Careless reading?

| 18 Comments

Wishful (or careless) reading seems to be an ongoing ‘problem’ at the people at the Center for the renewal of science and Culture of the Discovery Institute.

When the University of Idaho reiterated its commitment to teaching scientifically relevant theories in science classes, the Discovery Institute (DI) was quick to accuse the university of attacking academic freedom. What caught my eye however was the following statement.

Rob Crowther Wrote:

The University of Idaho maintains that the edict censoring science wasn’t focused at [Scott] Minnich, but it seems that even [Eugenie] Scott found that hard to believe.

So what is it that Eugenie Scott said that led Crowther to make this statement?

Rob Crowther Wrote:

[Eugenie] Scott said the school’s science faculty, who invited her, haven’t explicitly mentioned [Scott] Minnich as motivation for bringing her for a lecture titled “Why Scientists Reject Intelligent Design.”

Still, “the elephant in the living room is: there is a proponent of intelligent design on the faculty of the University of Idaho,” said Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education.

Eugenie Scott was commenting on the invitation by the school’s science faculty to present a lecture on “Why scientists reject Intelligent Design”. She was not commenting on the statement made by the president of the University of Idaho.

Note also that the quote ‘forgot’ to include the full statement by Scott

Still, “the elephant in the living room is: there is a proponent of intelligent design on the faculty of the University of Idaho,” said Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. “Biologists across the country have examined intelligent design as a scientific model, and found it seriously lacking.”

Link

In addition, the claim of “censoring science” is an exaggeration of what the president really stated, as a more careful reading of his comments would clearly indicate. For instance, the president is not censoring science, but is reiterating the University’s commitment to teaching scientifically relevant theories in science classes. How this has become, “censoring science” in Crowther’s world escapes my logic.

For the moment I will ignore the other strawmen raised in the article. Such as the claim about the experiment with bacteria. Anyone familiar with the statement from the University should realize that much of the DI’s ‘objections’ are highly exaggerated.

Then again, what else is there to do when Intelligent Design itself has been shown to be scientifically vacuous?

What is meant by the “elephant in the living room” metaphor?

It refers to the reluctance of friends, family or acquaintances (of an addicted person) to address the problems face to face.

I am not sure how Eugenie Scott’s statement about the “elephant in the living room” can be logically extended, given its context to the statement by the president of the Idaho University.

Somehow Eugenie Scott’s statement on the initiative of the science faculty to invite her to present her lecture, hs become a statement on the actions of the president of the Idaho university.

Am I missing something here?

18 Comments

How this has become, “censoring science” in Crowther’s world escapes my logic.

Duh! Intelligent Design is science! So not teaching it is censorship!

*vomits*

Intelligent Design is science? Why? How does ID explain the bacterial flagellum? Poof?… ID is scientifically vacuous. It’s as simple as that.

As a Vandal alumnus, I feel proud that Scott making a presentation. I also feel ashamed that it was necessary for her to come.

BTW - The bacteria experiment as described clearly demonstrates evidence for evolutionary theory not refutation. The resistant bacterial is placed in a new environment. What was good fitness before, isn’t good anymore. Changing environments select for different adaptations. Wasting your energy to resist antibiotics that are no longer present is not an advantage over those bacteria who spend their energy reproducing.

DUH!

Chad Rawlins A high school science teacher with a free moment.

Re: Comment #52297 by vandalhooch

BTW - The bacteria experiment as described clearly demonstrates evidence for evolutionary theory not refutation. The resistant bacterial is placed in a new environment. What was good fitness before, isn’t good anymore. Changing environments select for different adaptations. Wasting your energy to resist antibiotics that are no longer present is not an advantage over those bacteria who spend their energy reproducing.

Exactly right! If the environment no longer calls for a given adaptation, whatever bacteria mutates so that it is no longer wasting energy on that adaptation will have a selective advantage in reproducing, similar to Spiegelman’s Monster.

