Michigan backs teaching evolution in science class

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The State Board of Education on Tuesday approved public school curriculum guidelines that support the teaching of evolution in science classes – but not intelligent design.

Intelligent design instruction could be left for other classes in Michigan schools, but it doesn’t belong in science class, according to the unanimously adopted guidelines.

“The intent of the board needs to be very clear,” said board member John Austin, an Ann Arbor Democrat. “Evolution is not under stress. It is not untested science.”

Source

Seems that the Thomas More Law Center, which lost in the Dover case has another bitter pill to swallow:

Richard Thompson, leader of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, said intelligent design should have a home in science classes. The center describes its mission as defending the religious freedom of Christians.

“It would make students more knowledgeable about science and more interested in science,” he said in a phone interview. “Evolution is a theory. It’s not a fact.”

Will they ever learn…

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35 Comments

It would seem that the only avenue left for IDeists is to focus completely on “critical analysis” and ignore the phrase “Intelligent Design”.

They’ve been trying that ever since Dover. They just fail to understand that science is already critical and that evolution has stood up to “critical analysis” for a century and a half. Let the bozo’s carry on.

If I see that last sentence in another quote by someone supposedly “qualified” to criticize evolution, I may projectile vomit (then attack the person in a fit of insanity).

I say before ANYONE thinks of adding to evolution, we critically analyse ID first. How many of you are with me?

Greg says

I say before ANYONE thinks of adding to evolution, we critically analyse ID first. How many of you are with me?

I agree. Alternatively, a lesson plan to teach ID could be drawn up: - What is a theory? - Description of ID (as defined by an IDiot) - Evidence in favour of ID (nil) - Predictions from ID (nil) - Is ID a theory? - Critical evaluation of statements of IDiots If this were fleshed out a bit and presented to any school board considering ‘critical evaluation of evolution’ I think that might deter a lot of people on the margin.

Intelligent Design has as much place in a science class as does alchemy. There is a clear distinction between verifiable/falsifiable intellectual honesty … and silly superstitions ardently defended only by the ignorant — and those who would rather see the ignorant remain so.

Evolution is a theory in the same way that universal gravitation is. The effects are undeniable; the force is real; the facts are inarguable. What is theoretical is some of the mechanism that results in the effect.

Arguing that this itself calls evolution into question is similar to arguing that a belief the world is flat invalidates its sphericity, that the ancient Greek belief that the sun was Apollo’s chariot somehow negated the reality of a heliocentric solar system.

These damned fools must be shamed into silence, and treating IDiots as though they “deserve” to have a hearing in science classes only elevates their inanity to a level that it has not earned.

Science is not democratic.

I fully agree with Richard Simmons. ID SHOULD be taught in science class! The problem is, to be taught properly, it would be flayed and dissected as an excellent example of pseudoscience – something that would throw Johnston, Luskin, Behe and Dembski into apoplectic fits. In fact, I have used ID and creation science material in graduate seminars to teach the philosophy of science. It seems to work quite well, because the stuff is so obviously bad that it highlights what constitutes real science. *sigh* If only Mr. Thompson could understand what a pathetic joke ID really is.

Unfortunately, very few people in the K-12 business are qualified to teach ID for what it is. Moreover, most high school students are not really prepared with a background that lets them see through the bullshit. It would be sort of like teaching classical French literature to first year French students still struggling with the conjugation of avoir. The IDiots, knowing this full well, will never stop at trying to force this crap into public schools. They may as well be pushing for legislation to teach homeopathy and faith healing at Johns Hopkins medical school. They’re like bullies. They pick on the ignorant and deluded, selling snake oil and miracle cures, and totally avoid dealing with real scientists who know what this crap is all about. Kudos to the school board! Realizing that this is the situation, they have done what’s right – keep the predators away from the prey.

What the clowns in the DI or TMLC don’t get (or conveniently neglect to mention) is that evolutionary theory is critically evaluated every time a new fossil is found or a biological experiment is done in the lab.

And by the way, why is an organization that “defends the religious freedom of Christians” getting involved in a “scientific” debate? After all, ID is “all about the science”, isn’t it?

Why doesn’t the DI get involved with a theory of intelligently designed hurricanes or thunderstorms? After all, there must be plenty of “gaps” in current meteorological theory.

Richard Thompson, leader of the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, said intelligent design should have a home in science classes. The center describes its mission as defending the religious freedom of Christians.

gees, what more needs be said?

Congrats to Michigan from Ohio! (Until the Ohio State/Michigan game, anyway.)

