ohio State University, and his dissertation research is on the academic merits of an ID-based “critical analysis” approach to teaching evolution in public schools.

Leonard was scheduled to defend his dissertation yesterday, June 6, but we learned late last week that his defense has been postponed.

More below the fold.

Here are the facts as we know them and some reasonable inferences from those facts.

The Graduate School of the Ohio State University generally requires that a thesis defense be publicly announced. There’s some question whether the announcement of Leonard’s defense actually occurred. In any event, several members of the OSU faculty learned of Leonard’s impending defense and of the composition of the committee that was to conduct the examination.

The entity that actually grants the degree Leonard is seeking is the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. Within that, the Science Education Ph.D. program requires that

Upon completion of the [candidacy] examination, the student may reorganize the committee to reflect the expertise needed for the dissertation. The dissertation committee must have at least three members: two from the science education program area and one from outside the science education program area. (Italics added)

Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements. It was composed of his advisor, Paul Post from the technology education program area of the section for Math, Science and Technology; Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology in the College of Biological Sciences; and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition in the College of Human Ecology. For the final defense an Assistant Professor from the department of French & Italian in the College of Humanities was also assigned to the committee to monitor the procedure. Thus, there were no members from the science education program area on Leonard’s final dissertation committee.

What is more noteworthy is that there are no members of Leonard’s dissertation committee who are specialists in science education or in evolutionary biology, even though Leonard’s dissertation is specifically directed at methods of teaching evolutionary biology in public school science classes. The two senior tenured members of the committee, DiSilvestro and Needham, in fact share a single salient qualification: they have both publicly associated themselves with the intelligent design creationist movement in Ohio and elsewhere.

DiSilvestro is an original signer of the Discovery Institute’s A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism statement and testified for the Intelligent Design Network at the recent Kansas Kangaroo Court hearings, as did Leonard. According to his departmental profile, DiSilvestro’s professional interests are “Nutritional biochemistry and clinical nutrition of antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals, especially in regard to inflammatory aspects of disease and exercise recovery; mineral and phytochemical effects on weight loss.” According to a transcript of a recording supplied by an attendee, DiSilvestro told the Kansas Kangaroo Court that he doesn’t use evolutionary theory in his own research.

Needham has testified in support of IDC proposals before the Ohio State Board of Education. There is a department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology in the College of Biological Sciences, but Needham is not a member of that department. His research on ticks is only marginally related to evolution and he does not teach evolution. (See here from one of his colleagues in Entomology.)

DiSilvestro was contact person for the Ohio Intelligent Design Movement’s 52 Ohio Scientists Call for Academic Freedom on Darwin’s Theory petition, and Needham was a signer.

Leonard’s Ph.D. advisor, Paul E. Post, is primarily associated with technology education at the Ohio State University and has no visible credentials in science or science education. Post replaced Leonard’s first advisor, Paul Vellom, who was a science education specialist, when Vellom left OSU. It’s not clear why Leonard’s current Ph.D. advisor is not in his area of concentration.

As far as we are aware, DiSilvestro and Needham are the only two faculty members of the Ohio State University who have spoken publicly in support of Leonard’s approach to teaching evolution using intelligent design creationist-based materials. (Judging from the model lesson plan Leonard wrote for the Ohio State Board of Education, his materials are primarily drawn from Wells’s Icons of Evolution.) The committee deck was clearly stacked, and a “design inference” regarding the composition of Leonard’s committee seems warranted. As Michael Behe tells us

The strong appearance of design allows a disarmingly simple argument: if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, then, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it’s a duck. Design should not be overlooked simply because it’s so obvious.

When several members of the faculty of the Ohio State University brought these and other anomalies to the attention of appropriate administrators in the Graduate School, the novice Graduate School Representative on Leonard’s Committee, the assistant professor of French & Italian, asked to be relieved, and was immediately replaced by Dr. Joan Herbers, Dean of the College of Biological Sciences and an evolutionary biologist. Shortly thereafter, Leonard’s dissertation defense was postponed, apparently at the request of Leonard’s advisor in consultation with the Math, Science and Technology Education section head.

