Call for Action in Ohio

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Just Scheduled: Public Info Sessions

Ohio Citizens for Science will host two public information sessions Sunday and Monday evenings on Ohio’s creationist lesson plan and the history and impact of this insult to science and religion. Details here.

Things are heating up in Ohio post-Kitzmiller. The ID troops are spinning Kitzmiller as the aberration of an activist judge (a conservative Republican) who vastly over-stepped the acceptable boundaries of judicial behavior. Tim Sandefur eviscerated that argument here on the Thumb and on Positive Liberty.

Ohio Citizens for Science is issuing a call for action this weekend. We ask people – both in Ohio and elsewhere – to write/email/phone to urge the restoration of good science in Ohio’s schools. In particular, we urge contacting Jim Petro, current state Attorney General who is running for Governor. Let Petro know that it’s time for leadership, not political pandering. The main points to stress are below the fold in the recommended message. Both in-state and out of state people are encouraged to contact Petro. Please also contact members of the State Board of Education with your support for honest science education.

Ohio’s board of education will meet next Tuesday, Jan 10, in Columbus to decide whether to comply with the recent federal court ruling against intelligent-design creationism and its disingenuous “teach the controversy” ploy.

Please write or CALL TODAY to State Board members (as many as you can) and Attorney General Jim Petro.

Board Members’ email addresses are here. Contact them all!

Petro Campaign contact info (we recommend that you contact his campaign; this is a political issue):

Contact via his campaign web site or email him at email(AT)jimpetro.com or call the campaign at 1-877-JIM-2006.

Background and more info below the fold.

Suggested Message to Petro: Amend to taste

Dear Mr. Petro,

Please protect Ohio from the creationist folly of the Board of Education!

Ohio can afford neither the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars nor the national ridicule a Monkey Trial would bring upon our state.

Please counsel the Board to remove Ohio’s creationist benchmark and lesson plan immediately and restore the Ohio Academy of Science’s full definition of science.

Counsel the board to act immediately at their meeting next week. Advise them to avoid time-wasting charades that would produce more embarrassment in the long run. They have the facts; they need to act now.

The Ohio case is very clear. As in Dover, both the Board and the public recognized the issue at stake as inherently religious. Like Dover, evolutionary theory was singled out for special and unjustified criticism. As in Dover, the claims for a scientific basis for objecting to evolution were all drawn directly from scientifically-discredited creationist literature. And as in Dover, the board ignored the best advice of its own science experts as well as outside experts.

Of course, the creationists on the board claim there is no religious intent or content. But that’s what the defendants have said in all these creationist cases from Epperson to Edwards to Freiler to Dover. But when they go to court, the state loses every time.

As Judge John E Jones III said in the Dover decision:

“The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.”

Ohio needs your leadership at this crucial juncture. The board is nearly deadlocked with a few members still deciding. Leadership from the Attorney General on this important legal issue would make all the difference in the world.

Please protect our freedom of religion, protect our children’s understanding of science, and protect the integrity and reputation of the state of Ohio.

Stand up for Ohio, Mr. Petro!

Some Background

ID proponents in Ohio are in deep denial mode. Deborah Owens Fink, one of the primary ID proponents on the State BOE, was quoted in the Akron Beacon Journal as saying

“I really think it has no impact,” Deborah Owens Fink of Akron said of the Pennsylvania decision.

Jones’ opinion does seem to address language like Ohio’s.

“ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class,” he wrote. “This tactic is at best disingenuous and at worst a canard.”

In light of that, Owens Fink stressed the ruling’s limits.

“The decision only applies to Dover,” she said. “Our students should critically analyze evolution, as they should all scientific theories.”

She acknowledges, though, that evolution is the only theory specifically designated for scrutiny here. That’s because of the “dogmatism with which evolution is taught,” she explained, as opposed to the laws of gravity, for instance.

Sure thing. Nothing dogmatic about teaching the laws of gravity – shoot, it might well be Intelligent Falling Theory (see also here). And of course physicists readily accept that some intelligent agent could be acting to push stuff down. Sure thing.

Owens Fink started the Ohio ID push by offering a “two model” motion in 2000 – teach both ID and evolutionary theory, the motion said. It was defeated, leading to the involvement of the Disco Institute and ultimately to the weakening of the science standards and the creationist-based model lesson plan. (Recall that the Disco Institute contacted the Dover BOE when members of that Board started muttering about “50/50” teaching of evolution and creationism. The DI proved to be a weak reed in that instance, as I suspect it will be in Ohio.)

We are told that Sue Westendorf, the current President of the Ohio BOE and an ID supporter, is telling people that she doesn’t care if the Board is sued over the issue. That is incredible hubris given the track record of ID creationist failures in the federal courts. She simply doesn’t give a damn how much Ohio tax money is wasted on pseudo-science.