From The Fifth Miracle, Paul Davies, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1999, pp. 127-128:

The Qb virus doesn’t need anything as complicated as a cell in order to replicate: a test tube full of suitable chemicals is enough. The experiment, conducted by Sol Spiegelman of the University of Illinois, consisted of introducing the viral RNA into a medium containing the RNA’s own replication enzyme, plus a supply of raw materials and some salts, and incubating the mixture. When Spiegelman did this, the system obligingly replicated the strands of naked RNA. Spiegelman then extracted some of the freshly synthesized RNA, put it in a separate nutrient solution, and let it multiply. He then decanted some of that RNA into yet another solution, and so on, in a series of steps.

The effect of allowing unrestricted replication was that the RNA that multiplied fastest won out, and got passed on to the “next generation” in the series. The decanting operation therefore replaced, in a highly accelerated way, the basic competition process of Darwinian evolution, acting directly on the RNA. In this respect it resembled an RNA world.

Spiegelman’s results were spectacular. As anticipated, copying errors occurred during replication. Relieved of the responsibility of working for a living and the need to manufacture protein coats, the spoon-fed RNA strands began to slim down, shedding parts of the genome that were no longer required and merely proved to be an encumbrance. The RNA molecules that could replicate the fastest simply out-multiplied the competition. After seventy-four generations, what started out as an RNA strand with 4,500 nucleotide bases ended up as a dwarf genome with only 220 bases. This raw replicator with no frills attached could replicate very fast. It was dubbed Spiegelman’s monster.

Incredible though Spiegelman’s results were, an even bigger surprise lay in store. In 1974, Manfred Eigen and his colleagues also experimented with a chemical broth containing Qb replication enzyme and salts, and an energized form of the four bases that make up the building blocks of RNA. They tried varying the quantity of viral RNA initially added to the mixture. As the amount of input RNA was progressively reduced, the experimenters found that, with little competition, it enjoyed untrammeled exponential growth. Even a single RNA molecule added to the broth was enough to trigger a population explosion. But then something truly amazing was discovered. Replicating strands of RNA were still produced even when not a single molecule of viral RNA was added! To return to my architectural analogy, it was rather like throwing a pile of bricks into a giant mixer and producing, if not a house, then at least a garage. At first Eigen found the results hard to believe, and checked to see whether accidental contamination had occurred. Soon the experimenters convinced themselves that they were witnessing for the first time the spontaneous synthesis of RNA strands form their basic building blocks. Analysis revealed that under some experimental conditions the created RNA resembled Spiegelman’s monster.

So, since Mr. Rawlins can figure it out, perhaps DI should consider hiring him and several other similarly adept-at-understanding-science high school teachers to teach Nelson and the rest what evolution is an how it works.

It would be money well invested.

Oh, but can’t you see? The experiments were carried out by humans. The RNA strands were “intellegently designed”! not

Ed

I prefer to spend my time with high school students. Some of them are still reachable and open to learning how to think. I may enjoy a good verbal discussion with my kids, but not with Nelson. My head has had enough stitches already; slamming my skull against that wall is just plain futile.

Chad Rawlins A high school science teacher on his way home.

Re “But then something truly amazing was discovered. Replicating strands of RNA were still produced even when not a single molecule of viral RNA was added!”

Wow! That sounds like something the “explain abiogenesis” crowd doesn’t want to hear! :)

Henry

Chad,

Your time is better invested as you spend it now, you’re right!

Ed

Speaking of careless reading, and careless writing, the York Daily Record and the York Dispatch are listing Scott Minnich as an “an Iowa State University associate professor of biology” and “Iowa State University professor”.

While Minnich’s Ph.D. is from Iowa State, he is an associate professor in the University of Idaho’s Dept. of Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

It seems the source of the ‘I state error’ is the Dover school board.

William Saletan ‘Grow some Testables’ article in Slate

Correction, Sept. 30, 2005: The Dover school board submitted two briefs on July 13, 2005. One said Minnich was a professor at Iowa State. The other said he was a professor at the University of Idaho. Based on the first brief, I said he was at Iowa State. The second brief turns out to be the correct one.

