Brits to teach controversy (or are they?)

| 120 Comments

On Uncommon Descent Doug Moran announced recently that

Brits to Teach the Controversy

“Creationist theories about how the world was made are to be debated in GCSE science lessons in mainstream secondary schools in England.

The subject has been included in a new syllabus for biology produced by the OCR exam board, due out in September.”

But as usual the ‘victory’ of Intelligent Design was mostly smoke and mirrors and short lived as the OCR Exam Board released a clarification. Why is it that Intelligent Design can only be succesful in our ignorance?

Hattip to Alan Fox and Flitcraft

At OCR, we believe candidates need to understand the social and historical context to scientific ideas both pre and post Darwin.

In our Gateway Science specification, candidates are asked to discuss why the opponents of Darwinism thought the way they did and how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence.

Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not regarded by OCR as scientific theories. They are beliefs that do not lie within scientific understanding.

Read more about the Gateway Science Suite which states:

Explain that the fossil record has been interpreted differently over time (e.g. creationist interpretation).

Indeed, the brits are teaching the controversy and it does not include Intelligent Design and creationism as they are not scientific theories. In case of Intelligent Design I have argued that it is scientifically vacuous more than not scientific because it lacks much of anything relevant to determine if it is scientific.

The British Humanist Association wrote a letter to the Minister for Schools asking “for a reply that clarified whether it is indeed the government’s view that creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are examples of scientific theories based on empirical evidence within the meaning of the national curriculum.”

The minister Jacqui Smith responded to oral questions about Intelligent Design on Oct 31 2005

Intelligent Design

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools in England teach a course in which intelligent design forms a unit. [22201]

Jacqui Smith: Intelligent design does not form part of any programme of study in the national curriculum. In science pupils should be taught at Key Stage 4 “how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence [for example, Darwin’s theory of evolution]”. Although it is possible that intelligent design could be raised in this context, controversies need to be scientific in order to meet national curriculum requirements.

Intelligent design may be taught in religious education lessons as a religious interpretation of how the world was created. All religious education syllabuses are devised by local authorities, so statistics are not held centrally.

More recently the minister commented that

Neither creationism nor intelligent design is taught as a subject in schools. The national curriculum programme of study for science at key stage 4 covers evolution. It sets out that pupils should be taught “that the fossil record is evidence for evolution” and also “how variation and selection may lead to evolution or extinction”. Pupils should however be taught about “how scientific controversies can arise from different ways of interpreting empirical evidence”. Also, the biblical view of creation can be taught in RE lessons, where pupils are taught to consider opposing theories and come to their own, reasoned conclusions. Therefore, although creationism and intelligent design are not part of the national curriculum, they could be covered in these contexts.

While some have interpreted these comments to suggest that the minister stated that ID can be taught in science classes, it seems clear to me that the minister was talking in the context of RE (religious education) lessons where a biblical view of creation can be taught. Seems that teaching the controversy once again finds it roots in religion not science.

120 Comments

I like the way dougmoran wrote “File under: Intelligent Design” when the article wrote about “creationist theories.”

And, for the peace of mind of non-Brits, it should be noted that RE classes in no way advocate for any one religion, merely providing information on the customs and beliefs of a number of them. If done properly, anyway - I seem to recall that Accelerated Christian Education materials aren’t very complimentary about other faiths…

IMO. Creationism should be mentioned in science class. It is part of the history of science.

Teach students the “scientific method”, tell them about Creationism and show why it is not science.

We are talking about basic education of pupils aged up-to 16 here. I think this would debunk the idea that ID/Creationism can be considered scientific.

Teach students the “scientific method”, tell them about Creationism and show why it is not science.

The worry, of course, is that some individuals and schools would either skip the third step or complain bitterly about religious discrimination or something. In which case, our current government stands a decent chance of giving in and permitting step 3 to be dropped anyway.

It’s interesting to note how ID is, for the most part, an American phenomenon. It just doesn’t have traction anywhere else.

You won’t find it in Japan, where less than two percent of the population is Christian and religion in treated in a very un-Western way. Besides, I don’t think the idea of being descended from Izanagi and Izanumi(the mythological Shinto kami who created humanity) would sit well with ID proponents.

And, if anything, Buddhism is more theoretically alligned with modern scientific thought than Chrsitianity is.

I still struggle with whether, as Stephen Elliot suggests, I should advocate teaching creationism and ID in science classes as a case study in phil of science, similar to the way we teach Lamarckian theory and show why it is wrong.

It seems that the success of such a lesson depends largely on the knowledge, competence, and confidence of the teacher. But then so do all the other lessons.

Also, I would rather students hear about it from a competent teacher than from some propagandist.

I remember there being some interesting counter-arguments to this approach (beyond Corkscrew’s valid concerns), but quite honestly I do not remember what they are. Anyone wish to indulge us with an explanation or a link?

