Antievolution, Nevada style

| 56 Comments

Apparently the petition to amend the Nevada constitution to include various creationist objections to evolution is going to die for lack of signatures. Petition author Steve Brown, a Las Vegas masonry contractor, has stopped the signature gathering effort a week before the June 20 deadline. See the NCSE news story for more. Hat tip to Red State Rabble.

If you haven’t seen the text (PDF) of the petition, I have posted it below the fold. It is…unique in several ways:

Nevada's Truth in Science petition Wrote:

The People of the State of Nevada do enact as follows:

We are amending the constitution of the State of Nevada by adding a new section concerning how evolution is to be taught in schools.

FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED MEASURE

Students should be encouraged to reflect critically and thoughtfully on all scientific material in all fields

Students must be informed that although most scientists agree that Darwin’s theory of evolution is well supported, a small minority of scientists do not agree.

The following areas of disagreement about evolution, must be taught to all students before the end of the 10th grade Students will be taught about the strengths of evolution on each item, as well as it’s weaknesses

1 Students will be informed that there are scientists who are skeptical that natural selection, or chemistry alone, can explain the origins of life. Some scientists insist that it is mathematically impossible for the first cell to have evolved by itself

2. Where did the information come from? Students must be informed of the complexity of DNA, and that some scientists insist that evolution can only speculate for how it came into existence.

3. Students must be informed that some scientists argue that evolution cannot explain the existence of some complex biological systems. They argue that the emergence of these systems is neither mathematically nor bio-chemically plausible under the theory of evolution by natural selection.

4. Students must be informed about the disputes concerning the fossil record. They must be informed that there are scientists who argue that nowhere in the fossil record is there an indisputable skeleton of a transitional specie, or a “missing link”. They insist that the fossil record only shows species that are fully developed

5. Students must be informed that some scientists argue that sexual reproduction would require an unbelievable series of chance events that would have had to occur in the evolutionary theory. The students must be informed that the origin of sex, or sex drive, is one of biology’s mysteries.

[Transcribed from the PDF scan. Typos original, except that some punctuation may have been lost in the fax/scan process.]

Does sexual reproduction require an unbelievable series of chance events? Teach the controversy!

56 Comments

Does sexual reproduction require an unbelievable series of chance events?

Back when I was single, sometimes it seemed that way.

(Somebody had to say it)

OK - so we see what students are to be informed about what is NOT - Where is the list of things that ARE.

“Students must be informed that some scientists argue that evolution cannot explain the existence of the sun, and that some scientists insist that evolution can only speculate for how it came into existence.”

Does sexual reproduction require an unbelievable series of chance events?

based on the success of my current dating regimen…

yes. Yes it does.

We are amending the constitution of the State of Nevada

Ya know, for a group of people who claim to be “conservative”, the fundies sure do have an awful lot of proposed amendments to constitutions (state and federal) floating around.

It’s no wonder, though, that not a single one has ever passed. Or even got taken seriously.

The fundies passed the peak of their political power decades ago. Now, they’re has-beens.

Does sexual reproduction require an unbelievable series of chance events?

Here’s my question: if this is true, then because [insert ID argument] the actual cause of sexual reproduction must be intelligent design. But this proposition has its own set of problems…for example, why is alcohol so often involved?

“a small minority of scientists do not agree.”

At least they’re honest about the small minority. The rest is pretty much one howler after another.

Apparently Steve Brown talked to his bookie and got the odds for passage of this … this work of artlessness. And besides, it’s missing the most important question: “Why are there still monkeys?”

Apparently Steve Brown talked to his bookie and got the odds for passage of this …

…and was told that they were below Dembski’s universal probability bound.

Bob

Some scientists think that black people are inferior to whites. Some scientists think that gay people are mentally ill.

Teach the controversy!

The only way our children will learn about these subjects is if they approach the subjects with “open minds.”

So I am told.

Nick Matzke Wrote:

…if this is true, then because [insert ID argument] the actual cause of sexual reproduction must be intelligent design. But this proposition has its own set of problems…for example, why is alcohol so often involved?

I know this one. First we get a buzz on at the local disco. Then with floozy in tow, we hop into our SUVs with the huge backseats wherein hazy attempts at sexual reproduction can occur. This serendipitous four part pathway could not have happened by chance alone, thus it is a clear example of irreducible complexity. Whoever said the Designer wasn’t any fun?

