The Ohio BOE “Achievement” Committee Skates (again!)

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UPDATE MP3 of the Board Debate on Ohio Citizens for Science.

Promoted from the comments:

Though the Achievement Committee skated, dipped and twirled, the full Board finally took it out of the Committee’s hands. This is promoted from the comments.

At today’s board meeting, under new business:

Motion by Martha Wise, second by Rob Hovis.

RESOLVED, That the Achievement Committee of the State Board of Education, having recommended no response to Board Resolution 31 referred to it in February 2006, is hereby discharged from further consideration of Resolution 31 and anything arising therefrom, including the template for teaching controversial issues.

As new business the resolution would normally have to wait 30 days before it could be considered by the board. There was a motion to consider the resolution immediately, as an emergency measure. That passed 13-4.

The motion itself passed 14-3. Cochran, Ross and Westendorf voted No. Owens-Fink and Baker were absent.

This kills Resolution 31 and the template. It effectively answers the question whether anything should replace the deleted lesson plan, benchmark and indicator with a resounding NO.

The remainder of my original post is below the fold, but it’s moot now. The Disco Institute took it in the teeth yet again. As one of our people remarked leaving the meeting, “This is the first time in years that the Disco Institute doesn’t have its hooks in the Ohio State BOE.”

In February of this year the Ohio State Board discarded the ID creationist “critical analysis of evolution” lesson plan and benchmark. The motion to discard charged the Achievement Committee of the Board to (1) determine whether replacement was desirable, and (2) if so, propose a replacement.

Since then, the Achievement Committee under the “leadership” of co-chairs Father Michael Cochran and Jim Craig has dithered, stalled, and put off debate and action. In particular, the committee has not yet even got around to considering the first part if its charge, to determine whether replacement language is necessary. Yet now there’s a “Framework for Teaching Controversial Issues” floating around the Board. In its original incarnation, that “Framework” named specific issues – stem cell research, cloning, global warming, and (of course!) evolution. In its current form it’s been scrubbed to eliminate mention of specific issues.

Now the Canton Repository is reporting that the Committee has skated yet again. Until last week, the Committee’s agenda said that Resolution 31 (the resolution passed in February) was to be discussed. But late last week that item was excised from the agenda, and at yesterday’s meeting of the Committee it was not discussed. In spite of Committee Member Eric Okerson’s attempt to bring it up, the Committee adjourned without considering the charge the Board gave it. Some “Achievement” Committee.

According to the Repository story, the failure of the Committee to act yesterday constituted a betrayal on the part of Jim Craig, co-chair of the Committee. Two weeks ago Craig and Colleen Grady (proposer of the “Framework”) assured the Ohio Academy of Science that the critical analysis effort would be killed. Craig said the same thing to the Columbus Dispatch on Friday: “It’s dead.”

However, Craig’s co-chair and one of the creationist thought leaders on the Board, Father Cochran, disagrees. According to people who attended the Committee meeting, Cochran remarked that discussion would continue next month or the month after. So much for “dead”. Perhaps Father Cochran, in his capacity as rector of a breakaway Episcopal parish, raises the dead in his spare time.

For a month the defenders of science held their fire in Ohio, their forebearance based on Craig’s assurances that the issue would be killed in this Achievement Committee meeting. In spite of Craig’s assurances to the Ohio Academy of Science, that didn’t happen, so there’s no longer any reason for us to hold back.

Interestingly, the Disco Institute weighed in just last Friday in a podcast by John West. West’s podcast is full of platitudes and snide remarks about Darwinists’ “shrill rhetoric” and “hypocrisy and paranoia”. But we remember the history of this effort in Ohio. We remember that in 2000, Deborah Owens Fink, who first mentioned global warming in this context at a board meeting, offered a “two models” motion to the board – teach both intelligent design and evolution. We remember that in 2002 Stephen Meyer and Jonathan Wells of the Disco Institute, invited to speak to the board about why the Board should require teaching intelligent design, switched horses at the last moment and offered the critical analysis of evolution “compromise”. Accepted in its essence by the Board, that “compromise” directly enabled the insertion of Wellsian trash into the biology model curriculum. That’s what was discarded in February of this year after three years of controversy.