Now it is time to press the Board to cease being the tool of a sectarian socio-political movement and to take responsibility for honest science education in Ohio.

49 Comments

Let’s hope that everyone who showed up to see Ken Miller speak at CWRU (my husband’s alma mater) writes a letter.

Let us also hope that the “If you push ID then it will be slapped down in court. which will be very expensive and make you all look like rubes” angle is pushed.

Deborah Owens-Fink said: “Our students should critically analyze evolution, as they should all scientific theories.”

Exactly! That’s what I keep trying to tell her. See, for other scientific theories, we don’t promote bogus criticisms ginned up by disgruntled religious wing-nuts, we don’t suggest to students that a few popular books, universally deplored by any scientist with the competence to review them, are somehow comparable to millions of person-hours of research presented in hundreds of thousands of peer-reviewed articles in professional academic journals, and we don’t - and this is important! - confuse a social/religious/political dispute with a scientific controversy.

i was born and raised in ohio and am currently a biology major at the university of cincinnati. i have always been proud of my state, city, and university. however, if this IDiocy continues, i will be ashamed to call myself a buckeye.

Unfortunately, Jim Petro’s gubernatorial campaign ads make it very clear that he is a good Christian soldier, ready to stand against all manner of societal evils. I fear that any appeals for his assistance in this matter are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Unfortunately, Jim Petro’s gubernatorial campaign ads make it very clear that he is a good Christian soldier, ready to stand against all manner of societal evils. I fear that any appeals for his assistance in this matter are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Um, so what you’re saying is that he does not perceive or acknowledge that a campaign of deliberate deception inteneded to undermine the foundational law of our society is a “societal evil”? Or that the persistent violation of a commandment, allegedly in the defense of a religion which holds that commandment to be the word of the creator is a “societal evil”? He must be a really strange frood.

AJ wrote

Unfortunately, Jim Petro’s gubernatorial campaign ads make it very clear that he is a good Christian soldier, ready to stand against all manner of societal evils. I fear that any appeals for his assistance in this matter are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Yeah, Petro is trying to edge as far to the right as Blackwell to try to siphon off Blackwell voters in the primary. But he’s the AG, and the appropriate person to push, along with the board of education. Contacting the campaign rather than his office is intended to send a political message that pandering to the religious right isn’t an automatic winning strategy for him.

RBH

Because it’s political, I made my comment to Petro political. In particular, I mentioned how – despite Dover’s heavily Republican population – the Republicans went 0 for 8 in the November election, and the Democratic ticket swept the elections. Pandering to the rightmost wing when it comes to science classes may look tempting, but when people actually try it they discover it’s the third rail.

Um, so what you’re saying is that he does not perceive or acknowledge that a campaign of deliberate deception inteneded to undermine the foundational law of our society is a “societal evil”?

No, I think david gehrig got it right. To a politician, a societal evil is losing the election. Second place for most is WAY down there, though there are probably some creationist politicians who would denounce their faith ONLY to win election, but not for any other reason. You know, the True Believers.

So gehrig is right. Emphasize that if a halfway-rational public gets riled up, the extremists are going to lose. The extremists, of course, are ALWAYS riled up.

For those who would consider voicing their opinion at the Ohio Board of Education meeting, it will be held at at the Ohio School for the Deaf, 500 Morse Road, Columbus, beginning at 8:00 AM (two addresses are listed in the link above).

At Dr. Miller’s lecture, Dr. Patricia Princehouse of the OCS said that the Board will first meet with lawyers in a closed-door session(!); but later there exists an opportunity for public comment. This may (but is not expected to) begin as early as 11:00 AM; those arriving by 1:00 PM will still be heard.

Oops—the “link above” is this one from the Ohio Dept. of Education Web site.

Folks, this is one where we put red/blue politics aside, and let the Ohio Board of Education and the Ohio Attorney General’s office know that there are serious concerns from a large number of scientists and citizens regarding science education. Keep in mind that the theme is “honest science education” … something we haven’t had in Ohio for a long time.

Thanks, Jeff McKee Born & reared a Buckeye

Well said, Jeff. Science education in Ohio and other parts of the US is abysmal. Evolution is covered so poorly that its no suprise that cases like this are popping up all over. Lets put the public back in the public schools.

How would you recommend that someone who isn’t even from the same country draft a letter in a way that is actually likely to get attention? Or isn’t it worth the effort? (hey, if they’re not listening to their own sciencey types…)?