So what we have is a graduate student, by all reports an earnest young man, who has been led down the garden path, seemingly guided by a couple of tenured ID Creationist faculty members whose anti-evolution agenda apparently overrode any commitment to the integrity of the academic process, the value of graduate education and research, or the well-being of the student. The phrase “cynical manipulation” comes to mind. Regardless of whether Leonard was a willing participant in the exercise, the tenured faculty members involved have a direct responsibility – to education, to science, to their colleagues and university, and to Leonard himself – to ensure that the integrity of the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University is maintained.

By participating in a loaded committee for his dissertation defense, Leonard’s mentors demonstrated as clearly as possible that they have no confidence in Leonard or in the academic worthiness of his dissertation. Had it been otherwise, there’d have been no need to load up his committee with ID Creationists who have no professional qualifications in the subject of Leonard’s thesis research. That behavior is of a piece with the IDC strategy of the last couple of years: fix the jury and you don’t have to worry about the merits of your position. Sternberg publishing Meyer, Sermonti publishing Wells, the Kansas Creationist Kangaroo Court, and now the Leonard affair, all demonstrate the same pattern of behavior: game the system so the fix is in, and science (and education) be damned.

This is emphatically not a case of academic freedom. It is rather another example of academic carpetbagging by the DI and its associated IDC zealots. Academic freedom entails academic responsibility, and it is not apparent that Leonard’s mentors fulfilled their responsibility, either to Leonard personally or to the academic world as a whole.

So Leonard’s dissertation defense is being held in abeyance while the Ohio State University ascertains whether the processes that are intended to ensure the academic integrity of OSU degrees are being adhered to. The dissertation may be a perfectly acceptable piece of work, but the apparent attempt to subvert the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University makes that moot. One more time: the issue is the integrity of that process and the responsibilities of faculty members, not the specific student or his work. One hopes that in the end, Leonard gets an appropriately constituted committee, one that not only satisfies OSU’s requirements but also has the expertise to help Leonard correct any errors introduced by the old committee and that can knowledgeably evaluate his dissertation so his degree is not tainted and he has contributed something of value to science education.

RBH

11 TrackBacks

Trouble in Ohio from The Austringer on June 7, 2005 12:59 PM

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129 Comments

Leonard’s final dissertation committee did not meet those requirements.  It was composed of his advisor, Paul Post from the technology education program area of the section for Math, Science and Technology; Glen R. Needham of the Department of Entomology in the College of Biological Sciences; and Robert DiSilvestro of the Department of Human Nutrition in the College of Human Ecology.  For the final defense an Assistant Professor from the department of French & Italian in the College of Humanities was also assigned to the committee to monitor the procedure.  Thus, there were no members from the science education program area on Leonard’s final dissertation committee.

Amazing. A dissertation committee containing a specialist in technology education, a specialist in insects, a nutritionist, and a professor of Romance Languages. Coming to this cold, it would be completely impossible to guess what field his dissertation was even supposed to be in!

Wow! Thanks for this post RBH.

What’s so damn sad is that the Crowther talking points have already been written. No matter what the outcome at OSU, it’s “Jackbooted Darwinianist bureaucrats stifle free thought – could your child be next?!?!?”

Hopefully his dissertation will be released to the public; when/if it ever is, allow me to make a prediction. It will not contain a scientific theory of ID, but will somehow manage to go on for pages and pages about how to teach the theory of ID.

Prove me wrong, Mr. Leonard.

So what we have is a graduate student, by all reports an earnest young man, who has been led down the garden path, seemingly guided by a couple of tenured ID Creationist faculty members whose anti-evolution agenda apparently overrode any commitment to the integrity of the academic process, the value of graduate education and research, or the well-being of the student.  The phrase “cynical manipulation” comes to mind.  Regardless of whether Leonard was a willing participant in the exercise, the tenured faculty members involved have a direct responsibility — to education, to science, to their colleagues and university, and to Leonard himself — to ensure that the integrity of the degree-granting process at the Ohio State University is maintained.