Some credit is due to Flitcraft for linking to the source material here

Comment #85937

Posted by Flitcraft on March 11, 2006 12:46 PM (e)

Dean, The Guardian piece you link to and the coverage of this story in the media in general has been pretty useless. It seems to boil down to people being unable to tell the difference between teaching Creationism and teaching history of science.

Here is the actual syllabus that sparked the story http://www.gcse-science.com/file_downloads/pgd_f.…..

The relevant bits are pp.34-35. It covers things like debunking Lamarckism and examining the reception Darwin got at the time. All very handy stuff. The exam board itself is very clear:

Creationism and ‘intelligent design’ are not regarded by OCR as scientific theories. They are beliefs that do not lie within scientific understanding.

http://www.ocr.org.uk/OCR/WebSite/docroot/newsup.…..”

I’m a bit concerned that people are going off half-cock over this and that it may lead to them being taken less seriously when they address real threats like the Vardy Schools.

Some other relevant comments follow the one above in the same thread.

We are told over at places like KCFS that creationism is not an issue in Europe, but only ignorant Americans have the problem.

Looks like someone LIED.

Intelligent design may be taught in religious education lessons as a religious interpretation of how the world was created. All religious education syllabuses are devised by local authorities, so statistics are not held centrally.

Two points: Considering the alternative to ID is multiple atomic accidents, coupled with multiple chance collisions, coupled with multiple lucky events, all wrapped up in multiple universes, who in their right mind would say that ID isn’t scientific?

And for ANYONE who thinks ID=religion- take the ID three-hour challenge

Watch two videos- “The Privileged Planet” and “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”, and then, if you can without lying, tell us why ID is not based on observation and scientific research, but is based on religious doctrines and faith.

I have to agree with you, emanuel. Seems the problem has spread to ignorant Europeans, too.

I guess it’s a stupidborne virus or something. :)

Well, I suspect the problem is likely to become more intense in the UK in the near future. Ever noticed how UK social trends seem to trail US social trends by about a 20-year lag? Now how long ago, precisely, was the ID marketing concept first devised?

I’m scared now :(

JoeG Wrote:

Considering the alternative to ID is multiple atomic accidents, coupled with multiple chance collisions, coupled with multiple lucky events, all wrapped up in multiple universes, who in their right mind would say that ID isn’t scientific?

Oh, I don’t know… maybe the ones who see that ID is all about an undefined incident by an undefined entity at an undefined time via an undefined mechanism, wrapped up in an undefined theory? JoeG, if you’re going to copy/paste the exact things you post over at UD, bear in mind that people here can actually answer to you.

Oh, and while you’re here, take the time to check the posts of one ‘picofarad’ or ‘milli henry’ or ‘wein’s law’ to see in what moronic and immature way your moderator Dave behaves, when he’s devoid of his god-like privileges.

Faidon Wrote:

JoeG, if you’re going to copy/paste the exact things you post over at UD, bear in mind that people here can actually answer to you.

Joe is oblivious to the fact that his cut-and-paste routine is transparently stupid. He’s been answered countless times in a lot of different places and just continues to post the same incredulous junk.

Considering the alternative to ID is multiple atomic accidents, coupled with multiple chance collisions, coupled with multiple lucky events, all wrapped up in multiple universes, who in their right mind would say that ID isn’t scientific?

Faidon Oh, I don’t know… maybe the ones who see that ID is all about an undefined incident by an undefined entity at an undefined time via an undefined mechanism, wrapped up in an undefined theory?

LoL! That just described multiple atomic accidents, coupled with multiple chance collisions, coupled with multiple lucky events, all wrapped up in multiple universes.

BTW design IS a mechanism.

And as I have told many people- the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design. And anyone who knows anything about ID understands that ID is all about the detection and understanding of the DESIGN.

Faidon: JoeG, if you’re going to copy/paste the exact things you post over at UD, bear in mind that people here can actually answer to you.

I might get an “answer” but it appears the “answer” is nothing more than hubris.

Now how about taking the challenge?

who in their right mind would say that ID isn’t scientific?

Judge Jones wrote 139 pages explaining why it isn’t.

Of course, Paul Nelson also says ID isn’t scientific, and he didn’t take as many words to do it:

“We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’- but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.”

And his pal George Gilder agrees: “What’s being pushed is to have Darwinism critiqued, to teach there’s a controversy. Intelligent design itself does not have any content.”

Or do you consider Nelson and Gilder to be “not in their right mind”?

Watch two videos- “The Privileged Planet” and “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”, and then, if you can without lying, tell us why ID is not based on observation and scientific research, but is based on religious doctrines and faith.

