Scopes coverage and a New Scientist in the SF Chronicle

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The San Francisco Chronicle had an opinion essay from New Scientist editor James Randerson yesterday. See “80 years later, Scopes trial debate still alive”. Yesterday, notably, was the 80th Anniversiary of the Scopes Trial, which still informs discussion of all modern battles over evolution education – and rightly so in my opinion. The modern situation cannot be understood without William Jennings Bryan and his 1921-1925 anti-evolution crusade. You think “theory, not fact” policies are new? Well, Bryan got his crusade going a few years before the 1925 Scopes Trial. The first antievolution law was passed in Oklahoma in 1923, followed by Bryan’s home state of Florida. 1924 was a legislative off-year, but in the Scopes era some states took nonlegislative actions. According to Ed Larson, Trial and Error (2003, p. 75):

Supplementing this legislative activity, some state and local educational boards took the initiative in moving against evolutionary teaching. A year before the Scopes trial, the state Board of Education in California had directed teachers to present Darwinism “as a theory only”.…

(Other action was subsequently taken by the North Carolina Board of Education, the Texas Textbook Commission (sound familiar?), and the Louisiana Superintendent of Education.)

NPR’s On the Media did a story, “Evolving Coverage” yesterday on the Scopes media coverage – one interesting factoid is that they rolled wire all the way down to Dayton to pipe the audio out to national radio stations. And All Things Considered has a timeline, photo series, and story collection on Scopes then and now.

Hat-tip to SF Chronicle and Scopes coverage. RSR has lots of good stuff in general.

14 Comments

Let’s go back to the early 20th century and undo all of the crimes:

Do not allow women to vote Galaxies? Certainly not. Just big fuzzy stars Lynching? You mean it is not allowed now? Humans from apes? Maybe those “dark” people

This is a PR/political battle. Clearly, common sense has no say. Confronting creationists/ID’ers with hard facts and demeaning language will not help, however tempting.

And the “both sides of the story” nonsense needs to stop by the various media outlets. Sure, it is a study in psychology for why creationists/ID’ers do not WANT to accept evolution, but that doesn’t make their OPINION on equal footing of scientific facts.

Why is science held is such low disrgard amongst these people? Seemingly, being “logical” is bad and “believing” in evolution is, well, a belief!

I believe understanding our origins is one of humanities greatest accomplishiments.

Just ranting …

How different things would have been had Darrow had a copy of Judah Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF to wave in Bryan’s face!

“How different things would have been had Darrow had a copy of Judah Landa’s IN THE BEGINNING OF to wave in Bryan’s face!”

This garbage was dealt with a few weeks ago, when it was revealed that “Carol Clouser” is a publicist for Judah Landa: http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archi[…]/001161.html

In the op-ed, James Randerson wrote: “To qualify, ID must make predictions that can be tested and potentially refuted.”

“ID” can’t make predictions. “ID” is inert matter. Some humans can make predictions. I know my point will sound like annoying quibbling, but it’s important. We humans are trying to figure things out, and we use language to do it. But organisms are the only things we known of that are capable of making predictions.

Now some people who have referred to themselves as “proponents of intelligent design” have offered claims that are inaccurate. For instance, one person I know who has referred to himself as a “proponent of intelligent design” told me that a deity or extraterrestrial turned dust directly into two elephants (one male and one female). He said that every elephant to have lived on earth is a descendent of at least one of these two elephants. In his view, it would be possible for an elephant to be a descendent of only one of these two elephants, because each of the first two elephants could reproduce with its offspring.

But a deity or extraterrestrial did not turn dust directly into two elephants (one male and one female). All mammals to live on earth (including all elephants) descended from reptiles.

I’ve seen someone else who has referred to himself as a “proponent of intelligent design” say that humans and chimps don’t share common ancestors. I’m assuming he is saying that a deity or extraterrestrial turned dust directly into two humans (one male and one female). But all mammals, including all humans and all chimps, descended from reptiles. At least it overwhelmingly probable that they did. So humans and chimps do share common ancestors.

I admit that most people who I’ve seen refer to themselves as “proponents of intelligent design” have never – at least from what I’ve seen – indicated what event(s) on earth they believe the designer caused. But some people who I’ve seen refer to themselves as “proponents of intelligent design” have done so.

All mammals to live on earth (including all elephants) descended from reptiles.

Not exactly. Synapsids —> mammals, and sauropsids —> reptiles

An old paraphyletic (booo!) definition of reptilia had the earliest sauropsids as ‘reptiles’ but this has been cleared up.

Pete, thanks.

Often (usually?) these labels – like “mammal” and “reptile” – aren’t particularly helpful. Sometimes they get in the way of our understanding the really interesting and important point, namely that self-replicating molecules evolved into all organisms that have lived on earth.

The annual reenactment of the Scopes Trial will be held at the Rhea County Courthouse on July 15-17 this year. An article in our local Herald-News has more information.

Carol, the butt-whipping you received last time made you look (at least to me) uninformed and unused to real argument, but sincere. Trotting out more of the same stuff forces me to revise that to uninformed and insincere.

One of the things that Americans might wish to ponder is that biological research will be carried on somewhere. If it isn’t carried on in the US, it will be carried on in Europe and/or in Asia. Limitations on bio research in the US is nothing more than posturing.

On the other hand, limitations on bio research in the US is sending US researchers and bio companies abroad. One might seriously wonder whether the chief product produced in the US is corn. Indeed, many of the supposedly-US movies are produced in studios in the Czech Republic. How American is that?

The New Scientist special issue on creationism - plus more - can be found at:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel[…]fe/evolution

snaxalotl Wrote:

“Carol, the butt-whipping you received last time…”

I’m guessing that today’s “Carol Clouser” is not the previous Carol Clouser, but rather a pretty well-timed spoof.

Perhaps this article on the Scopes trial is worthy of reply?

http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north394.html

> Perhaps this article on the Scopes trial is worthy of reply?

And perhaps you’re a troll.

On the other hand, limitations on bio research in the US is sending US researchers and bio companies abroad. One might seriously wonder whether the chief product produced in the US is corn. Indeed, many of the supposedly-US movies are produced in studios in the Czech Republic. How American is that?

Economically, there is no such thing as “countries” any more. Any “American” corporation that you can name, is at least partially owned by “foreign” corporations, and vice versa. They all do much of their work overseas.

A friend of mine demonstrated the silliness of the whole “buy American” thingie a few years ago, when he and I went to a conference at a United Auto Workers Hall. They had a policy at the time of not allowing any “foreign” cars onto their parking lot, so when my friend pulled up in his Toyota, they got all bent out of shape over his “Japanese” car, until he calmly told them “This car was manufactured in Tennessee”.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on July 11, 2005 12:13 PM.

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