Folks, this is one where we put red/blue politics aside, and let the Ohio Board of Education and the Ohio Attorney General’s office know that there are serious concerns from a large number of scientists and citizens regarding science education

I agree. And for that reason, folks might also want to let Ted Strickland (and any other Democrats that I’m not aware of running for governor) know that this is an important issue. You can put all the pressure you want on one side or the other, but if both sides are not made to take a public position on it, it’s all too likely neither side will feel particularly motivated to follow up on campaign commitments.

Current Governor Taft got away with behind the scenes string-pulling at the BoE because not enough people were paying attention.

corkscrew asked

How would you recommend that someone who isn’t even from the same country draft a letter in a way that is actually likely to get attention? Or isn’t it worth the effort? (hey, if they’re not listening to their own sciencey types…)?

Emphasize how foolish Ohio will look sitting right next to Dover, PA, in the law books, and the economic impact of eviscerating science education in Ohio public schools.

RBH

Posted by Corkscrew on January 6, 2006 06:08 PM (e) (s)

How would you recommend that someone who isn’t even from the same country draft a letter in a way that is actually likely to get attention? Or isn’t it worth the effort? (hey, if they’re not listening to their own sciencey types…)?

I am not sure it would be good idea for us non-USA people to write. It might be taken the wrong way and have a bad effect.

“For those who would consider voicing their opinion at the Ohio Board of Education meeting, it will be held at at the Ohio School for the Deaf…”

Is anyone elses irony meter going off the scale?

Methinks people voicing their opinions may struggle to be heard.

Unfortunately, I think Stephen Elliott may be right in his claim that non-USA person’s letters may be taken wrong. Personally, I always think that collecting the most evidence and thoughts on a subject is the best thing to do; only then can we weed the crap from the important ideas. However, even though the wing-nuts claim to support this “freedom of thought,” what they really support is the “you can only be free if you think like I do” idea.

So, I am sure they will see outside letters as an infringement on their “rights” to do the business of government. I mean, surely, outsiders can’t have any legitimate say in what our democratically elected leaders are doing, blah, blah, blah.

If you are to weigh in on the Ohio issue, I’d make things as cordial as possible but, of course, that is what most of you good scientists have been doing forever.… Don’t really know how to remedy this blind eye many on the far right turn on this issue.

I think it’s hard to have a dialogue with people who believe it is their God-given right not to be offended.

I think it’s probably wisest to keep the main focus on Ohio residents, who are the people with clout at the voting booth in this case. That said: I’ve forwarded this link, and one to Ohio Citizens for Science, to a couple of like-minded friends who either live in Ohio or have family there. If you have friends or relatives who are likely to support the effort of OCfS, this is the time to roust them.

I am not sure it would be good idea for us non-USA people to write. It might be taken the wrong way and have a bad effect.

it surely is a sign of the times that there is a kernel of truth to this statement.

*sigh*

write anyway; when in doubt, do the right thing, not the politically expedient one.

In 2002, 52 people, including lawyers, high school teachers (current and retired), college professors, and interested parents each talked for 3 minutes to the school board. Only 2-4 of them were ID proponents, the rest were evolutionists. The school board voted in favor of ID even though the majority was pro evo. These proevos gave every evidence for evolution from the scientific evidence, to the inaccurate and fudged arguments for ID. The school board had met in closed session before the 52 presentations and evidently had made their decision. Politics trumps science!!! It is so discouraging to we science teachers to here the argument that evolution is atheistic, because most of the scientific individuals in the group of 52 were also christian individuals.

Just like Corkscrew, I was tempted to write, even though I am a foreigner living in this country. Partly, this is because I simply like this country and hope to see it develop well (which will not continue if science education is eroded), partly because feel this is part of a wider struggle between the rational and the irrational, a struggle which unfortunately knows no borders.

I still haven’t made up my mind on the best course of action, but want you all to know that a lot of people “from outside” are behind you in this!

Forget science, facts, & evidence, politicians aren’t interested.

1) Point out the monetary “costs” associated with ID (how many lawsuits are they willing to lose?). 2) Point out the political “costs” associated with ID (make sure they understand you’ll vote them out)

1) Point out the monetary “costs” associated with ID (how many lawsuits are they willing to lose?).

that works all the way up until the point where ID actually wins in a court case somewhere, perhaps even with the appeal to the cobb ruling?

2) Point out the political “costs” associated with ID (make sure they understand you’ll vote them out)

uh, like the political costs of claiming your a fundamentalist christian who believes in creationism while you run for the Presidency of the US? or the governorship of texas, florida, etc. etc.

these things are only “costs” when the IDiots are in the minority in the general population.

It takes a tremendous effort to overcome that; I think that’s why the school board members in Dover were so surprised to be voted out, and even then, it was not a “mandate” by any stretch of the imagination.