I can’t believe for a second that Leonard was not a fully aware, willing, and enthusiastic participant in the fast one they were trying to pull here.

Leonard’s PhD and dissertation might be in a lot of trouble here – real universities don’t like having their standards trashed and their normal processes subverted so that outsiders can make political capital.

Can someone tell me if it is common for science dissertations to be defended with members of humanities departments in America. That somewhat confuses me they would even consider that to begin with.

Joseph O’Donnell asked

Can someone tell me if it is common for science dissertations to be defended with members of humanities departments in America. That somewhat confuses me they would even consider that to begin with.

At the Ohio State University, the Graduate School Representative, which is what the French & Italian professor was appointed to the committee to be, is there to monitor procedures and ensure that the process conforms to the requirements of the degree-granting entity.

So, Dr. Joan Herbers won’t have a say on the subject matter, but merely on procedures?

At the Ohio State University, the Graduate School Representative, which is what the French & Italian professor was appointed to the committee to be, is there to monitor procedures and ensure that the process conforms to the requirements of the degree-granting entity.

Looks like the system worked here…

Ahhh ok, now that makes sense to me and I can now see why things have been ‘postponed’. I see that with an evolutionary scientist there, they weren’t going to get away with whatever they were doing as easily. Now it makes sense.

In Russell’s wonderful words (to “Do You Believe In Magic”):

Just go and witness. It may seem like fraud But lying’s a virtue when you’re lying for God

So what we have is a graduate student, by all reports an earnest young man, who has been led down the garden path, seemingly guided by a couple of tenured ID Creationist faculty members whose anti-evolution agenda apparently overrode any commitment to the integrity of the academic process, the value of graduate education and research, or the well-being of the student. The phrase “cynical manipulation” comes to mind.

I consider you a bit cynicism-impaired. Leonard’s eyes seem fully open to me: This was a joint effort to cheat the university and the academic process, on the part of everyone involved. Far from working against “the well-being of the student”, it would have made his career forevermore, placed him at the forefront of the ID movement (even if as a figurehead), created a vehicle for establishing “scientifically verified, establishment-supported” creationism in school curricula across the country, showered Leonard with material riches, backed him with very significant and enthusiastic voting blocs, and so on ad nauseum. You think he didn’t realize this? This was the Big Kahuna, and would have made the suckering of the Smithsonian insignificant by comparison.

Sure it’s dishonest, but creationism is otherwise impossible. And considering the guaranteed spectacular career success about to be showered on Leanord of they could pull this off, hell, I might be tempted to cheat the system myself. After all, I’d be doing it for God!

I think it should be made clear that, whether or not “stacking” occurred (which honestly seems very likely at this point), and whether or not Leonard was aware and in agreement with what was going on, he is very much the victim here.

A graduate student has the right to a thesis committee that will provide expert critical feed-back and guidance on his/her thesis work of the same kind and academic/scientific rigor that the student is likely to encounter in their independent future career. Whether the student wants it or not, it is the duty of faculty members on the committee to provide such guidance and criticism, or recuse themselves. Rubber-stamping a thesis, or even worse leading it in directions that fulfill exceedingly minoritary philosophical preferences of committee members (as opposed to the mentor’s and student’s, who are free to pursue whatever idea they wish) is primarily a disservice to the student, in addition to being a stain on the academic process and the Institution involved. I hope this is not what happened.

Oh come on Flint, do you really think his reward will be any less as a martyr to the cause? Win-win.

hiero5ant Wrote:

Hopefully his dissertation will be released to the public; when/if it ever is, allow me to make a prediction. It will not contain a scientific theory of ID, but will somehow manage to go on for pages and pages about how to teach the theory of ID.

I think the public always has access to PhD dissertations.

But let me alert you to a bit of linguistic legerdemain. Leonard says he’s never taught ID in the classroom. He’s taught “scientific information supporting as well as scientific information challenging evolution”.

(Now, ask yourself this: how would “teaching ID” be any different from teaching bogus challenges to evolution?)