Of course, IDers themselves have told us that ID is based on religious doctrines and faith:

Phillip Johnson, who talks much more openly than the others about the explicit anti-atheistic goals of “intelligent design theory”, specifically contrasts “scientific materialism” with “divine intervention”;

“It is the alleged absence of divine intervention throughout the history of life – the strict materialism of the orthodox theory – that explains why a great many people, only some of whom are biblical fundamentalists, think that Darwinian evolution (beyond the micro level) is basically materialistic philosophy disguised as scientific fact.” (Johnson, “The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism”, First Things, November 1997, PP 22-25)

“Science also has become identified with a philosophy known as materialism or scientific naturalism. This philosophy insists that nature is all there is, or at least the only thing about which we can have any knowledge. It follows that nature had to do its own creating, and that the means of creation must not have included any role for God. … The reason the theory of evolution is so controversial is that it is the main scientific prop for scientific naturalism. Students first learn that “evolution is a fact,” and then they gradually learn more and more about what that “fact” means. It means that all living things are the product of mindless material forces such as chemical laws, natural selection, and random variation. So God is totally out of the picture, and humans (like everything else) are the accidental product of a purposeless universe.” (Johnson, “The Church of Darwin”, Wall Street Journal, August 16, 1999).

“For now we need to stick to the main point: In the beginning was the Word, and the ‘fear of God’- recognition of our dependence upon God-is still the beginning of wisdom. If materialist science can prove otherwise then so be it, but everything we are learning about the evidence suggests that we don’t need to worry. (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship; A Call to Separate Materialist Philosophy from Empriical Science”, address to the 1996 “Mere Creation Conference”)

Johnson explicitly calls for “a better scientific theory, one genuinely based on unbiased empirical evidence and not on materialist philosophy” (Johnson, “How to Sink a Battleship). Johnson doesn’t tell us what this non-materialistic philosophy might be that he wants to base science on, but it is clear from the rest of his statements that he, like every other IDer, wants to base science on his religious beliefs.

DI associate Michael Behe also makes the connection between fighting “scientific materialism” and “theistic understanding of nature” explicitly clear.

“Darwinism is the most plausible unintelligent mechanism, yet it has tremendous difficulties and the evidence garnered so far points to its inability to do what its advocates claim for it. If unintelligent mechanisms can’t do the job, then that shifts the focus to intelligent agency. That’s as far as the argument against Darwinism takes us, but most people already have other reasons for believing in a personal God who just might act in history, and they will find the argument for intelligent design fits with what they already hold. With the argument arranged this way, evidence against Darwinism does count as evidence for an active God, just as valid negative advertising against the Democratic candidate will help the Republican, even though Vegetarian and One-World candidates are on the ballot, too. Life is either the result of exclusively unintelligent causes or it is not, and the evidence against the unintelligent production of life is clearly evidence for intelligent design.” (Behe, “The God of Science”, Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, p. 35)

“Naturalism is a philosophy which says that material things are all that there is. But philosophy is not science, and therefore excluding ideas which point to a creator, which point to God, is not allowed simply because in public schools in the United States one is not allowed to discriminate either for or against ideas which have religious implications.” (Behe, Speech at Calvary Chapel, March 6, 2002)

Another DI associate, William Dembski, makes the connection between ID and Christian apologetics even more explicit:

“Not only does intelligent design rid us of this ideology, which suffocates the human spirit, but, in my personal experience, I’ve found that it opens the path for people to come to Christ. Indeed, once materialism is no longer an option, Christianity again becomes an option. True, there are then also other options. But Christianity is more than able to hold its own once it is seen as a live option. The problem with materialism is that it rules out Christianity so completely that it is not even a live option. Thus, in its relation to Christianity, intelligent design should be viewed as a ground-clearing operation that gets rid of the intellectual rubbish that for generations has kept Christianity from receiving serious consideration.” (Dembski, “Intelligent Design’s Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution”, Designinference.com website, February 2005).

Indeed, Dembski titled one of his books Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology (Dembski, 1999). In that book, Dembski makes the religious basis of ID “theory” explicit: “The conceptual soundings of the theory can in the end only be located in Christ.” (Dembski, 1999, p. 210). Other statements by Dembski make it clear that his designer cannot be anything other than God:

“The fine-tuning of the universe, about which cosmologists make such a to-do, is both complex and specified and readily yields design. So too, Michael Behe’s irreducibly complex biochemical systems readily yield design. The complexity-specification criterion demonstrates that design pervades cosmology and biology. Moreover, it is a transcendent design, not reducible to the physical world. Indeed, no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life.” (Dembski, “The Act of Creation”, ARN website, Aug 1998)