H. Humbert Wrote:

“Students must be informed that some scientists argue that evolution cannot explain the existence of the sun, and that some scientists insist that evolution can only speculate for how it came into existence.”

Actually it was Creationists who found the sun. Based on their superlative grasp of thermodynamics, no less. Those evolutionists would surely have missed it, what with being so busy looking for fossils and such! And it was such an illuminating revelation.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Ya know, for a group of people who claim to be “conservative”, the fundies sure do have an awful lot of proposed amendments to constitutions (state and federal) floating around.

Yes, there does seem to be a lot of Activist Legislators recently. Whether it’s ammending national constitutions specifically to prevent two people of the same sex from marrying (redefining marriage in the process), ammending state constitutions to promote theistic “science” in public schools, or going against Supreme Court decisions specifically decriminalizing induce elective abortions or allowing child predators to be executed, it seems like everybody wants a piece of the action lately. I wonder if it has anything to do with the new SCOTUS lineup or election time, but maybe I’m just being cynical.

an unbelievable series of chance events

Like those needed to explain why nearly all the “scientists” in the aforementioned amendment just happen to belong to the same religion.

An inexplicable congruence! Bask in the wonder.

Some scientists insist that it is mathematically impossible for the first cell to have evolved by itself,

Thank goodness none of those mathematicians were around to tell the first cell what it could and could not do.

Teach the controversy!

hmm, try this on for size as a counter slogan

Filter the noise!

Does it work?

“4. Students must be informed about the disputes concerning the fossil record. They must be informed that there are scientists who argue that nowhere in the fossil record is there an indisputable skeleton of a transitional specie, or a “missing link”. They insist that the fossil record only shows species that are fully developed”

Just what to they think a species would look like if it wasn’t fully developed? Do they think that the theory of evolution actually predicts partially developed creatures? Or is it that they are trying to claim that for every biological feature documented in the fossil record, it’s first occurence is in the modern form?

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

Ya know, for a group of people who claim to be “conservative”, the fundies sure do have an awful lot of proposed amendments to constitutions (state and federal) floating around.

“Conservatives” (actually authoritarians) who want science education to be so “liberal” as to give equal time to the misrepresentations of a fringe minority, regardless of how thoroughly they have been refuted. Because of students’ prior misconceptions, and the fact that the refutations require more time and science background that the students have, the net effect of these scams is to give more than “equal time” to the misrepresentations.

Some scientists insist that it is mathematically impossible for the first cell to have evolved by itself

I really really really hate these “mathematically impossible” comments. My beloved subject, turned into a slogan for idiots.

Next time someone shouts “Mathematical Impossibility!”, just point them to Xeno’s paradox, and tell them they’ll never get anywhere arguing like that.

What a horribly written piece of trash. “Students must be informed that some scientists argue that sexual reproduction would require an unbelievable series of chance events that would have had to occur in the evolutionary theory.” In the theory?? They can’t even get the distinction between a theory and its referents correct. Appalling.

fnxtr: That’s Zeno, and there were (at least) three paradoxes. That quibble aside, are you sure you want to do that? Maybe they’d come back saying: “Motion is impossible! Teach the controversy in physics class!” :)

Does sexual reproduction require an unbelievable series of chance events?

If you doubt that this is true, how is it that there are Pygmies and dwarfs?

Wheels:

I wonder if it has anything to do with the new SCOTUS lineup or election time, but maybe I’m just being cynical.

To quote the Talking Heads:

“Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”

This, also, is the beauty of such activisim. The format never really changes in substance, only in presentation. The goals are sometimes achieved but painfully short-lived. They lack a basic understanding of human behavior and social interaction, and thus are inherently doomed from their very starting assumptions that compel them to pursue such pathways.

Students must be informed that some scientists argue that sexual reproduction would require an unbelievable series of chance events that would have had to occur in the evolutionary theory.

I’m not even sure what that sentence is supposed to mean. Are they already teaching about some kind of fringe controversy in expository-writing classes?

I can’t believe they actually put “unbelievable” in the language for the bill. “Yeah, this whole EvolutionofsexThing is simply not possible.” How blatant can you get? All in all, I’d have to chalk the whole of #5 up as… INCONCEIVABLE!