I guess my point is that relying on such strategies is fickle at best. Educating folks on the fallacies and motivations behind the ID movement can still produce results, the single case against that notion that Warren brought up notwithstanding. It’s still the best long-term strategy.

partly because feel this is part of a wider struggle between the rational and the irrational, a struggle which unfortunately knows no borders

very true.

The struggle is not a new one.

I do wonder when, or even if, it will ever end.

Two things:

1. While admire the spirit of the “let’s try to keep letters apolitical” argument, I think that such sentiment is a little bit misguided. If one wishes to persuade a group of scientists, one publishes work in a scientific journal and cites all relevent research on the subject, as this is the language of science. When one wishes to persuade politicians, one much speak in the language of politics. While I am not insinuating that politicians do not sometimes act purely in the best interest of the public, let’s not kid ourselves. The most important thing for a politician to consider is how a particular policy will be perceived. The idea here is not to persuade a politician that ID is bad policy, or that he’s going to lose an election if he supports it. Both are true, but beside the point for a Republican politician. The important thing is to persuade him that this issue carries too much weight in comparison to any potential gain. Make him realize that there are far easier and less damaging methods of picking up the fundie vote than obliterating his state’s science standards.

2. Letters from outside Ohio can be useful in the sense that they convey that their state could become a national laughing stock, but I don’t think that this will be nearly as effective as letters from Ohio residents. Why? Because the biggest concern of any politician is from within his own constituents. People outside of Ohio do not vote in Ohio. Also, there is some chauvinism here as well…imagine Diane Feinstein’s reaction to a red-state letter writer calling her a commie pinko hippie.

The school board voted in favor of ID even though the majority was pro evo. These proevos gave every evidence for evolution from the scientific evidence, to the inaccurate and fudged arguments for ID. The school board had met in closed session before the 52 presentations and evidently had made their decision. Politics trumps science!!!

This is very problematical. The politics and the creationism are very difficult to disentangle, even if there is in principle any way to do so. These people ARE creationists, ran on that basis, were elected on that basis, so it’s hard to tell the politics from the religion. You might think that if politics were determinative, they’d vote for science based on the hearings even if they were creationists, but it’s not that simple. They listened to a couple dozen pro-science people. They were *elected* by a couple *thousand* anti-science people. Numbers matter.

I submit that even an ironclad demonstration that clinging to creationsim will cost them the election, won’t cause creationists to change their beliefs (though it may well cause them to change their campaign strategy). And it seems pretty clear from experience elsewhere that even the guarantee that pushing creationism into science classes will cost them the election, won’t deter these people from preaching creationism in science class. They don’t *believe* that the voters will reject Jesus. God will come to the rescue.

So the better strategy is to appeal to the voters as a whole directly: How much money do you want to blow? How many of your tax dollars do you choose to waste? Make it clear to the voters: they’re going to teach the atheistic godless religion of evolution to your children *whether or not* you piss your taxes into the wind. The courts are your enemies, they are out to deny your God and, in collusion with the evil ACLU, out to destroy the minds of your children, but you can’t beat them at the voting booth. You can only beat them by being good parents and raising children who FEAR GOD.

Hyperion,

You make much sense. Fundamentalists are very unlikely to vote Democrat. However, well educated conservatives that are against ID are very much more likely to change over to Democrat.

Since Ohio is a swing state, the Republican politicians really need to be courting the moderates NOT the extremists.

My letter to Jim Petro:

Dear Mr. Petro:

Please prevent the Ohio Board of Education from making the grave mistake of introducing Intelligent Design to the science classroom.

Intelligent Design has been fully discredited by the scientific community. It is NOT SCIENCE. It is not a “scientific theory” and is not on equal footing with the theory of evolution or any other scientific theory.

Young Americans need to have a good basis in science and critical thinking to be able to tell claptrap from solid reasoning. Presenting claptrap as if it were solid reasoning does them a great disservice.

Intelligent Design is a religious belief, and perhaps it would make a good topic for a college level mythology class, or a highschool theology class.

But it is not science. The proponents of Intelligent Design are lying to us all. Many of Intelligent Design’s founders took the stand in Dover and their arguments fell apart under scrutiny. There’s just nothing there.

Please sir. I am not an Ohioan, this appeal is made from one American to another–kindred intellects.

Please stand up for reason and science, and don’t buy into the lies that the Discovery Institute and other organizations are purveying. If Intelligent Design were science, sir, they wouldn’t be trying to convince school boards, governors, and average joes like me. They’d be trying to convince SCIENTISTS.

Thank you.