“From our vantage, materialism is not a neutral, value-free, minimalist position from which to pursue inquiry. Rather, it is itself an ideology with an agenda. What’s more, it requires an evolutionary creation story to keep it afloat. On scientific grounds, we regard that creation story to be false. What’s more, we regard the ideological agenda that has flowed from it to be destructive to rational discourse. Our concerns are therefore entirely parallel to the evolutionists’. Indeed, all the evolutionists’ worst fears about what the world would be like if we succeed have, in our view, already been realized through the success of materialism and evolution. Hence, as a strategy for unseating materialism and evolution, the term “Wedge” has come to denote an intellectual and cultural movement that many find congenial.” (Dembski, “Dealing with the backlash against intelligent design”, 2004)

“But there are deeper motivations. I think at a fundamental level, in terms of what drives me in this is that I think God’s glory is being robbed by these naturalistic approaches to biological evolution, creation, the origin of the world, the origin of biological complexity and diversity. When you are attributing the wonders of nature to these mindless material mechanisms, God’s glory is getting robbed…And so there is a cultural war here. Ultimately I want to see God get the credit for what he’s done - and he’s not getting it.” (Dembski, address given at Fellowship Baptist Church, Waco, Texas, March 7, 2004) “Even so, there is an immediate payoff to intelligent design: it destroys the atheistic legacy of Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design makes it impossible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” (Dembski, Why President Bush Got It Right about Intelligent Design, 2005)

As the Wedge Document puts it:

“We are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points. The very beginning of this strategy, the “thin edge of the wedge,” was Phillip Johnson’s critique of Darwinism begun in 1991 in Darwinism on Trial, and continued in Reason in the Balance and Defeatng Darwinism by Opening Minds. Michael Behe’s highly successful Darwin’s Black Box followed Johnson’s work. We are building on this momentum, broadening the wedge with a positive scientific alternative to materialistic scientific theories, which has come to be called the theory of intelligent design (ID). Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.” (Wedge Document, 1999)

We are told over at places like KCFS that creationism is not an issue in Europe, but only ignorant Americans have the problem.

Looks like someone LIED.

Follow the money, and you’ll see for yourself who it is that is lying.

Jimmy sez: Joe is oblivious to the fact that his cut-and-paste routine is transparently stupid.

I AM aware of the fact that YOU are transparently stupid.

I linked to the wrong post in the comment above (although the one I linked to is a good one, too). The correct one is here.

Odd, isn’t it, that the IDers have now been beaten up so badly and thoroughly in the US (Dover, Ohio) that now they are forced to look outside their own country for inspiration and are forced to hold up Britain as the shining example of ID in action.

And here I thought that the USA was God’s Favorite. (snicker) (giggle)

Alas for the fundies, the Brits want a theocracy even less than the US does. The fundies will get their faces beaten to a bloody pulp in the UK, too. T

Maybe you fundies should make friends with the Muslim nutjobs, like ICR has. They are more your kind of people.

And as I have told many people- the ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer in the absence of direct observation or designer input is by studying the design. And anyone who knows anything about ID understands that ID is all about the detection and understanding of the DESIGN.

Why didn’t you explain your stunning insight to the judge in Dover? Do you mean to tell me that while ID was fighting for its life in court, and YOU had the key insight that would PROVE IT TO BE SCIENCE, you didn’t come forth with it???????? You allowed ID to be killed in court when YOU had the information that would have saved it??????????

I hope the other IDers all beat you up for holding that back.

I AM aware of the fact that YOU are transparently stupid.

Yep, that’s about the level of discourse I’ve come to expect from IDers.

I have just one question for you, junior. You keep yammering about this “scientific theory of ID”. Nelson and Gilder have already told us that THERE ISN’T ANY SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF ID; Discovery Institute has already told us that IT DOES NOT FAVOR TEACHING ABOUT ID.

That means that YOU, apparently, have some insight or informaiton that the other IDers do not have. What is it? What is this “scientific theory of ID” that you have? Show it to me. How does it work. How is design formulated? How is the design implemented? What does the designer do, specifically? What mechanisms does it use to implement its designs? Where can we see these mechanisms in action anywhere?

Or is “POOF!!! God — uh, I mean, The Unknown Intelligent Designer – dunnit!!!” the best you can do?

Geez Lenny Judge Jones has been refuted so many times it is amazing that anyone would call on him.

As Gonzalez said: “Today, we are in a similar situation with intelligent design, which is not based on religion but can have positive theological implications. Either from ignorance or from willful misrepresentation (I don’t claim to know which), critics such as Hazen continue to confuse the implications of a theory with the theory itself.”

Which are you Lenny- ignorant or willfully misrepresenting?

If we listen to Lenny the theory of evolution is an atheistic theory because of what Dawkins, Dennett and a host of others tell us.

ID does not require a belief in God any more than the theory of evolution requires one to be an atheist.

How old is that Paul Nelson quote you mined?

As for the data- it was the data that afforded A. Flew to change from being an atheist to one who understands ID is scientific.