Anyone who wants an idea of Leonard’s work: http://www.evolutionnews.org/index.[…]b=1&pb=1

Just try not to read it on a full stomach.

I think it should be made clear that, whether or not “stacking” occurred (which honestly seems very likely at this point), and whether or not Leonard was aware and in agreement with what was going on, he is very much the victim here. 

A graduate student has the right to a thesis committee that will provide expert critical feed-back and guidance on his/her thesis work of the same kind and academic/scientific rigor that the student is likely to encounter in their independent future career…

But it doesn’t sound like Leonard wanted that at all. This whole thing looks very well thought out, on the part of both Leonard and the creationists he found to stack his committee with. I’d bet he knew a real, legitimately done dissertation on ID wasn’t likely, so he chose to do this end run around the system. He probably also figured if he’d got caught, he’d be ID’s martyr. I don’t have any definition of ‘victim’ in my head that fits what Leonard’s done here.

Besides, he might have the option of reforming, promising OU that he’ll work with real evolutionary biologists from now on, and doing a real, scientifically sound thesis. Think he’ll take that option? :-)

How long til David Horowitz picks up on this one, I wonder?

I admit I’m not currently familiar with any ID proponents whose position rests primarily on their martyrdom. I’ve seen some complaints that they don’t bother to do any research because atheistic peers refuse to publish any so why bother, but there is no specific “professional victim” involved.

So I’m fairly certain that Leonard’s value (to the cause as well as in dollars) is much higher as a PhD from Ohio State University, whose thesis is “How To Sneak ID Into The Classroom.”

On the evidence presented, once again, this was a joint effort on the part of all of the creationists involved, to sneak an anti-science thesis through a somnolent overview process under the banner of “science education.”

Andrea Bottaro has missed an essential point here: The goal is NOT education at all. The goal is the Glory of God, currently blocked at least partially by hidebound Darwinist atheistic academics of the evolutionary religion. Leonard does not consider himself rewarded by a real education and a genuine degree, but rather by the number of 9th graders he can protect from being brainwashed. And, of course, the guaranteed fame and fortune his bogus degree would be worth.

This was a great post. I’m trying to go at the ID community from another angle – Intelligent Design is not only bad science, its crappy theology. The argument from design has been a joke ever since Hume was writing almost 300 years ago. Cardinal Newman was attacking any kind of ‘evidentialism’ - rational, empirical arguments for the existence of God - almost two hundred years ago. The blindness to the rich history of Christian theology of the contemporary evangelical movement is not only silly, it will be their downfall, if I have anything to say about it. I wrote about this in a recent post on my blog, but antispam measures seem to prevent me from posting a direct link.

Joe writes “Can someone tell me if it is common for science dissertations to be defended with members of humanities departments in America. That somewhat confuses me they would even consider that to begin with.”

Its not unusual to have somebody well out of the field of study on the committee. This is done to make sure that no dept. is rubber stamping dissertations. On the other what is not common is to have committee comprised of people entirely outside what your Ph.D.

Course, when OSU craps on this guy as they should wait for ID’s amen corner in the OS legislature to suggest cutting OSU’s funding..

Arden wrote: But it doesn’t sound like Leonard wanted that at all. This whole thing looks very well thought out, on the part of both Leonard and the creationists he found to stack his committee with. I’d bet he knew a real, legitimately done dissertation on ID wasn’t likely, so he chose to do this end run around the system. He probably also figured if he’d got caught, he’d be ID’s martyr. I don’t have any definition of ‘victim’ in my head that fits what Leonard’s done here.

Flint wrote: Andrea Bottaro has missed an essential point here: The goal is NOT education at all. The goal is the Glory of God, currently blocked at least partially by hidebound Darwinist atheistic academics of the evolutionary religion. Leonard does not consider himself rewarded by a real education and a genuine degree, but rather by the number of 9th graders he can protect from being brainwashed. And, of course, the guaranteed fame and fortune his bogus degree would be worth.