Sounds like Nevada also ought to amend its constitution to teach all about sex. Get those Creationist minds out of the gutter.

Sounds like Nevada also ought to amend its constitution to teach all about sex.

Of all the places where sex should be well understood.…

Wheels: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” - Inigo Montoya

Keith: BBC calls him Xeno; that’s how I’ve always seen it spelled. (shrug).

… not to be confused with Xena’s paradox: can a woman be a warrior and a princess?

Julie Stahlhut Wrote:

I’m not even sure what that sentence is supposed to mean.

It’s supposed to mean different things to different people. That’s part of the scam.

While loaded with feel-good sound bites, on closer inspection the entire statement collapses into a word salad that confuses and misrepresents so many issues that it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m convinced that most anti-evolution scams these days are “designed” primarily to bait critics into whining about “sneaking in God” instead of picking apart the misrepresentations in language understandable to most high school students and their parents.

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote:

The fundies passed the peak of their political power decades ago. Now, they’re has-beens.

I really hope that you are correct with that assessment. If the fundies’ political power has peaked, it doesn’t seem very obvious to me, especially given that Ann Coulter’s poisonous manifesto seems to be doing well in sales.

The fundies passed the peak of their political power decades ago. Now, they’re has-beens.

“The problem is not with people or churches that are politically active. It is with a party that has gone so far in adopting a sectarian agenda that it has become the political extension of a religious movement.” – John C. Danforth, former Republican Senator from Missouri

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” – Thomas Jefferson

I fear that, if the attitude of ignoring the fundies prevails, so will they.

Actually, for your typical wingnut the emergence of sex drive might indeed be one of biology’s mysteries.

Wasn’t it once claimed that it is mathematically impossible for bees to fly? Good thing bees (and cells) can’t do math.

If the fundies’ political power has peaked, it doesn’t seem very obvious to me

It sure is obvious to James Dobson, who has recently been whining and weeping that the Republicrats don’t pay any attention to him anymore.

Back in the 80’s, the creationists could pass laws implemetning their crap.

ID never has.

I fear that, if the attitude of ignoring the fundies prevails, so will they.

Ignore them? Far from it — I’d prefer to stomp them into the ground as a political movement.

But the fundies have already demonstrated pretty clearly that they can’t prevail using democratic methods. Most people simply don’t support them.

Their only choice, now, is to use NON-democratic methods.

“Does sexual reproduction require an unbelievable series of chance events? “

Only if you’re not doing it right…

Some scientists believe that Jesus was married and had a child - teach the controversy!

Actually, for your typical wingnut the emergence of sex drive might indeed be one of biology’s mysteries.

Not to mention one of its most EEEVIL mysteries.

Mark White wrote Some scientists believe that Jesus was married and had a child - teach the controversy!

The physical evidence says Jesus was mortal - teach that controversy and see what happens!

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

The fundies passed the peak of their political power decades ago. Now, they’re has-beens.

Much as I normally enjoy agreeing with Lenny, I have to state that this is a very dangerously naive notion. Dobson can still command the assembly of colloquies of Republicans, who form a “Values Action Team” to make certain that their fundibase understand that Republicans are marching resolutely to the correct drum.

If the peak has happened, it wasn’t “decades ago”, since it’s only been a short while since McCain made his barefoot-in-the-snow pilgrimage to Gregory VII Falwell to atone for his “agents of intolerance” faux pas.

But the fundies have already demonstrated pretty clearly that they can’t prevail using democratic methods. Most people simply don’t support them.

Their only choice, now, is to use NON-democratic methods.

Exactly. That’s where their current full-court press to eliminate the judicial branch’s check/balance comes in.

Will they succeed? I am not at all sure that the constant drumbeat of “Judicial Activism! Evil Activist Judges! Judicial Activism! Evil Activist Judges!” will come to naught.

I’faith, the sole true evil on Earth today is the concept of Evil itself.

mdr – As modern American “Christians” discover the wonders of the Prosperity Gospel and the pleasures of accepting Karl Rove’s invitation to live in Caesar’s palace, they realize more and more that the central teaching of the New Testament is not John 3:16; in fact, it is Matthew 25:29.