The I = Idaho or I = Iowa error is old hat here in the gem state. It happens almost anytime I visit a state that does not border Idaho. There was a book written about 20 years ago that documented all the errors associated with misidentifying Idaho in popular culture, news, and elsewhere (including the post office). Most Idahoans simply nod their heads, give a subtle sigh, and move on.

Chad Rawlins

Just looked up the book. Seems to be a new edition (2003).

Is Idaho in Iowa?: The Dumbfounding Confusion

by Tim Woodward

Chad

The I = Idaho or I = Iowa error is old hat here in the gem state.

Yup, I grew up in an ‘I’ state as well. I guess that’s too much attention to detail to ask for a legal document in a case receiving national attention, and possibly bound for the supreme court.

I grew up in an ‘I’ state: Ignorance. Does that count? I’ve been working on it, and I hope by the time I die I have moved to another state. The actual geopolitical US state I grew up in (and still live in) is Georgia, which coincidentally is at times interchangeable with Ignorance. Maybe it too will one day evolve.

Well, I grew up in Pennsyvlania and moved to Florida. I *thought* I was moving from an Educated state to an Ignorant one. But, Dover dispelled that illusion for me.

Georgia? I wuz born and got 3/4 of my edycashion in Tennessee. Or maybe I shouldn’t admit that here?

Henry

the fact that eugenie scott alluded to a “white elephant” at the UI, obviously Dr Minnich, lends credibility to any determination of violating Dr Minnich’s academic freedom with the letter sent out by White, the freedom to recognize structures at the molecular level that violate the evolutionary dictum of gradualism and natural selection, a process that is modeled by the vast majority of Darwinists without ever satisfying the restrictions of mass, momentum, energy conservation and entropy generation.

Ms Scott is well known for her desires to suppress any discussions that call into question the naturalistic philosophy and religion of evolution. Her tactics on national radio programs and her comments with regard to Dr Minnich remind one of those espoused by the third reich in adopting evolution and eugenics as their state sponsored philosophy and religion, burning the books of Einstein and others. The fringe of evolutionary thought seems to be the predominant philosophy by the writer of this post, whom if the tables were turned and White had stated evolution would not be taught, would be howling, along with Ms Scott that academic freedom was at an end. What is good for the goose is good for the gander since they seem to be quite close on your evolutionary tree.

There was no exaggeration of what White or Ms Scott said, she likes to look intellectual (as does White) but neither they or the writer of this post give little thought to the real test of evolution being able to be examined in the realm of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, since all living systems are far from equilibrium.

Minnich is actually looking at testing microevolution using bacteria that develop antibiotic resistance and why the nonresistant strain takes over when removed from that environment. I know that you EvoRevo folks will say it is proof of natural selection and adaption without so much as giving a thought to the analogy of nonequilibrium and equilibrium states and that this experiment may actually give us a basis to investigate microevolution with physics, a science in which we dont worry about natural selection and search algorithms applied to neutrons. It’s much easier to explain things with fairy tales, that way you dont have to do any real science and math.

If Ms Scott had her way she would get rid of Minnich, the real reason she describes an honest scientist and researcher who has greatly contributed in his field. She and White and the evo babbling left are the real threat to science and society. Perhaps Ms Scott’s first name of Eugenie really does come from Eugenics, I would bet that “A Civic Biology” and “Memoirs of the Third Reich” are on her library shelf, as well as White’s.

Shame on you people that try and minimize what is going on, either adopting neo-darwinism or fringe Christianity to limit academic freedom, why aren’t you screaming bloody murder at the travesty of not allowing critical thought against evolution when you do the same with Christianity or any other philosophy, allowing a good man following his conscience to be villified by an adminsitrator who could not solve an equation if his life depended on it or a philosopher that cloaks herself in the guise of science that wants absolutely no critical thought against Darwinism. I think Darwin, a critical thinker, is rolling in his grave right now.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 13, 2005 10:46 PM.

Education Law and Evolution was the previous entry in this blog.

Iconoclasts of Evolution: Haeckel, Behe, Wells & the Ontogeny of a Fraud is the next entry in this blog.

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