It does not matter what Leonard wants, assuming we can tell. A student enrolled in a self-respecting program has the right to a rigorous education, whether they like it or not (and if they don’t, they can drop out). They have the right to be failed if they don’t know the matter of an exam, they have the right to be asked to re-write their thesis as many times as it takes for that document to reach decent academic standards, they have the right not to graduate until they are ready to.

If things are as they seem, Leonard may well choose not graduate at all, end up on theID/creationist lecture circuit and book-writing business, be totally satisfied and make more money out of it that he would have ever made with his PhD, but he still will have been cheated out of a good education by those who did not provide proper oversight to his thesis work.

Tyler Simmons Wrote:

I wrote about this in a recent post on my blog, but antispam measures seem to prevent me from posting a direct link.

Let me guess, are there hyphens in the URL? Try http://www.tinyurl.com

Tyler,

Try tinyurl.com to fix the URL.

RBH

I followed the link and read Leonard’s “lesson plan.” Same old, same old.

What is most telling is how it is so radically out of date. There’s lots about the specious distinction between “microevolution” and “macroevolution,” coupled with the untruth that there are no observed instances of speciation, and a bald-faced misrepresentation of the endosymbiotic theory for the origin of eukaryotes.

Why don’t creationists read the literature?

Of course, I should add that, in his role as teacher, with his “lesson plan” Leonard is cheating his students out of a good education. But that’s another story.

re, the actual dissertation. Until it has been accepted by the committee, and processed by the department and graduate school, and sent to a bindery, and sent to the library and processed; then and only then will it end up on the library shelf. Most libraries do not allow dissertations to circulate, so you couldn’t take it from the building or request it through interlibrary loan (as it’d be very difficult to replace). Some libraries may let you pay them to photocopy it for you.

Pre-defense, he’d have to want it out there for people to be reading for it to be available. I wouldn’t count on it.

LPR

Why don’t creationists read the literature?

Who needs it when you have the “truth”?

re, the actual dissertation. Until it has been accepted by the committee, and processed by the department and graduate school, and sent to a bindery, and sent to the library and processed; then and only then will it end up on the library shelf. Most libraries do not allow dissertations to circulate, so you couldn’t take it from the building or request it through interlibrary loan (as it’d be very difficult to replace). Some libraries may let you pay them to photocopy it for you.

It’s not just the ‘library shelf’ that’s important here – University Microfilms International (they may have changed their name recently) has on file all the dissertations filed in America for quite some time. Far as I know, all American universities send UMI their dissertations. Then people write UMI and place an order for a copy of the dissertation. It’s a good system.

HOWEVER, there is a loophole in that when you file your PhD, you can always stipulate that you only want UMI to sell your thesis to authorized people, or to yourself only, or to no one at all. That might well happen here, if Leonard manages to come out of all this with a Doctorate.

Re “Why don’t creationists read the literature?”

Maybe it’s a bit like reading the instruction manual for a new appliance?

Henry

Andrea Bottaro Wrote:

If things are as they seem, Leonard may well choose not graduate at all, end up on theID/creationist lecture circuit and book-writing business, be totally satisfied and make more money out of it that he would have ever made with his PhD, but he still will have been cheated out of a good education by those who did not provide proper oversight to his thesis work.

After some puzzling, I think I understand what this statement intends. Presumably OSU is capable of providing a quality education to anyone who seeks one. Leonard may not have the slightest interest in a good education, but as faculty and advisors representing OSU, DiSilvestro and Needham (at the very least) should not have permitted this. Their duty as representatives of OSU is, above all, to ensure that nobody is granted a degree in the name of OSU that is less than representative of what OSU stands for.

Personally, I see the school as the victim, and Leonard as one of the con artists trying to pull the swindle. Maybe we could wander off into speculation as to whether Leonard (and DiSilvestro and Needham) would consider a “good education” one that would disallow Leonard’s dissertation. RBH has already pointed out that by violating numerous explicit rules as required to stack the deck, those involved have tacitly conceded that Leonard’s work can’t meet normal standards. But once again, education is neither the short-term nor the long-term goal here, whether or not Leonard “deserves” one. The goal is ultimately exactly the opposite – to corrupt the public education curriculum in the name of fundamentalist doctrine. If education is being explicitly regarded as “the enemy” (and it is, by the very nature of the dissertation), Leonard is only “cheated” from the perspective of someone who does not share his convictions.