– Chuck Seggelin

Flint wrote

This is very problematical. The politics and the creationism are very difficult to disentangle, even if there is in principle any way to do so. These people ARE creationists, ran on that basis, were elected on that basis, so it’s hard to tell the politics from the religion.

It’s not quite that simple in Ohio. 11 Board members are elected and 8 are appointed by the Governor. On the “Critical Analysis” model lesson plan, the elected members voted 7-3 to dump it (one was absent due to illness, but she would have voted with the 7). The appointed members voted 7-0 (one abstention) to keep it. Later release of emails from the Governor’s office in the course of a different scandal showed that there was political pressure on the Governor from the religious right to keep his appointees in line on the issue, and he succeeded. I suspect (but do not know) that at least 3 of them would have voted against the creationist lesson plan had they been left to their own devices.

RBH

Incidentally, if anyone from Ohio Citizens For Science is reading this, this page http://science2.marion.ohio-state.e[…]antorum.html should be updated with the Kitzmiller decision.

Fernmonkey Wrote:

Incidentally, if anyone from Ohio Citizens For Science is reading this, this page http://science2.marion.ohio-state.edu/ohioscienc… should be updated with the Kitzmiller decision.

We’re working on it.

We also need something on the Cobb County case. But we’re kind of busy with other things right now!

Y’all should buy a copy of “Darwin on Trial” by Phillip Johnson, “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael Behe, “Not By Chance” by Lee Spetner, “Evolution a Theory in Crisis” by Michael Denton and make informed decisions regarding (1) your position regarding evolutionary theory (2) the evidence for design (3) the totalitarian methods that you are advocating.

Better yet, go to your local public school and review the drivel that is being pushed for science (and in particular evolution) education. You’d be suprised and shocked that children are being indoctrinated in what is essentially humanistic naturalism. The “science” of evolution, what little there actually is, is being used as a delivery mechanism for a whole set of philosophical views that have no place in a science classroom.

Dave:

Better yet, go to your local public school and review the drivel that is being pushed for science (and in particular evolution) education. You’d be suprised and shocked that children are being indoctrinated in what is essentially humanistic naturalism. The “science” of evolution, what little there actually is, is being used as a delivery mechanism for a whole set of philosophical views that have no place in a science classroom.

You came here claiming to want more information, but you’ve dismissed everything we’ve told you, and dismissed all the real, actual scientific materials we’ve directed you to as ‘propaganda’. I suspect that was a preordained conclusion.

You’re obviously a Creationist, you obviously had completely made up your mind before you came here, and you’re ignoring everything everyone has said here to try to set you straight and educate you a little. Your claims to be open minded on this subject are patently bogus, and you haven’t even shown enough knowledge to debate anyone here. Most of your posts seem to be whines about ‘totalitarian materialists’.

So you’re another Creationist who’s very full of himself and can’t be taught anything. We’ve seen a million of them here. You’re nothing new. Big deal.

So: Why are you here? To make your pastor happy? To ‘convert the heathens’? To vanquish the wicked secular humanists? To impress people with your ‘scientific mind’? It ain’t happening. You haven’t the knowledge or the skills to convince anyone of anything here. Moreover, you’re not interesting. You’re boring.

You’re wasting your time. Try checking out Answers in Genesis, if you haven’t already. You’ll fit right in.

Sorry, but most of us are shocked by what passes for science, philosophy, and religion among ID advocates, who (a.) can’t or won’t tell the difference between methodological and philosophical naturalism, (b.) love to make illogical leaps conflating the two, and (c.) are willing to tell lies to advance their agenda, despite the fact that lying is considered sinful or otherwise disreputable by every one of the world’s major religions. We’re also shocked that they’re attempting to indoctrinate children, in science classes, with ideas that have either been completely refuted by scientific inquiry or were developed to deliberately sow confusion about the scope and function of both scientific and religious thought.

Comment #68647

Posted by Dave on January 7, 2006 10:28 PM (e) (s)

Y’all should buy a copy of “Darwin on Trial” by Phillip Johnson, “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael Behe, “Not By Chance” by Lee Spetner, “Evolution a Theory in Crisis” by Michael Denton and make informed decisions regarding (1) your position regarding evolutionary theory (2) the evidence for design (3) the totalitarian methods that you are advocating.

Better yet, go to your local public school and review the drivel that is being pushed for science (and in particular evolution) education. You’d be suprised and shocked that children are being indoctrinated in what is essentially humanistic naturalism. The “science” of evolution, what little there actually is, is being used as a delivery mechanism for a whole set of philosophical views that have no place in a science classroom.

So wrong on so many levels. First, every author has been shown to be, in respect to the Theory (which is a fact - not a guess) of Evolution an incompetent, lying, delusional crackpot without shame or morals.