Advocatus Diaboli wrote

It would seem that the only avenue left for IDeists is to focus completely on “critical analysis” and ignore the phrase “Intelligent Design”.

That’s what Ohio’s State Board of Education dumped in February by a healthy vote margin. And the newest variant, “Framework for Teaching Controversial Issues”, was dumped by an even larger margin (14-3) yesterday. I can’t imagine what the next dilution will be. In Ohio they’ve evolved from “Two models – evolution and ID” to the Framework, and all have failed in the end. Maybe “Teach some stuff”?

RBH

mplavcan Wrote:

I fully agree with Richard Simmons. ID SHOULD be taught in science class! The problem is, to be taught properly, it would be flayed and dissected as an excellent example of pseudoscience — something that would throw Johnston, Luskin, Behe and Dembski into apoplectic fits.

That also risks running afoul of religious neutrality in the other direction–state schools shouldn’t be singling out Christian pseudoscience to demolish in science class, any more than they should be singling it out to promote it. Parents would almost certainly sue in that case, and they’d have good reason.

It works great as a college elective, though.

Many thanks to Robert Pennock and the Michigan Citizens for Science for staying on top of this and informing the Board of Education and legislators about the history of this ploy. This history shows that evolution is alive and well in the creationist/ID movement, and we can only anticipate more virulent strains of this meme brain disease in the future.

Sir_Toejam Wrote:

what more needs be said?

What needs to be said, is that anyone who can read this week’s New York Times series on the enormous legal perks this country gives to religious organizations and preachers, and still think religion in the US needs to be defended from anything, except, perhaps, morbid obesity, well, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

How to teach ID in the (university) class room:

Day 1. Let students write half a page on what they think explains the biological diversity on earth. (whether ID, creationism, evolution, extra-terestial, etc) Day 2. Teach scientific method. Homework: Let students write half a page to the day 1 page on how they would test that idea, and if they can not test it, why not. Day 3. Discuss. Day 4 and on, teach evolution.

I disagree with the notion that teaching ID for what it is would necessarily target a Christian religious idea. If they want to play science, we can play science. As long as they are insisting that these are only scientific hypotheses, we can treat them as such (heh heh heh.…).

Fails to meet the criterion of a scientific hypothesis? Good, chuck it out. Example: “God did it.” Answer: not a scientific hypothesis because it is not falsifiable. Not appropriate to be addressed in a science class.

Makes a testable prediction? Good, test it. Example: The earth is 6000 years old. Answer: False on the basis of multitudinous radiometric and other tests, and a lack of consistency with multitudinous geological and paleontological observations. Absolutely zero empirical evidence in favor of such a date. Technical critiques of radiometric dating are false or irrelevant. Any conflict of these results with personal religious viewpoints is not the subject for this class.

Makes a claim about fact? Fine, check to see if the claim is true. Example: The bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex. Answer: false. Explicit analogues exist for flagellar subunits, and the claim rests on the demonstrably false assumption that proteins cannot have multiple functions, or vary in the efficiency of their functions.

See? No religion required! Conversely, religion IS required to claim that ID or creationism belongs in a science classroom as a viable “alternative” to evolution. This is because the claims are scientifically bankrupt or demonstrably false, thereby requiring faith to maintain them in the face of contradictory evidence. To paraphrase what Behe himself has said (under oath), one’s acceptance of ID as science is contingent on one’s faith in God.

Of course, they would try to sue, but wouldn’t that be fun to see the tables reversed?

I say before ANYONE thinks of adding to evolution, we critically analyse ID first. How many of you are with me?

Can’t be done. How the heck can you critically examine a scientific theory that, uh, doesn’t even exist?

I will be particularly interested in how this plays out in the gubernatorial race. If Granholm wins then we all win.

Teachers are going to be up against it when this book is released:

http://shop5.gospelcom.net/epages/A[…]uct/10-2-261

mplavcan Wrote:

I disagree with the notion that teaching ID for what it is would necessarily target a Christian religious idea. If they want to play science, we can play science. As long as they are insisting that these are only scientific hypotheses, we can treat them as such (heh heh heh.…).

But many Christians don’t insist that, and their kids are in the class too. We know the ID proponents who claim it’s pure science are lying; why go along with that at all by pretending it’s even honestly bad science? Not that teachers shouldn’t be equipped and ready to discuss the matter if a student actually brings it up–but going out of their way to address it otherwise is singling out a particular religious viewpoint as particularly associated with crap pseudoscience. (Which it may be in practice, at least within the US but I think that’s better discussed in history/philosophy/sociology/polisci classes.)