Now we have this “Framework” riding the same tired Trojan Horse into the Board. Meanwhile, school funding in Ohio is in disarray, achievement is hurting, and teachers are more and more demoralized. But the Board is once again preoccupied with ID creationist garbage pushed by socio-religico culture warriors to whom science is just another vehicle for political games. Do Cochran, Owens Fink, Craig, Grady, and West think we don’t remember the history of this in Ohio? Or do they expect us to rewrite it, as ID rewrites its history ad libitum?

I’ll have an update if anything substantial happens in the full Board meeting today.

RBH

85 Comments

Perhaps the Michigan story on standards will motivate them. Nothing like state rivalry!

Are any of these people up for reelection next month?

Coin asked

Are any of these people up for reelection next month?

Craig and Owens Fink are. Cochran was re-elected in a three-way race last year. Grady was appointd to fill out the term of a deceased elected member, IIRC.

RBH

Craig and Owens-Fink are running for reelection. Also Sam Schloemer, who’s been consistently pro-science AFAIK.

Martha Wise, who’s been a very strong ally of good science education, is unfortunately leaving (and couldn’t come back anyway, thanks to term limits). I believe several Ohio science education groups have supported John R. Bender as her replacement; Bender was formerly on the state Education Committee and (unsuccessfully) opposed adding governor-appointed members to the Board of Education.

Yup, Martha will be a loss to the BOE. However, she’s running for the State Senate now, which is a good place to have a friend of honest science.

The situation in Ohio is actually worse that portrayed here … Dick let the Board off easily.

Starting in the April meeting of the Achievements Committee there was discussion of replacement language for the standards that might earmark certain topics as being “controversial.” Some committee members were dubious, but Mike Cochran, Colleen Grady, and Debbie Owens-Fink all wanted “something.” Stan Heffner of the ODE (Dept. of Ed, not Board of Ed.) then suggested a “framework” on teaching controversial issues, without identifying them, that would be simply a link on their web site using existing materials such as the AAAS Education site. It sounded innocuous at the time, and who could complain if teachers were linked to the AAAS? (Note - none of us have been able find any such framework there.)

The May meeting was more interesting. Grady brought some possible replacement language with her, to add to a Nature of Science indicator. Current the indicator reads “Describe that scientists may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretations of daya or about rival theories, but they do agree that questioning, response to criticism and open communication are integral to the process of science.” She wanted to add the following line: “Demonstrate this as it applies to the following areas of science: evolutionary theory, global warming, and the chemical origins of life.” Her argument was that none of the wording was new, and came from other parts of the existing standards, so there should be no problem. (Never mind that all of the words were lifted from their context and put in a new context and a new order – that’s not “new language” in her book.)

As the tv commercials say, “But wait, there’s more!”

As the committee discussed the wording, she said it was “just an idea” and other controversial issues could be added. Her list included “plate tectonics.” (I unfortuantely laughed out loud when she said that … a snorty canthisbeforreal type laugh.)

That was only half of the proposal. The other was to elevate the indicator to be a benchmark. This is kind of like going from sub-species to species level, in Ohio Standards taxonomy. Why? Because then it can be fodder for the Ohio achievement tests (although that nuance was not discussed at the meeting.)

Steve Millett, Board member suggested an alternative approach: “Do nothing.” He went on to suggest that no changes were necessary to the standards, and that teachers could decide how to deal with these issues. But note his words … they were prophetic.

Meanwhile, Heffner said they were still working on the “Framework” and promised it by July. (Two points: it finally surfaced in September, and if it had been as advertised – links to supposedly existing materials – why was it taking so long?)

I was not at the June meeting, which was a retreat where suspicious things were going on. I also could not make the July meeting, but that is when Grady had the replacement language for the standards that included stem cell research, cloning, evolution, and global warming. And presumably Heffner was still working on the “framework” (also sometimes called a “template”)

So here is where we stand before the August recess: There has been discussion of changes in the standards to include controversial issues, elevate them to benchmarks (for testing purposes), and, in the word of Owens-Fink, “operationalize” them with a seemingly innocuous framework/template.