Much as I normally enjoy agreeing with Lenny, I have to state that this is a very dangerously naive notion.

Well, certainly no one has ever called me politically “naive” before… ;)

Dobson can still command the assembly of colloquies of Republicans, who form a “Values Action Team” to make certain that their fundibase understand that Republicans are marching resolutely to the correct drum.

Bah. The Republicrats control the Congress, the White House, AND the judiciary, and they STILL haven’t passed a single shred of the fundie social agenda. The Republicrats will be making speeches about “marching resolutely”, forever. After all, as long as they keep “marching resolutely”, the fundie money and votes will continue to flow. But if they ever GET to where they are supposed to be “marching”, the gravy train will be over. So all they’ll do is make speeches.

If the Republicrats really wanted to pass the fundie agenda, it would already be in place. The Democans can’t stop them, the Libertarians can’t stop them, NOBODY can stop them. They can march, resolutely or not, right on in without a shred of opposition from anyone. They can quite literally do whatever they want (including, apparently, such things as torturing people, holding people indefinitely without charges or trial, and spying on people they don’t like).

But, despite all their speechifying, they DON’T want to pass any of the fundie social agenda. They know as well as everyone else that it would be political suicide, since no one supports that agenda.

If the peak has happened, it wasn’t “decades ago”, since it’s only been a short while since McCain made his barefoot-in-the-snow pilgrimage to Gregory VII Falwell to atone for his “agents of intolerance” faux pas.

He needs their money and their votes. He can’t get the Republicrat nomination without them (or at least without their non-opposition). He’s pandering. (shrug)

Will they succeed? I am not at all sure that the constant drumbeat of “Judicial Activism! Evil Activist Judges! Judicial Activism! Evil Activist Judges!” will come to naught.

It has so far. (shrug)

I think you overestimate the support that the Republicrats give to the fundies (as opposed to vice versa).

The Republicrats are beholden, as they always have been, to the corporados. And the corporados simply don’t want a theocracy. It’s bad for business.

The Republicrats will do for the fundies what the Democans do for the, uh, “labor movement”. Nothing. They give them lip service, give them speeches, take their money, take their votes, and then don’t pass a single thing for them.

And, since the fundies can’t go to another party any more than the, uh, “labor movement” can, both of them will simply shut up and live with it. That’s why Dobson’s whining was so funny. What’s he gonna do if the Republicrats continue to refuse to give him what he wants — join the Democans? (shrug)

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

But, despite all their speechifying, they DON’T want to pass any of the fundie social agenda. They know as well as everyone else that it would be political suicide, since no one supports that agenda.

I’m not sure what part of the country you inhabit, but I infest Nawth Texas. My wife is the editor of a newspaper in the region, and has a reasonable grasp of the drift of community opinions and the political climate, both in these parts (where “voting” means “voting in the Republican primary”) and a number of other regions in neighboring states.

“No one supports that agenda” is not a realistic assessment of the current state of affairs. Simply reading the officially-released version of the Texas GOP platform statement and connecting it with other similar documents nationwide will tell you that.

Withal, “not supporting that agenda” can be physically dangerous in this area.

Simply reading the officially-released version of the Texas GOP platform statement and connecting it with other similar documents nationwide will tell you that.

And yet none of it has been passed. The Republicrats have no organized political opposition of any sort whatsoever (the Democans should drop the donkey symbol and adopt the jellyfish instead), and yet they *still* haven’t passed any of it.

They don’t WANT to. (shrug)

The fundies are now all “blow” and no “go”.

I’m not sure what part of the country you inhabit

I’m in Florida. I can’t swing a dead cat without smacking two or three fundies.

And yet their social agenda hasn’t passed here, either.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

And yet their social agenda hasn’t passed here, either.

“Passed”? We don’t need no stinking “passed”.

Billions of bucks are being funneled to doctrinally-correct churches faith-based community organizations, “signing statements” are issued to indicate which laws will not be observed by the Executive Branch and local administrative bodies make it plain that they have no intention of paying any attention to any godless myth of “separation of church and state”. What’s to “pass”?

officially-released version of the Texas GOP platform statement

And how much legal authority does THAT document have, again . … . . ?