It seems to me, too, that most of the more testable creationist claims can already be discussed in the context of history of science. Age of the Earth, for example–no need to mention modern creationists, just talk about Lyell, Kelvin, etc., the evidence for each alternative and which one turned out to be right. If a student then asks whether modern creationists have any better evidence, then great, discuss; but hopefully most will be able to apply the info to their personal beliefs as necessary in their own heads.

Anton wrote:

It seems to me, too, that most of the more testable creationist claims can already be discussed in the context of history of science. Age of the Earth, for example—no need to mention modern creationists, just talk about Lyell, Kelvin, etc., the evidence for each alternative and which one turned out to be right. If a student then asks whether modern creationists have any better evidence, then great, discuss; but hopefully most will be able to apply the info to their personal beliefs as necessary in their own heads.

What creationists will say Anton is:

” Evolutionists and creationists both have the same evidence available. It’s just a matter of how you interpret it. When you look at the facts through biblical glasses you’ll see that there’s a lot of evidence for creation and a young Earth”.

At least that’s what Ken Ham says. You just can’t argue with that attitude no matter how compelling your evidence is for evolution/age of the Earth, etc.

I’ve seen at least 4 and a half creationists abandon strict literalism when faced with evidence *and* theological arguments that literalism was unsound.

So, yes, you can argue with them, just not with evidence alone.

And, so far, without a huge success rate.

Peter Henderson Wrote:

What creationists will say Anton is:

“Evolutionists and creationists both have the same evidence available. It’s just a matter of how you interpret it. When you look at the facts through biblical glasses you’ll see that there’s a lot of evidence for creation and a young Earth”.

Creationist students may retreat to that claim, and there’s not much the teacher can do other than discuss whether “looking through biblical glasses” is part of the scientific method. But I think that such students are even more likely to tune out if the teacher spontaneously brings up the topic of modern creationism and how silly it is.

If there are any creationist-raised kids in the class who are actually interested in how to interpret the evidence from a scientific point of view–and there’s always a few–seems to me the most promising way of helping them along without triggering the “They’re attacking my faith and family” panic button is to keep the argument in the past, where it really was as far as science was concerned. Concentrate on folks like Kelvin, who were smart and accomplished but ultimately wrong about this; or folks like Darwin, who started as creationists and then changed their minds; rather than the liars and lunatics who are running the creationID movement now.

When I suggested a lesson plan for teaching ID, I wasn’t thinking that this would actually be given to a class, rather that it would be used like a 2 by 4 to get the attention of board members etc who might otherwise be inclined to give ‘fair time’ to ID, and perhaps to draw out from ID supporters just what they would want to offer in a class.

It must be really difficult to convince people who have a mindset like Gary Parker for example:

According to the Bible, the water for Noah’s Flood was first released when the “fountains of the great deep burst forth” (Genesis 7:11). Imagine volcanoes many times more powerful than Mt. St. Helens, going off all over the world at the same time. That may help you begin to imagine catastrophe on a Biblical scale! And it’s catastrophe on that Biblical scale that science needs to explain many of the physical features of our earth, such as the Grand Canyon

Taken from the article on AIG’s website today. Since you mentioned Lord Kelvin (who did most of his experiments here in Belfast, by the way) I see AIG still list him as a scientist who was a creationist:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/

Although, if he’d been alive today I’m sure they would have been attacking his views.

Re “I’ve seen at least 4 and a half creationists […]”

What good is half a creationist? ;)

Ummm, what use is a WHOLE creationist????

The half-a-creationist refers to one who was only convinced to drop YEC for OEC.

It’s an improvement!

I must point out that while I’ve been debating online for seven years and only seen 4.5 converts to EVILution, I’ve seen no converts to creationism. There may be a reason for that.

I am, of course, being quite biased in my sampling. I am ignoring, for example, one whose very first post was “You’re so right! I’m not going to believe in evolution anymore!” I’m ignoring this because:

A) The individual had no previous posting history to suggest she was actually an EVILutionist.

B) the “You’re so right” bit referred to a post that totally failed to actually address creationism or EVILution (it was just a description of how much people suffered during crucifixion). As such, it’s not like any evidence was involved.

C) The individual quickly proved to be just another sock puppet of a creationist we came to know as The Collective for his habit of creating dozens of identities and having conversations with himself (while forgetting which signature to put on which email address).