Arden Chatfield Wrote:

Far as I know, all American universities send UMI their dissertations.

Nope. It is entirely up to the university. Some still do not. I am also thinking the author can stop it. (From memory of the form I filled out regarding mine.)

Look for the name Proquest if memory serves me well. A dissertation on paper is a bit less than $40.

Bryan Leonard is a recently visible figure in the intelligent design creationism movement.

Can he give us a scientific theory of intelligent design adn tell us how to test it using the scientific method?

Why not?

Can he explain why anyone should pay any more attention to his religious opinions than they should to mine, my nexy door neighbor’s, my car mechanic’s, my veterinarian’s, or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

Why not?

Mike:The majority of the material in Leonard’s course will be good science, even if it is called “Biodesign”.

Is this true? Can a house divided (between science and creationism) stand? If evolution is the central theme of Biology, can one teach in this way? I think TriciafromOhio is onto something important here and applaud her taking the initiative.

Tricia is being extremely helpful. I’m sure other concerned families in Hilliard will join her in time. IMO, the overriding problem with teaching creationism as science isn’t conflict with the first amendment. That’s just one convenient way of stopping it in the courts. The real problem is that it totally destroys the public’s understanding of what science is, even if only presented for a few minutes in a class that otherwise uses good material. The primary goal of educating the general public in science isn’t the memorization of factoids. What we need is a voting public that knows the process of science: how science is conducted, what peer is, and why consensus opinion in the scientific community matters. Gone are the days when science could be left to the educated elite. The public now has to be able to evaluate science reports they hear on the news, differentiate between science and psuedo-science, and weigh ethical concerns based on current scientific knowledge. Creationism teaches that one person’s “theory” is as good as the next one, and any ridiculous claim is enough to bring doubt to a theory. We can’t afford it.

coupla things:

Darkling said: “Teaching well is hard work.”

I guess Lenny was being flip, and should maybe be sent to his room with no supper to think about his words. But good teaching well is what Panda’s Thumb is all about, all kidding aside. When I become emperor of the world, teachers will be the highest paid professionals there are, and it will be a very competitive choice of careers.

TriciaFromOhio said: “Just got off the phone with the assistant superintendent in charge of the curriculum, she had no clue. She is doing further investigations, because they told her they WEREN’T teaching ID, when the biodesign class is all about it. She was not happy.”

Well, I’d largely echo what Mike wrote. But just to refresh everyone’s memory. It’s an easy concession to make, to say you’re not teaching ID, because as we have seen abundantly demonstrated here at PT, there is no theory of ID to teach! It pretty much consists of bogus arguments against evolution with the alternative (Goddidit!) hovering in the background, either explicitly (when rallying the christian soldiers) or implicitly (when trying to sneak it into public schools). The “critical analysis of evolution” plan Leonard co-wrote looked like it was cribbed directly from ID celebrity Jonathan Wells’ “Icons of Evolution”. Does that book promote ID? Or just raise bogus objections to evolution? Is there a difference?

The “critical analysis” plan as originally submitted to the BoE was riddled with patently religious web links, and other references - including to Wells’ book - that were purged last year before the final version was approved. But if Leonard has been teaching this for years, I’m guessing the lesson plan would have been more objectionable than the one made public by the BoE.

Re: “We’re not teaching ID” doublespeak

Case in point: http://tinyurl.com/7t52p The latest from those people with no shame at the Discovery Institute.

test before double posting

Earlier, from R.D.L.Flank: “Those who can, do.

Those who can’t, teach.

Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.”

Thanks for providing encouragement to those of us who are teaching in the trenches, fighting this battle on the front lines. I’d come to expect more from PT than this.

Dude, I’m kidding.

Relax and have a homebrew.

Geez.

Russel Wrote:

I guess Lenny was being flip, and should maybe be sent to his room with no supper to think about his words.