In September, the Achievements committee started out with historical revisionism, in which Grady rewrote the July minutes to deny that stem cell, etc had been part of her proposal. (I recorded that, and it is available on the Ohio Citizens for Science web site.) The committee then conviently ran out of time before they could get to that issue, which was last on the agenda. There was no motion or vote to adjourn. It just ended, immediately after the ODE passed out their long-awaited Framework (also on the OCfS web site).

Yesterday’s meeting was similar, except that a few days before the meeting of the Achievement Committee, the topic mysteriously disappeared from the agenda. In Dick Hoppe’s post, he recounts how Jim Craig had been quoted as saying that the issue was dead. Yet he had promised to have vote to end discussion on the issue and effectively kill both the replacement language and the framework. At-large Board member Ockerson brought up the topic at the end of the meeting. I have a recording, which I hope to have put up on OCfS later, in which Cochran said that, he hoped the topic (resolution 31) would come up either next month or the following month, as time allows. There was no motion or vote to adjourn.

But wait, there’s more!

Okerson and Steve Millett had wording for a motion that would have quashed further discussion of this nonsense, and allowed the Board and the ODE to get back to more important business. They assured fellow a fellow board member of like mind that they would do so. They also had the votes, especially because Owens-Fink wasn’t there (she strode in after the meeting from across the road, for the meeting of the full Board – she wasn’t there on purpose.) What you won’t notice on the recording, and what few people saw, was that Steve Millett subtely waved his hand up and down to stop Okerson from making the motion, and let it ride.

“Do nothing” indeed.

Jim Craig went back on his word, but I hold the entire Achievement Committee complicit in perpetuating this nonsense upon the Board, and upon the Ohio education system. If nothing happens today, and something could quite literally as I write this, then I hold the entire Board complicit in this mess.

If nothing happens today, we Ohioans have our votes in November.

sincerely, Jeff

RBH Wrote:

Yup, Martha will be a loss to the BOE. However, she’s running for the State Senate now, which is a good place to have a friend of honest science.

While I wish she was running on a Democratic ticket, I have to say it’s a good day when the worst outcome is Martha Wise winning. You don’t get races with multiple high-quality candidates that often.

Re “(Never mind that all of the words were lifted from their context and put in a new context and a new order — that’s not “new language” in her book.)”

And all of those words can be found in an English language dictionary, right? Ergo, not new. Uh huh. [rolling eyes]

Henry

At today’s board meeting, under new business:

Motion by Martha Wise, second by Rob Hovis.

RESOLVED, That the Achievement Committee of the State Board of Education, having recommended no response to Board Resolution 31 referred to it in February 2006, is hereby discharged from further consideration of Resolution 31 and anything arising therefrom, including the template for teaching controversial issues.

As new business the resolution would normally have to wait 30 days before it could be considered by the board. There was a motion to consider the resolution immediately, as an emergency measure. That passed 13-4.

The motion itself passed 14-3. Cochran, Ross and Westendorf voted No. Owens-Fink and Baker were absent.

This kills Resolution 31 and the template. It effectively answers the question whether anything should replace the deleted lesson plan, benchmark and indicator with a resounding NO.

I am coming to some conclusions about science based in part on my time spent here.

1. Science is a tool limited by its PRACTICE of methodological naturalism.

2. If the supernatural exists science can never prove it. So science may not know when it has missed evidence of the supernatural. Therefore, the possibility exists that in a scientific investigation where supernatural evidence may be present, the investigation may not consider all the evidence. This means science may find itself in an investigation which is beyond the limits of science — if the supernatural exists and is present.

3. Theories of science reached in investigations described in #2, cannot rule out the possibility of other means of explanation, except to say they are not scientific. (E.g. if evidence of supernatural intelligence exists, a scientific investigation of origins may theorize naturalistic causes but cannot rule out the possibility of supernatural causes.)