Now instead of quote mining- take the challenge or admit you are an intellectual coward…

Geez Lenny Judge Jones has been refuted so many times it is amazing that anyone would call on him.

As Gonzalez said: “Today, we are in a similar situation with intelligent design, which is not based on religion but can have positive theological implications. Either from ignorance or from willful misrepresentation (I don’t claim to know which), critics such as Hazen continue to confuse the implications of a theory with the theory itself.”

Which are you Lenny- ignorant or willfully misrepresenting?

If we listen to Lenny the theory of evolution is an atheistic theory because of what Dawkins, Dennett and a host of others tell us.

ID does not require a belief in God any more than the theory of evolution requires one to be an atheist.

How old is that Paul Nelson quote you mined?

As for the data- it was the data that afforded A. Flew to change from being an atheist to one who understands ID is scientific.

Now instead of quote mining- take the challenge or admit you are an intellectual coward…

Lenny lies again: I have just one question for you, junior. You keep yammering about this “scientific theory of ID”.

Please reference one post in which I said anything about this “scientific theory of ID”. Or is lying the best you have- peewee?

Is saying “it evolved” the best you can do? What mutations? What sequence of mutations? Can mutations even allow for the changes required?

Joe G. Wrote:

I AM aware of the fact that YOU are transparently stupid.

Joe, the Pavlov’s Dog of ID “theory,” invokes the Pee Wee Herman Argument. Good job, Joe, right on cue!

Lenny, ID did fine in Dover. It is obvious the judge had his mind made up before the trial began.

I would love for Judge Jones to take the 3 Hour ID challenge- watch the videos JJ and see the folly of your decision…

Judge Jones blows it

Lenny, ID did fine in Dover.

BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA AH AHA HA AH AHA HA H !!!!!!!!

Please reference one post in which I said anything about this “scientific theory of ID”. Or is lying the best you have- peewee?

I see, so there is no scientific theory of ID. Got it.

So (1) ID is just religious apologetics, (2) IDers like you are just lying ot us when they claim it isn’t, and (3) Judge Jones was perfectly correct when he concluded that it is.

Thanks for making that so clear.

As for the data- it was the data that afforded A. Flew to change from being an atheist to one who understands ID is scientific.

Then SHOW US THIS SCIENTIFIC THEORY OF ID. Put up or shut up. Fish or cut bait. Crap or get off the toilet. (shrug)

But now you’ve made me curious. IDers have been telling us loudly for YEARS now (and testified in court, under oath) that ID is SCIENCE and has NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION. Nothing at all whatsoever. No religious aims, goals or motives. None. Not a shred. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a one.

And now here you come barging in here shooting your mouth off about “atheists”.… .

I’m curious —- if ID isn’t about religion, then what difference does it make in this argument whether or not someone is or isn’t an atheist, or a baptist, or a buddhist, or a zoroastrian? The speed of light doesn’t change according to one’s religious views. So why does ID?

(sigh)

Thanks for once again demonstrating so clearly that (1) ID is nothing but religious apologetics, (2) IDers are simply lying to us when they claim it’s not, and (3) Judge Jones was perfectly correct when he concluded that it is.

And, thanks for once again demonstrating so clearly why ID will never win in court. In order to survive court challenges, ID *must*, absolutely *must*, deny that it has any religious aims, motives or goals. And as you are so kind as to demonstrate for everyone, IDers simply can’t do it. They don’t WANT to do it. All they want to do is preach —- and every time they preach, they undermine their own side. They KNOW, absolutely KNOW, that if they preach, they lose in court. So what do they do … ? They preach anyway. Indeed, none of them can go ten minutes without shouting “Jesus saves!!!” and thus giving the whole game away.

They are by far their own worst enemies.

DabveScot was ranting on about the wrong target — it isn’t their rejection of “common descent” that demonstrates the religious aims and goals of ID “theory”. It’s the utter complete total inability and unwillingness of IDers to shut their mouths about their religious opinions. And since ID is all ABOUT getting their religious opinions into other people’s heads, there’s not a thing they can do about it. ID is all about preaching, and there is simply no way for them to preach without letting the whole world KNOW they are preaching.

It’s why ID will never win in court.

JoeG Time to change hands.

3 hours of crap god bothering junk advertising on a DVD , no thank you this god can’t be bothered. Is English your second language?

Have you ever done any actual science ? Hint you won’t find any on any DVD just some purporting to be science it could be ALL lies.

Science is a process with rules and referees and while you Creationist twits are streaking around the lab, watch you don’t get your willys trapped in the door on the way out..

By the way on the “Karl Largerfeld” of gods, he did a nice job on the cut of the tigers claw, pity he didn’t sign his work eh?

Oh YOU can recognize design? Well 2 cheers for you, you can go back to sleep now.