Second, evolution is barely touched upon in secondary education and is not touched on in primary. On the other hand, the crap we’re taught about US History. Egads. I have two cousins who are both university-level teaching/writing historians, one of whom is recognized among the foremost pre-civil war US history experts. The other is more European, but has a broad background in US history. Man, the REAL US history is NOTHING like we’re taught, especially the Revolutionary War. And especially the way the religious right wants to portray the US as a “Christian Nation.”

Anyway, keep your religion out of my child’s classroom. Or let me teach evolution in your children’s Sunday school along with a solid dose of why Jesus wasn’t the messiah based on his failing many of the tests of the messiah as set forth in the old testament (you know, parts of the bible YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TAUGHT IN SUNDAY SCHOOL but are there for the reading.

Bet you wouldn’t much care for that.

Moses Wrote:

So wrong on so many levels. First, every author has been shown to be, in respect to the Theory (which is a fact - not a guess) of Evolution an incompetent, lying, delusional crackpot without shame or morals.

Not terribly on-topic, but I thought this would be a good chance to get the terminology straight in my head. Can anyone confirm or deny the following:

1) Facts are what we have direct evidence of (experimental data, basically) 2) Laws are souped-up facts - organising principles for the data. So common descent is a law 3) Conjectures are attempted explanations of the facts. ID is a conjecture 4) Hypotheses are conjectures that can be falsified. So ID is not a hypothesis 5) Theories are hypotheses that have repeatedly, and at great length, failed to be falsified. So the hypothesis that RMNS* evolution is responsible for the diversity of life is currently considered to be a theory. 6) Models are collections of hypotheses or theories that can be used to make predictions beyond what the component hypotheses/theories allow. This extends the falsifiability of those hypotheses/theories by allowing more predictions to be made.

Is that accurate?

* The phrase “random mutation + natural selection” seems to describe the current theory of evolution quite well from what I know of it - is this a fair description?

I hate to change topics, but I’d like to know what happened to that grad student that was involved in writing the bogus Ohio lesson plan. Did he ever defend his thesis? Are there drafts of what he submitted to his committee, or even a final product? He had to have something to defend.

It seems that Governor Taft, and attorney general (candidate for governor) Jim Petro are orchestating support for creationism. The Columbus Dispatch this morning (Jan. 8th) reports that the OBOE closed door session on the Dover decision and Ohio creationism has been canceled on the advice of unnamed lawyers. The Dispatch has been criticizing the meeting as illegal. According the governor appointed president of the board, Sue Westendorf, this means the issue is off the agenda entirely. She is quoted in the article, as well as in other statements passed along via the grape vine, as fully supporting the creationists faction, and pressuring the rest of the board to do likewise. The Dispatch had obtained emails via freedom of information act that the governor had given orders to then board president Jennifer Sheets to support creationism in the last go round, even while he was claiming publicly that he wasn’t taking a position. He’s doing the same thing again with every expectation of getting away with it. Jim Petro is undoubtably taking a keen interest in advising the board on legal matters, and it wouldn’t be surprising to find that he ordered the closed session cancellation. They’re undoubtably getting their counsel under less formal circumstances.

Re: Comment #68711 Posted by Ron Okimoto on January 8, 2006 08:48 AM

In a private comment, OSU president Karen Holbrook stated that the matter was “resolved”, and congratulated herself for staying out of it. The university grad school determined that the committee didn’t conform to guidelines, and no new committee has been formed. No one is making any public statements, but the Discovery Institute is apparently still threatening lawsuits against individuals at OSU. No manuscript will be available unless Leonard makes it so.

Dave, Charles Darwin was the model for what a Christian husband and father should be. Were it true that evolution is a corrupting influence, don’t you think we’d see it first in Darwin?

Dave, I invite you to go get those texts you advise us to read. I have read them. They are not weapons of indoctrination against Christianity in any form. I don’t know where you get your information, but it’s not from the textbooks, and it’s not from the science books, and it’s not from history.

Our nation has done best when working on the fruits of widespread education. Public education makes this nation great, helped us win two world wars, and makes it so that even our poor people are richer than the rich in most nations.

That train of achievement is pulled by public education. I am uncomfortable around those who appear not to recognize those facts, and who ask that we derail the train because they don’t like the color of the paint on the coal tender.

I resent your complaints against the science that heals and feeds us; I resent your attempt to label patriots like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as “humanists” as if they were criminals instead. I hope you’ll take your own advice.