(Highpoint of The Collective’s career: arguing that the existence of bats with “imperfect” radar didn’t show that bats with imperfect radar could exist.)

Richard Simons Wrote:

When I suggested a lesson plan for teaching ID, I wasn’t thinking that this would actually be given to a class, rather that it would be used like a 2 by 4 to get the attention of board members etc who might otherwise be inclined to give ‘fair time’ to ID, and perhaps to draw out from ID supporters just what they would want to offer in a class.

You know, I was actually thinking of doing that, should the Ohio board ever bring up the possibility of a lesson plan again. This is supposed to be critical analysis, and that means everything gets criticized, right? Even if they got the DI’s dream plan through, with absolutely no real criticism of ID or creationism, even if every single teacher was too lazy to go and research this issue rather than just reading it off the plan, you know there’s going to be that one little over-achiever who gets on Google and discovers, wow, these creationist people are frauds! Look, that Hovind guy evaded his taxes! Those overlapping dino/human footprints are fakes! That guy who came up with irreducible complexity got reamed in court! Which is far too fun not to point out once the classroom “debate” gets going.

There’s no way, if the general “Go look it up on the web, then come back and fight” idea of the lesson plan is actually implemented, that creationism and ID wouldn’t get bagged on just as hard as evolution. And then you have angry creationist parents suing the school simultaneously with angry pro-science parents; everyone’s pissed off. Doesn’t really sound like a good thing for your future political career, does it?

Didn’t Judge Jones take careful note in his decision that the wording of the disallowed statement recommended ‘critical analysis’ for evolution, but conspicuously avoided such analysis for the proposed alternative? Aren’t these statements (including the Santorum wording) crafted by a lawyer?

Flint Wrote:

Didn’t Judge Jones take careful note in his decision that the wording of the disallowed statement recommended ‘critical analysis’ for evolution, but conspicuously avoided such analysis for the proposed alternative? Aren’t these statements (including the Santorum wording) crafted by a lawyer?

The Ohio lesson plans in question, some of which you can get to from the Ohio Citizens for Science site, appear to have been crafted by monkeys.

The earlier ones do have exactly the problem you describe, but the most-recently-shot-down idea was to criticize lots of different theories, such as…well…global warming, stem cell research and evolution. (No, nobody knows what the “theory of stem cell research” is. I expected to see “Clinton Theory” critically analyzed next.) Under that model it’s pretty hard to see how ID and creationism wouldn’t get criticized in class, since it’s pretty much open season for kids to come to school and rant about the suckiness of anything remotely related to science.

Anton Mates Wrote:

The Ohio lesson plans in question, some of which you can get to from the Ohio Citizens for Science site, appear to have been crafted by monkeys.

The link that Anton provided is to a page at the old site for Ohio Citizens for Science. The pages are still available there, but are no longer updated. Try this page at www.ohioscience.org to get a copy of the lesson plan that was deleted in February.

My father-in-law is a professor at Penn State in the Anthropology and he uses ID regularly in the gen ed Physical Anthro/Evolution class. It’s beautifully systematic to move through stuff like junk DNA and say, (paraphrase) “Intelligent designer? I don’t think so. Look at all of this crap…” And on and on and on through the litany of poorly or mediocrely “designed parts” of existing species.

Brian McEnnis Wrote:

The link that Anton provided is to a page at the old site for Ohio Citizens for Science. The pages are still available there, but are no longer updated. Try this page at www.ohioscience.org to get a copy of the lesson plan that was deleted in February.

Ah, thank you.

Peter Wrote:

) My father-in-law is a professor at Penn State in the Anthropology and he uses ID regularly in the gen ed Physical Anthro/Evolution class. It’s beautifully systematic to move through stuff like junk DNA and say, (paraphrase) “Intelligent designer? I don’t think so. Look at all of this crap…”

That’s not always something you can pull off unless your students are already comfortable with evolution, though (which may be a given in his class). In an OSU intro bio class there’s a reasonable chance of getting a serious creationist response invoking the Fall, or the Great Designer’s “whimsy,” etc., and you don’t want to get into the Argument from Evil in the middle of class.

Great Anton, then you could call it the theory of “Vindictive Design”. It’s a more appropriate acronym anyway.

Anton Mates Wrote:

The Ohio lesson plans in question, some of which you can get to from the Ohio Citizens for Science site, appear to have been crafted by monkeys.

They were crafted by monkeys. I thought you knew that. :-)

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 10, 2006 11:48 PM.

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