JoeG Wrote:

ID did fine in Dover.

Is this statement meant to be taken seriously? Did you read the transcripts of Behe’s testimony and cross-examination, not to mention Steve Fuller’s po-mo contribution?

Your link finds an article by Plantinga taking a similar line to Fuller,

What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing science in accord with methodological naturalism? There is a good deal to be said on both sides here. For example, if you exclude the supernatural from science, then if the world or some phenomena within it are supernaturally caused — as most of the world’s people believe — you won’t be able to reach that truth scientifically.

Science redefined to include the supernatural ceases to be science, and becomes philosophy.

Stupid question: why can’t I post on Uncommon Descent any longer after simply asking why we should teach ID to high school kids when there was no scientific literature on the subject? I read the original post there that started this thread on PT and later left what I thought was an innocuous question on the thread relating to some poll that indicates 77% of Americans want ID to be taught alongside evolution (questionable!). Now it seems I am banned from the forum. Is this what “teach the controversy” means? Or should it be “agree with us or be censored”?

I see Flew also makes a fool of himself by believing in the kalam cosmological argument, which is thorougly incompatible with, and refuted by, modern cosmologies. Or more basically a physicists unfalsified view of the time parameter (but not necessarily spacetime) as a continous real, or even basic set theory before that. It should be called the calamity argument. ;-)

Satori. Because the people at UD does not like being reminded that they have NOTHING scientific to show. It’s like a poor person being reminded just how poor he is. It’s cruel! Shame on you ;p

Satori- there is an entire thread about uncommon descent, logging the people it bans, poking holes in its argments, and generally taking the mickey, over at:

http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bi[…]1274;st=1380

Now, before you read it, you have to understand that the people on there have been watching UD and DAve Scott for a while, so their a little jaded, and somewhat rude.

All,

Here is a link to where to find the OCR documents:

OCR Gateway Science Documents

The “Approved Specifications” are what you are looking for. They are of course PDF files for the acrobatically challenged.

The relevant bits of the biology document are pages 34 and 35. Have a read through the lot, most of it is sound. So sound that I am suspicious of the tiny piece of the biology document that isn’t.

Enjoy!

Louis

P.S. If my attempt at a hotlink fails (likely!) try copy and pasting this:

http://www.ocr.org.uk/OCR/WebSite/d[…]r=PRODUKTION

Let’s review a few things. Science isn’t truth vs. falsehood, nor purpose vs. meaninglessness, nor athiesm vs. divine guidance, nor licentiousness vs. moral purity. Science is useful vs. useless. …

Science isn’t something you believe in. It is something that you do. Ususally you do it for a living. You can believe that all that exists in the universe is matter under the influence of the blind and uncaring forces of nature but there is nothing in the scientific method that requires or even suggests this. Evolution isn’t the triumph of athiesm over Jesus, it isn’t in the same ballpark, country, planet, or universe.

TPFD, you’re absolutely correct. The problem is that the other side can’t, or won’t, or doesn’t, understand this. Scientists are framing the debate as science, but the fundies are framing the debate as belief, as morality, as all this stuff that it patently isn’t. Is the problem that fundamentalists have a worldview that is so wrapped up in belief that they really do not understand the difference between facts and knowledge and blind faith? Or is the problem more fundamental (excuse the pun) – that their religion requires a belief in the literal truth of their mythology such that if any part of that mythology is proven to be literally untrue, the whole thing unravels? I don’t know. I’ll occasionally read about ex-fundies, but there doesn’t seem to be any explanation for this lack of understanding about the difference between fact and belief.

In a related topic, regarding getting students engaged in classroom lectures on the history of science and how the scientific method works.… I have an undergrad degree in geology and once did a whole lot of grad work towards a master’s. The only place I ever heard anything interesting about the history of geology were brief blurbs in upper-level classes, and in extracirricular materials (lectures, books, PBS, etc.). The problem is that as an undergrad, you’re busy getting the fundamentals down and don’t find the history of your field that engaging. But when you’re more advanced, you’ve already specialized, so as a geochemist, learning the history of plate tectonics can seem like a waste. Seems like the answer might be to try to foster curiosity and an understanding of how everything fits together. Should be easy in geology, really, because everything is like a big puzzle.

JoeG Wrote:

Geez Lenny Judge Jones has been refuted so many times it is amazing that anyone would call on him.

Ah the smell of wishful thinking in the morning, love it…

Is the problem that fundamentalists have a worldview that is so wrapped up in belief that they really do not understand the difference between facts and knowledge and blind faith?

I have heard the claim (probably apocryphal) that most Native American languages had no word for “religion,” not because they were not spiritual, but because they drew no distinction between belief and knowledge; everything was spiritual. I suspect that the fundamentalist worldview is very much like this. In short, I really do strongly suspect that the answer to the above question is “yes.”