Granted, the fundies (and the Republicrats) are very very good at speechifying, endlessly. The fundies are all full of talk about what they are GOING to do. But oddly, one never hears anything about what they have ALREADY DONE. That’s because, apart from all their speechifying and bluster, they haven’t actually, uh, done hardly anything.

They’re dead as an effective political force. The Republicrats know it, and the fundies know it too. When Dobson jumps up and down and screams that the Republicrats don’t give him what he wants, he’s right. They don’t. They WON’T. And he can’t do a goddamn thing about it. (shrug)

As for the IDers, they never even managed to reach the level of power that the creation “scientists” did. The creatiokooks managed to actually pass laws, in several states, forcing their crap into classrooms.

The IDers never managed to pass anything. Sure, lots of panderers introduced bills for them —– nearly all of which died quickly in committee. The IDers packed a few state education boards and implemented some “policies” — nearly all of which died shortly thereafter. Ten years of work, millions of dollars spent, and all the Wedge-ites have to show for it is the Kansas Kooks (at least until *they* get kicked out of office, again).

The fundies have shot their load. They lost. Their glory days are long gone.

faith-based community organizations

Note that one of the biggest complainers about this have been … the fundies. Seems they don’t like most of the people that are getting the money.

As for the signing statements, it ain’t the fundies behind those.

And the fundies seem to have lost every substantive church/state case in recent memory. Certainly Dover did them no good. They haven’t even managed to overturn Roe v Wade, despite the utter control of the Federal judiciary by the Republicrats, and they don’t dare bring a gay marriage case to the Supreme Court, because they know they won’t win.

In the words of Grand Moff Tarkin, “I think you overestimate their chances”.

The fundies make lots of noise. And that’s about all they can manage to do.

As for The Shrub, well, have you seen his, uh, approval ratings lately? He’s not exactly Mr Popular.

By the way, most of the “faith-based community organization” funding goes to the “liberal” churches. The fundies, historically, have never bothered with community groups or social programs, and still don’t. Much of the funding goes to Catholic community groups, or liberal socially-oriented Protestants (the kind who do things like set up homeless shelters, soup kitchens, free medical clinics, etc etc etc — exactly the sort of things that the fundies DON’T do).

Interestingly, the UCC, which has always been strongly involved in community and social programs, refuses to take any government money, on principle.

'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank Wrote:

And how much legal authority does THAT document have, again .….. ?

Heh. Outside of the Peoples’ Republic of Austin, it generally has the force of common law.

OK, I’ll observe the old Usenet rule that as soon as a 1-2-1-2-1-2 posting sequence exceeds some length N the whole thing is just a private disagreement, and retire.

“Sir: I’ve analysed the pattern of their attack, and there is a danger…”

mdr – History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes. – Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813.

OK, I’ll observe the old Usenet rule that as soon as a 1-2-1-2-1-2 posting sequence exceeds some length N the whole thing is just a private disagreement, and retire.

Ah, we’re just the only two still awake.

;)

Awake? Some of us have been working for 6 hours already and have just had lunch. Must be time for a siesta.

In the words of Grand Moff Tarkin, “I think you overestimate their chances”.

I seem to remember that the Death Star still got blown up.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

Their [fundies] only choice, now, is to use NON-democratic methods.

Ah. Hence our beloved President.

I seem to remember that the Death Star still got blown up.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

Ya know, I just *knew* someone would say that.

;)

I hope nobody points out to them the unbelievable series of chance events that had to occur for the signatories of the petition to be born. They might just disappear into thin air, because their existence is clearly mathematically impossible.

“The students must be informed that the origin of sex, or sex drive, is one of biology’s mysteries.”

Why do these guys love mysteries so much? What’s wrong with trying to understand things? Seriously, how screwed up is that attitude?

What’s wrong with trying to understand things? Seriously, how screwed up is that attitude?

Since their attitudes are “screwed” up, we must contend that they will forever remain mysterious.

It was Christian’s world view that gave birth to modern science and education. True followers of Christ should be on the forefront of modern science, and modern science should not exclude any argument for our existence, no matter where the majority may be at any given point in time. Faith and science do not need to be in opposition. As for this petition, I support the motivation for it, but I think it was poorly written. Anything written that poorly will never amend our constitution.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on June 12, 2006 8:39 PM.

Laudan, demarcation and the vacuity of Intelligent design was the previous entry in this blog.

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