Ed Darrell, you are the God of cool analogies. I salute you :)

Dave Wrote:

Y’all should buy a copy of “Darwin on Trial” by Phillip Johnson, “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael Behe, “Not By Chance” by Lee Spetner, “Evolution a Theory in Crisis” by Michael Denton …

And you and your coreligionists should explain why (1) Denton renounced pretty much everything in his first book (the one you mention) in his subsequent book (“Nature’s Destiny”), (2)why, in light of the fact that nonscientist Johnson derived his inspiration for “Darwin on Trial” and, in fact the whole “intelligent design” scam, from Denton’s disavowed and, frankly, silly first book; why, in light of all that we should see Johnson and his “movement” (and I use the word advisedly despite its potential ambiguity) for anything but a religious right crusade, and (3) why my opinion of biochemist Behe’s book (I hold a PhD in biochemistry myself) - pretty much the same as the opinion of every other biochemist not entangled with the thoroughly discredited Discovery Institute - i.e. that the book is garbage (albeit well-written garbage), should not carry more weight than yours.

Better yet, go to your local public school and review the drivel that is being pushed for science (and in particular evolution) education. You’d be suprised and shocked that children are being indoctrinated in what is essentially humanistic naturalism. The “science” of evolution, what little there actually is, is being used as a delivery mechanism for a whole set of philosophical views that have no place in a science classroom.

This being a discussion about public education in Ohio, I assume you have some specific examples to share with us. Otherwise, I assume your Jeremiad is backed by the same sort of solid research that underlies Pat Robertson’s side-splitting revelations.

Thanks for the info Mike:

I say let the Discovery Institute sue. They better make sure that Leonard and all his former grad committee members have burned and erased all the drafts of his thesis before they do. It will be difficult to support someone getting a degree with the kind of junk he tried to get away with in Kansas and Ohio. His experimental design and High School lesson plans better be lost too. Can you just imagine what he was teaching to his students? He was supposed to be the guy responsible for Wells’ bogus lie about no moths on tree trunks getting into the first draft of the Ohio Model lesson plan. Do you think that any of his old committee members will claim responsibility for OKing his thesis research and school lesson plans?

If it goes to court and all that relevant information has been convieniently lost, what would a judge or jury make of that?

What is more likely to happen is that the Discovery Institute will give Leonard a job like they did for Luskin. Not much could be more bogus than Luskin’s appointment. Their claim that ID isn’t about religion, but they hire a guy like Luskin. A guy that founded an ID organization where you have to be a Christian to be an officer. Since their credibility was about zero already you can legitimately argue whether or not such a boondoggle hurt their credibiity. What could giving a job to Leonard do to them after that? Besides I think that Leonard probably still teaches High School. I’d rather have him working for the DI. They owe him something. Wells’ book doesn’t come with a disclaimer about “Use at your own risk. Some material in this book is known to be factually incorrect.” to keep the incompetent from believing the junk in the book.

Not terribly on-topic, but I thought this would be a good chance to get the terminology straight in my head. Can anyone confirm or deny the following:

1) Facts are what we have direct evidence of (experimental data, basically) 2) Laws are souped-up facts - organising principles for the data. So common descent is a law 3) Conjectures are attempted explanations of the facts. ID is a conjecture 4) Hypotheses are conjectures that can be falsified. So ID is not a hypothesis 5) Theories are hypotheses that have repeatedly, and at great length, failed to be falsified. So the hypothesis that RMNS* evolution is responsible for the diversity of life is currently considered to be a theory. 6) Models are collections of hypotheses or theories that can be used to make predictions beyond what the component hypotheses/theories allow. This extends the falsifiability of those hypotheses/theories by allowing more predictions to be made.

Is that accurate?

My wife (the scientist) LOVES this definition of Theory, Law & Hypothesis:

Scientific Law: This is a statement of fact meant to explain, in concise terms, an action or set of actions. It is generally accepted to be true and universal, and can sometimes be expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. Scientific laws are similar to mathematical postulates. They don�t really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.

Some scientific laws, or laws of nature, include the law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics, and Hook�s law of elasticity.

Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.

Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis.

In general, both a scientific theory and a scientific law are accepted to be true by the scientific community as a whole. Both are used to make predictions of events. Both are used to advance technology.

The biggest difference between a law and a theory is that a theory is much more complex and dynamic. A law governs a single action, whereas a theory explains a whole series of related phenomena.

An analogy can be made using a slingshot and an automobile.

A scientific law is like a slingshot. A slingshot has but one moving part–the rubber band. If you put a rock in it and draw it back, the rock will fly out at a predictable speed, depending upon the distance the band is drawn back.

An automobile has many moving parts, all working in unison to perform the chore of transporting someone from one point to another point. An automobile is a complex piece of machinery. Sometimes, improvements are made to one or more component parts. A new set of spark plugs that are composed of a better alloy that can withstand heat better, for example, might replace the existing set. But the function of the automobile as a whole remains unchanged.