God help us.

Some fool Wrote:

ID did fine in Dover.

That’ll be “did fine” as in, “The defendant’s star scientific witness admitted that ID doesn’t have what it takes to be considered science, and the Dover School Board Members blamed their repeated lying on their drug habits.” That kind of “doing fine” I suspect ID can do without.

Bill Said: .…most Native American languages had no word for “religion,” Yes Comparative Mythology reveals a great deal about how different groups of Humans socially constructed their world view. Such interesting tit-bits as one Native American language (this is from memory) had the same word for ‘red’ and ‘green’ thus saving color blind members of the tribe a cognitive dissonance with their brethren. Another (again from memory) which is even more interesting, the whole tribe lived by “the word” (OK now “The word” was their native word for WORD…got that?), the word provided everything, protected them, gave them life after death (or so it was said, I suppose). The word would protect them in battles with any invaders and the belief in the word was such that anyone trying to take them on was met with fanatical resistance, after all the word was true! and had been proven to be true for all of the tribes living memory.

Now the parallel with the motivation and success of past religious wars and present day Fundies is interesting in that the whole consensual reality of the tribe is rigidly set and absolutely no dissent tolerated at pain of death in the old days or banishment nowadays. One gives ones mind over to the Tribal social realism and in return one is guaranteed mutual fanaticism in the fight for survival against intruders. A true soldiers mentality.

That particular NA tribe tried to use that belief against the white mans guns, needless to say “the word” came off second best, however there is a striking parallel with the Afghan Taliban routing of the post Russian regime in Kabul. There is a grainy video of Mullah Ohmar showing his faithful fighters the shroud of some famous Islamic saint at a compound in southern Afghanistan and raising the assembled soldiers to an ecstatic, dare I say it, rapturous fury. Legend has it, that the Taliban marched onto the outskirts of Kabul with their weapons shouldered,tapping their foreheads with the Koran. There was no resistance. Such is the power of the “word”, well actually the power of the human mind to be manipulated by whoever has control of the social reality. Keep in mind the Taliban closed schools, banned TV or any social activity that would reduce their authority. They effectively, in short order, refashioned their social reality into a marshal state. Outsiders were reduced to godless heathens and thus an unworthy enemy. Simple when you know how.

JoeG wrote:

Geez Lenny Judge Jones has been refuted so many times it is amazing that anyone would call on him.

To paraphrase someone else, that’s not refuting, that’s typing.

To paraphrase someone else

Truman Capote, FYI.

k.e. said: “Legend has it, that the Taliban marched onto the outskirts of Kabul with their weapons shouldered, tapping their foreheads with the Koran. There was no resistance. Such is the power of the “word”“(emphasis added)

Well, that and the holy hand grenade of Antioch.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

I have heard the claim (probably apocryphal) that most Native American languages had no word for “religion,” not because they were not spiritual, but because they drew no distinction between belief and knowledge; everything was spiritual.

In Lakota (the Plains natives that are usually referred to by the French name “Sioux”), the word usually used is “wakan”. This is sometimes translated as “holy”, but it more correctly has the meaning of “mysterious, unknowable, cannot be understood”. In the Lakota shamanistic religious view, the spirit that guided everything was known as “Wakan Tanka” – “tanka” meaning “great” or “powerful”, thus “The Great Mystery” or “The Unknowable Power”. Wakan Tanka was not a person, and to refer to it as “God” is not really correct. It’s more akin to the Chinese idea of “Tao” or the Japanese idea of “Kami”.

The same word “wakan” could be applied to mundane things, too. Before the Spanish invasion of North America, the Lakota had no horses. They did have domesticated dogs, however, which were called “shunka”. When they first saw horses (feral descendants of Spanish escapees), they were completely baffled by them and had no idea what they were or where they had come from, and subsequently referred to them as “Shunka Wakan”, or “The Mysterious Dog”.

As an aside for the curious, the word most often used by Lakota to refer to white people is “wasichu”, which means literally “takes the fat”. The word comes from the Lakota practice of dividing the meat from a hunt amongst all the members of the tribe so that no one went hungry – each got their share, and the waste fat that was left over was tossed into the fire. The whites, then, not only wanted to take more than their fair share of the meat, but were also greedy enough to want the waste fat that no one else wanted. I.e., they wanted to take EVERYTHING.

Hence Wakan Tonka: the mysterious toy truck.

This usage* also appears in the popular idiomatic phrase, “That creationist can’t wakan tonk at the same time.” I.e., creationists have a mysterious neurological disorder, named for the observation that it usually manifests in early childhood, about the time that most children are outgrowing their toys.

*(Not related to the Osage.)

Hence Wakan Tonka: the mysterious toy truck.