4. A scientist who does not accept naturalism as a world-view may still be able to practice methodological naturalism as required by science. Likely, only those who do hold to a belief in naturalism will outright dismiss #2 & #3. This would also likely hold true for those of other philosophical perspectives such as materialism. They will not only likely dismiss #2 & #3, but believe the scientific results of such investigations to be absolute truth.

5. (This one is based upon my limited knowledge of ID, and is more an observation) Until such time that science can include phenomena currently labeled supernatural, science should remain in its current form and practice with those studying it having a good grasp of #1-4. Other forms, such as ID must continue outside of science as currently defined and practiced.

Of course these are my conclusions and subject to revision as I follow this debate.

I posted this here the second time to be sure all those hammering me yesterday could see I was truthful about my objectivity. By the way I do believe the biblical account of creation.

Brian McEnnis Wrote:

This kills Resolution 31 and the template. It effectively answers the question whether anything should replace the deleted lesson plan, benchmark and indicator with a resounding NO.

The motion itself passed 14-3. Cochran, Ross and Westendorf voted No. Owens-Fink and Baker were absent.

Marvelous! I take it Craig was in favor of killing it when the vote actually came down?

What a nice way to end Wise’s tenure on the Board.

I do wish someone would propose a real critical analysis lesson, examining the science/pseudoscience interface…N-rays, Piltdown, Martian canals, parapsychology and so forth. High school seniors would probably get a kick out of it. Alas, not too likely.

HG, could you show us how a “supernatural science” would work? Please cite an example?

…so long as whatever “theoretical” effects the “supernatural” might have on whatever situation science is studying don’t actually leave the slightest trace of detectable “evidence,” one supposed you are left to dream on, HG.

You are certainly welcome to whatever “philosophical” satisfaction you are able to derive from such an unevidenced “theoretical” entanglement of the “supernatural” with the real world that science so successfully studies.

Still, I gotta say it beats me how you can claim “objectivity” when you are apparently blithely ignoring all the mountains of actual, physical, reproducible, and independent lines of evidence that indicate that your delusionary, er, deluge ever happened.

HG, could you show us how a “supernatural science” would work? Please cite an example?

No. I am not a scientist. I am simply making up my own mind based on the information I have been exposed to.

Still, I gotta say it beats me how you can claim “objectivity” when you are apparently blithely ignoring all the mountains of actual, physical, reproducible, and independent lines of evidence that indicate that your delusionary, er, deluge ever happened.

Before I would accept the “mountains of evidence”, I looked at the method of investigation. Based on that information I reached the conclusions I posted.

1. Science is a tool limited by its PRACTICE of methodological naturalism.

Yes, it is. Like all human activities, science is limited.

2. If the supernatural exists science can never prove it. So science may not know when it has missed evidence of the supernatural. Therefore, the possibility exists that in a scientific investigation where supernatural evidence may be present, the investigation may not consider all the evidence. This means science may find itself in an investigation which is beyond the limits of science — if the supernatural exists and is present.

No. There is no “supernatural evidence”. Evidence is evidence - physical, natural, empirically detectable. There could conceivably be evidence of phenomena caused by supernatural agents/mechanisms, however.

3. Theories of science reached in investigations described in #2, cannot rule out the possibility of other means of explanation, except to say they are not scientific. (E.g. if evidence of supernatural intelligence exists, a scientific investigation of origins may theorize naturalistic causes but cannot rule out the possibility of supernatural causes.)

Correct. For every phenomenon explained naturalistically by science, there can be an infinite series of potential supernatural explanations that science cannot discriminate: e.g. gravity pixies, gravity angels, gravity as an expression of Cosmic Love between physical particles, etc. That’s why science excludes those explanations - it cannot investigate them and rule any of them out.

4. A scientist who does not accept naturalism as a world-view may still be able to practice methodological naturalism as required by science. Likely, only those who do hold to a belief in naturalism will outright dismiss #2 & #3. This would also likely hold true for those of other philosophical perspectives such as materialism. They will not only likely dismiss #2 & #3, but believe the scientific results of such investigations to be absolute truth.

No, no scientist, whether a philosophical naturalist or not, believes that scientific results are absolute truth. And materialist and non-materialist scientists alike will (should) reject supernatural explanations as bad science.