I don’t know that I would go that far, while he is perhaps abrassive he is very good at hounding people in an attempt to get answers. :) Besides to use a phrase from a favoured website “he has balls that clanketh.”

Although I agree teachers are under appreciated just about anywhere they are.

[patriotic urge] Waves black flag with a silver fern emblazoned on it [/patriotic urge]

In terms of teaching, while I’m not a high school teacher (well actually I’m currently a postdoc in a strange land so I’m not doing any teaching at the moment, pity). I found myself running a two day workshop on population viability analysis last year. Fun and games.

I guess it’s not a perfect analogy, but I took it as a matter of professional pride to provide the best information that I could. Which, I guess is the important difference between me and some of the Id’st. I didn’t want to teach them my way of doing the analyses, I wanted to prepare them so that they could sit down and carry out their own anlalyses. Of course I have my own opinions about how to do things. Everybody does. the trick is I can recognise my opinions for what they are. Opinions.

Nevertheless when I’m teaching people I try to offer a variety of ways to analyse/interpret the data. Of course I use scientific methedology or methedologial naturalism. Saying “god did it” doesn’t really satisfy me that much. It’s essentially a cop out. For example My imagintion/intelligence is limited so [insert particular reality here] happens because god wills it so!!!!!

Maybe I just lack the arrogance gene allele to think that my opinions are the end all (and be all and yes I do havce some fairly strong opinions). Still, at the end of the day when I’m teaching I want the students to be able to think for themselves and apply the principles in their own studies. I don’t want to indoctrinate them, because at that point you’re doing a disservice to the students. Something that I believe the ID’st don’t grasp. Looking at Dembski’s blog you can see dissenting comments dissapear rapidly.

While I think (personal oppinion of course) that Nietzsche was nuts. There’s a great line from Thus spoke Zarathustra.

“One requites a teacher badly if one remains merely a student”

I nuess it’s that professional pride thing. I don’t want to indoctrinate people. I want them to think for themselves. Hopefully this is true of academia in general :)

I remember during the first year of my MSc that one of the Professors commented that he reserved the A+ grades for those students who could convincing argue against his position. Not for those who just agree with what he taught. I wonder if this is where the real intelectual corruption inherrnat ion the IDargumetn occurs.

hmm got the error but the post really didn’t get to the server…so here it is.

Comment # 34912

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Comment #34912 Posted by ‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank on June 12, 2005 07:08 PM (e) (s) Education schools are noted for the low quality of their dissertations, thoug. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, go to work for the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture.

I look at it as just a common statement, that isn’t true, that Lenny tried to put a funny spin on.

You have a whole range of people that teach from those that are just there for an easy ride to those that engage and lift the students to a new level. For those that really believe the statement above look at it this way. Good teachers can be looked at like a head of a huge team. Good teachers get exposed to move ideas then most professional. They have tons of students hopefully excited about their field. Asking new questions and putting a fresh perspective on things.

I learned more in 2 1/2 years of teaching then I did in the previous 10 years of professional work. I tried to be as prepared for my student’s questions as I could and if I couldn’t answer their question then and there I always got back to them after researching the question.

Now before we get any one like S.T.C. saying that students bring a fresh look to ID let us remind him and his friends that they have brought nothing to the table to study and teach about ID when it comes to actual science.

My hat goes off to the many teachers out there at all levels that engage their students with the facts and help them learn. I feel sorry for the students of teachers like JAD who can’t even get the facts straight in their own area of study then us quotes from great scientists without understanding the context of the quote to try to bolster their position.

Hats off to teachers like Professor Myers and hats off to the students of JAD who, despite his obvious short comings, made it past his near useless teachings.

Here we see 2 ends of the scale. Thankfully the scales are tipped to Myers end.

A more complete quote from Thus spoke Zarathustra

One repays a teacher badly if one always remains only a pupil. And why, then, should you not pluck at my laurels?

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on June 7, 2005 12:44 PM.

ID in their own words: Paul Nelson was the previous entry in this blog.

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