Or Wakan Wonka, the mysterious keeper of the Oompa Loompas.

Or Wakan hell*, where all evilutionists will go and burn, and over which upstanding true believers will warm their hands.

* May lose something in translation if you good ole boys in the US of A don’t use the same idiom as we from down under.

Such interesting tit-bits as one Native American language (this is from memory) had the same word for ‘red’ and ‘green’ thus saving color blind members of the tribe a cognitive dissonance with their brethren.

Apparently you are reshaping your memory to support a thesis that has no basis in actual fact. Rather than lacking terms that discriminate terms for opposite colors, many languages lack terms that discriminate between similar colors, such as green and blue. The Dani of New Guinea only have two words, ‘mola’ for white/red/yellow and ‘mili’ for black/blue/green.

“Another (again from memory) which is even more interesting, the whole tribe lived by “the word” (OK now “The word” was their native word for WORD…got that?), the word provided everything, protected them, gave them life after death (or so it was said, I suppose).”

This phenomen is fairly common. Slavs are “people of the word” - “slovo” being “word” in modern Russian. Conversely the Russsian word for “German” is derived from the word for “mute”.

I have heard the claim (probably apocryphal) that most Native American languages had no word for “religion,” not because they were not spiritual, but because they drew no distinction between belief and knowledge; everything was spiritual.

Well, originally English didn’t have a word for ‘religion’ either, and had to borrow the word from Latin, from a word that originally meant ‘binding together’.

Yes Comparative Mythology reveals a great deal about how different groups of Humans socially constructed their world view. Such interesting tit-bits as one Native American language (this is from memory) had the same word for ‘red’ and ‘green’ thus saving color blind members of the tribe a cognitive dissonance with their brethren.

We know enough about Native American languages that we don’t have to mythologize them. No Native American language fails to differentiate between green and red. Some do, however, merge ‘yellow’ and ‘brown’, or ‘green’ and ‘blue’. There’s nothing mystical about this – languages across the world make strikingly different distinctions among different colors. There’s a whole anthropological and linguistic literature about this.

Another (again from memory) which is even more interesting, the whole tribe lived by “the word” (OK now “The word” was their native word for WORD…got that?), the word provided everything, protected them, gave them life after death (or so it was said, I suppose).

‘The tribe’?? There is no ‘the tribe’. There are hundreds of Native American groups with a huge variety of languages and belief systems. One cannot make generalizations like this with any validity. It’s the same as a Chinese person talking about “the religion of the White People”.

Hence Wakan Tonka: the mysterious toy truck.

Actually, ‘tonka’ (really thanka) is merely the Lakota word for ‘big’ or ‘great’. The company that first marketed Tonka Trucks liked the sound of the word and ‘borrowed’ it. Much like all the Indian tribe names that get used to name trucks and RV’s.

Accurate information is always appreciated, Arden, even in reply to plainly non-serious comments! The emission of laughter should never interfere with the reception of righteous input.

Actually, I knew full well you were just joking around, but I thought the other comments needed ‘correcting’ pretty urgently… :-)

‘Nuff said.

I was just wondering, do the native Americans have a flood myth ? I’ve often heard YECers tell us that the various flood stories from around the world is evidence that the flood was global and not local. What’s the native American version of this ?

To Joe Blow as regards his Privilege Planet challenge: “This planet is spinning at 24 thousand revolutions a year with a fly on it. Religion is the proposition that the whole shebang was put in motion so the fly could take a dizzing ride on it.” H.L. Mencken Moron, you are bringing a knife to a gunfight!!!

Peter Henderson:

I was just wondering, do the native Americans have a flood myth ? I’ve often heard YECers tell us that the various flood stories from around the world is evidence that the flood was global and not local. What’s the native American version of this ?

Peter, meet Arden Chatfield, from post #86570 above:

There are hundreds of Native American groups with a huge variety of languages and belief systems. One cannot make generalizations like this with any validity.

Um, so which particular group’s flood myth would you like to learn about?

In regard to your larger global-local question, I might also refer you to my recent post on this Pharnygula thread (and to several other posts on the same topic along the same lines–mine on this topic is about the fifth or sixth post up from the bottom): http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/[…]commentsArea.

There are hundreds of Native American groups with a huge variety of languages and belief systems.

The Federal Government recognizes 563 Native American tribes.

IIRC, it signed treaties with 372 of those.

It broke every single one.

And, with that in mind, it’s probably the “flood” that started rolling over Native America in 1492 that probably matters the most.

Back when I was a kid living in South Dakota, there is one newspaper cartoon I remember seeing tacked up on the wall in every house of my friends on the reservation. It had a flying saucer landing with two little green men waving from the hatch, and two natives standing by, with one saying to the other, “Oh no – not again”.

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on March 11, 2006 8:22 PM.

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