5. (This one is based upon my limited knowledge of ID, and is more an observation) Until such time that science can include phenomena currently labeled supernatural, science should remain in its current form and practice with those studying it having a good grasp of #1-4. Other forms, such as ID must continue outside of science as currently defined and practiced.

Science can already study “phenomena currently labeled supernatural” (ghosts, demonic possession, intercessory prayer, etc). It cannot, however, provide supernatural explanations for them. So far, it has usually found natural explanations for most of those it has investigated (or shown that they are not real phenomena, e.g. intercessory prayer doesn’t work). In the cases in which a natural explanation is not found, the scientific answer is: “We don’t know yet what the explanation is, but we are working on it.”

No. I am not a scientist. I am simply making up my own mind based on the information I have been exposed to.

Perhaps you should consider whether your understanding is imperfect.

If you can’t point out how to conduct science using the supernatural, perhaps making up your mind is not a good thing to do.

The Board, as a whole, finally came around today.

Our rejoice must come with caveats:

I stick my my earlier comment today that many Board members, not all, are complicit in prolonging this assault against honest science education in Ohio.

Apparently Cochran has vowed to bring it back to the Achievement Committee under a different aegis. I’ll be there, again, to monitor the committee.

Apparently there was a lot of bad blood floating around the room, from Grady and others, despite their sensible votes.

This is over for now, but it is a long way from being completely over.

But rejoice … this was a huge step forward. We must keep the honesty-in-science-education momentum going.

Cheers, Jeff

No. I am not a scientist. I am simply making up my own mind based on the information I have been exposed to.

I see. So there’s no reason for anyone to listen to your bitching, then, is there.

Before I would accept the “mountains of evidence”, I looked at the method of investigation.

And what would you change about that method of investigation?

You apparently don’t like it that science doesn’t investigate the supernatural, but are unable to offer a way for it to investigate the supernatural.

You apparently think the mountains of evidence are wrong because the method of investigation is wrong, but seem quite unable to offer any alternative method of investigation.

What, exactly, is it that you are bitching about?

Lenny:

What, exactly, is it that you are bitching about?

Do you want the right answer, or do you want a clear answer? I can offer the latter: HG is unhappy because he can’t any longer help but believe in the historical reality of fables the enterprise of science has rendered entirely fictional. However, to his great satisfaction, he finds he CAN believe that the fault must necessarily lie with science, since his belief cannot possibly be wrong.

Now, where does science fall short: Ah, by restricting itself to a cribbed and impoverished method, which narrows what’s visible to science to only a tiny subset of all that is “real” (not coincidentally including the content of his preferred fables). And why does science cripple itself this severely? Why, because scientists have fallen victim to an Evil Philosophy of philosopical naturalism.

The sad result of this victimization is that the sum total of all scientific evidence is nowhere near sufficient to ratify his beliefs. Nothing wrong with the beliefs themselves, as I said. If only the method of science could be born in Christ again and see the light (i.e. use the standard of evidence where facts lead FROM faith, rather than TO it), the “real” evidence would (ta-daa!) confirm HG’s preferred fables.

The key phrase, I think, is the “belief in naturalism” he talks about. When everything is a belief, you know the Religious Method is being applied full force.

HG, unfortunately, science cannot investigate the supernatural. Indeed, it could be argued that no human method of investigation could reliably research that which is outside of nature. Should there be a supernatural being or beings out there, they made it downright impossible for us to learn anything about them. Mysterious and all that.

‘Course, this is coming from an agnostic, though I think I’ve thought it out pretty well. If there is a method for looking into the existence of and traits of supernatural entities, I have yet to hear about it. A small mountain of Nobel prizes are waiting for the man who can think one up.

We are left to look at the world we can see for answers (scientific ones, not necessarily philosophical ones), and oddly enough we’ve come a long way by doing so.

Hg, using ANY method of investigation that you like, please explain the evidence that seems to be against creationism.

Start with fossil sorting, then we’ll move to the really hard stuff.