A theory is like the automobile. Components of it can be changed or improved upon, without changing the overall truth of the theory as a whole.

Some scientific theories include the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, and the quantum theory. All of these theories are well documented and proved beyond reasonable doubt. Yet scientists continue to tinker with the component hypotheses of each theory in an attempt to make them more elegant and concise, or to make them more all-encompassing. Theories can be tweaked, but they are seldom, if ever, entirely replaced.

The only thing I can add is that a model is not a theory, but an explanation that makes sense and can be tested and can be used to form a theory, if it is not discarded for being wrong or remains a model because it is currently untestable. Models can eventually become theories, for example, a generation or so ago scientists were asking how mitochondria transfer energy from a system of electron transport to the universal energy-carrying molecule ATP.

Since virtually all eukaryotic cells rely on mitochondria to provide usable energy, this was an important question. Three models, all fact-based, were in the running. They were the chemical intermediate model, the conformational change model, and the chemiosmotic model. There were high stakes, in fact, Peter Mitchell, who proposed the last model, was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in that area. The chemiosmotic model was eventually supported by a vast amount of evidence, and became theory.

ID has no facts. ID has no model. ID has no hypothesis. ID does nothing but cause harm to our society as a minority of ignorant, hard-core fundamentalists continue to attack evolution, the courts and society at large because they can’t/won’t reconcile their extremist Christian belief system to the universe.

I called the 877 number, and left a voice mail message on one of the staff’s messages. I’d encourage other people to do the same. That way the staff will come in Monday Morning and first thing, they’d be hearing alot of long winded message rants about this issue.

Here’s my email to Petro and the board. It takes the text you wrote and added some Minnesota content.

TO:[Enable javascript to see this email address.], [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.]; [Enable javascript to see this email address.];

CC:[Enable javascript to see this email address.], [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Dear Mr. Petro,

Please protect Ohio from the creationist folly of the Board of Education!

Ohio can afford neither the waste of millions of taxpayer dollars nor the national ridicule a Monkey Trial would bring upon your state.

It’s worth noting that where Creationism gets out beyond the stealth issue, it loses in elections. The Dover School Board members all lost to Democrats who were running in a district with a strong Republican index. In Minnetonka, Minnesota the ID supporters lost a recent school board election. After this school board election, Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson lost to a Democrat - again in a district with a strong republican index. The issue that took Johnson down? Intelligent Design creationism.

If we are going to teach the controversy in Science classes, why single out Evolution? Why not teach the controversy about gravity, or the doubts that the earth is round? Or why not teach Astrology in Astronomy classes?

Please counsel the Board to remove Ohio’s creationist benchmark and lesson plan immediately and restore the Ohio Academy of Science’s full definition of science.

Counsel the board to act immediately at their meeting next week. Advise them to avoid time-wasting charades that would produce more embarrassment in the long run. They have the facts; they need to act now.

The Ohio case is very clear. As in Dover, both the Board and the public recognized the issue at stake as inherently religious. Like Dover, evolutionary theory was singled out for special and unjustified criticism. As in Dover, the claims for a scientific basis for objecting to evolution were all drawn directly from scientifically-discredited creationist literature. And as in Dover, the board ignored the best advice of its own science experts as well as outside experts.

Of course, the creationists on the board claim there is no religious intent or content. But that’s what the defendants have said in all these creationist cases from Epperson to Edwards to Freiler to Dover. But when they go to court, the state loses every time.

As Judge John E Jones III said in the Dover decision:

“The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.”

Ohio needs your leadership at this crucial juncture. The board is nearly deadlocked with a few members still deciding. Leadership from the Attorney General on this important legal issue would make all the difference in the world.

Please protect our freedom of religion, protect our children’s understanding of science, and protect the integrity and reputation of the state of Ohio.

Stand up for Ohio, Mr. Petro!

Eva Young Near North Minneapolis [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

I have posted this on my blog, Lloydletta’s Nooz here.

Lloydletta’s Nooz http://lloydletta.blogspot.com Dump Michele Bachmann http://dumpbachmann.blogspot.com

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759, US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

Eva,

Many thanks!

RBH

I think a suggestion from one of the other PT threads is very valuable: in every reference to ID, refer to it fully as what it is, the Intelligent Design, or ID, HOAX. As the Dover evidence clearly showed, and Judge Jones ruled, the ID Hoax is nothing more than an attempt to impermissibly sneak Creationism into public school science classes. Its every statement, paper, publication, and assertion that there is some sort of science surrounding their position is a hoax: “… deliberate trickery intended to gain an advantage…” and should be called such. IMHO Randy

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 6, 2006 3:35 PM.

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