You know, I’ve been asking creationists to explain fossil sorting for two decades now. Isn’t it strange none of them seem to be able to answer? Now, why would that be…

The sad result of this victimization is that the sum total of all scientific evidence is nowhere near sufficient to ratify his beliefs. Nothing wrong with the beliefs themselves, as I said. If only the method of science could be born in Christ again and see the light (i.e. use the standard of evidence where facts lead FROM faith, rather than TO it), the “real” evidence would (ta-daa!) confirm HG’s preferred fables.

The key phrase, I think, is the “belief in naturalism” he talks about. When everything is a belief, you know the Religious Method is being applied full force.

Flint,

Funny. You need to read my 5th conclusion again.

It strikes me as odd that you all here seem more concerned with bashing my religous belief than you were interested in discussing the limits of science. I thought religion has no place in science. By the way, I don’t think naturalism is evil. It seems to be a useful tool for scientific investigation which stays within its limits.

It’s sad this whole debate is so contentious. I know the ID folks are after science. I’m not versed in ID enough to say what there motive is. I’d like to believe it is to open up science to intelligent causes, but I think there is a chance it is to get ID into the schools and to overthrow darwinism. To me personally darwinism is no threat especially in light of the method of investigation science employs.

Start with fossil sorting, then we’ll move to the really hard stuff.

Michael,

I’ll try to do that real soon.

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No. There is no “supernatural evidence”. Evidence is evidence - physical, natural, empirically detectable. There could conceivably be evidence of phenomena caused by supernatural agents/mechanisms, however.

Andrea,

I stand corrected. Thank you.

HG says:

“Andrea,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

Soon to say:

“Lenny,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

“Steviepinhead,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

“gwangung,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

“Flint,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

“Sounder,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

“Michael Suttkus II,

I stand corrected. Thank you.”

:-)

HG:

It strikes me as odd that you all here seem more concerned with bashing my religous belief than you were interested in discussing the limits of science.

I don’t think there is anything anyone here needs to discuss, about the limits of science. Science is inherently limited to finding natural causes of natural phenomena. If there is anything “supernatural” involved, science can’t even notice it (and nobody can define it either.) Raising “the supernatural” in a discussion, therefore, means we are no longer discussing science at all. Not even a little bit. “Supernatural” is a keyword that indicates this is a religious discussion. Always.

I thought religion has no place in science.

But as I said, you wish to speak about the supernatural. And so you’re not talking about science anymore. Now, all that remains to talk about is your religious beliefs. Not science.

By the way, I don’t think naturalism is evil.

I can only point out that “naturalism” is a label attached to an emergent phenomenon - science is limited to finding natural causes of natural phenomena. “Naturalism” is not a philosophy, it’s a description of the fact that the scientific method is limited to what works and can be tested.

You seem to be reifying something here. Like watching people run footraces with prizes given to those who finish first, and deriving that you have found a cult of people who “believe in fastism” as a philosophy. But no, there’s no philosophy here. There’s only an organized activity.

It’s sad this whole debate is so contentious.

I doubt you’ll find any disagreement here. But of course, the debate is contentious not because of any limitations of science, but because science has either been unable to find any evidence to support a priori beliefs of some contentious people, or found extensive evidence refuting those beliefs. In a very real sense, what creates a debate in the first place is the inability of the Faithful to admit error. What makes it contentious is the zeal these people display to spread error.

I know the ID folks are after science. I’m not versed in ID enough to say what there motive is.

No, you simply do not wish to admit what is stone obvious. The ID folks are anti-science, plain and simple. Their sole purpose is to find a mechanism to enlist the aid of the government in proselytizing their religious doctrine. “Creation science” didn’t fly.

But how can this obvious stuff be communicated to you? If you read what these people write, you’ll find it’s entirely religious. If you look at their “science”, you find none of it - no hypotheses, no studies, no research, no research budget, no papers published even in their own creationist journals. Consider these two factors once again: LOTS of religion. NO science. Does this not even penetrate? Every leader of the ID PR effort is a devout fundamentalist, claiming that no science can be trusted that isn’t based on Jesus. Doesn’t that suggest anything to you?

I’d like to believe it is to open up science to intelligent causes, but I think there is a chance it is to get ID into the schools and to overthrow darwinism.

Science IS open to intelligent causes, and indeed several scientific disciplines study exactly that. But of course, the kind of “intelligent causes” the ID people wish to preach suffer two problems: The evidence is against them (and they aren’t producing ANY of their own!), and science cannot draw conclusions without supporting (and tested) evidence.

You may wish to visit this site:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.[…]ct_id=590882

and click on any of the links to download this paper. It’s clear, comprehensive, and very readable. It will also clarify what you claim you’re not sure about.

Meanwhile, if any evidence of any gods should arise, science will devise tests to weigh and measure those gods. Lots of scientists will win big prizes. Knowing this (and I hope you also realize many scientists are personally convinced there ARE gods out there somehow, and are predisposed to look for them), science is entirely wide-open to intelligent causes. All that’s lacking is evidence.

The ID people are essentially saying, “we are so sure our particular god exists that we don’t NEED any evidence. What we need is the leverage civil authority can provide, to FORCE people to at least behave as we claim our god says they should. Which isn’t going to happen until enough people share our beliefs-without-evidence to vote for the right people. Which means we better find some way to get to these potential voters young enough to forge their beliefs before they have the knowledge necessary to defend themselves. By observation, once Belief takes hold, knowledge can no longer penetrate.”

Let me quote from the document I referenced above:

Students at a public school may discuss the various religious traditions of the world, different cultures’ conflicting perspectives on deities, and even traditional philosophical proofs of God’s existence, but only in classes where it is clear the government is not putting forth a set of religious ideas as true. Thus, these concepts may be relevant to history, philosophy, or comparative religion courses in a public school, and may be taught in these contexts without running afoul of the Constitution. But teaching intelligent design in a science class is different; in that context students are presented with a package of conclusions that has at its core the notion that God created the world in more or less its present form. In this context God is not being presented as a “theoretical postulate”; rather, He is being presented as the Lord your God, who created the world and presumably still controls it and is therefore worthy of deference.

It strikes me as odd that you all here seem more concerned with bashing my religous belief than you were interested in discussing the limits of science.

No.

We know quite well the limits of science.

It’s that you try to stuff those limits into your rather narrow beliefs, which you try to PORTRAY as religious.

Other Christians, with similar doctrinal beliefs, don’t have the same problems.

It’s sad this whole debate is so contentious. I know the ID folks are after science. I’m not versed in ID enough to say what there motive is.

When I read this, I think that A) You are too lazy to bother doing even minimal research, or B) You are a blatant liar.

Given the copious quotes GIVEN to you by ID supporters, I tend to think the latter.

And THAT’S why you are given the well deserved roasting you are receiving here; intellecutal dishonesty such as yours should receive nothing but contempt. And trying to cloak yourself in “religious” protection is hypocritical and subversive to the spiritual qualities you claim to hold.

HG:

I’ll refer to the biblical ‘record’ as the biblical ‘account’ on this site from now on

I trust you understand that this sidesteps, rather than addresses the substance of my complaint? Genesis is not an ‘account’ either. It is fiction. If you wish me to substitute “fictional account” for every use of the word “record”, I can do this, but it makes my wonder why you have picked this work of fiction, rather than any other, to cite.

Returning to my post about science fiction, I suppose the authors of those works could claim they were “guided by the FSM” to write them. And I have every reason to expect that if this were presented as Truth to infants starting at birth, a good number of them would believe it. As you make clear, sheer preposteroisty (by which I mean, the absence of even a wink in the direction of plausibility) is no impediment to Belief. In contrast, science fiction authors are by the conventions of the genre restricted to both plausibility and consistency. This set of restrictions has become necessary because their readership tends to be old enough to be rational.

I trust you understand that this sidesteps, rather than addresses the substance of my complaint? Genesis is not an ‘account’ either. It is fiction. If you wish me to substitute “fictional account” for every use of the word “record”, I can do this, but it makes my wonder why you have picked this work of fiction, rather than any other, to cite.

I cannot agree with you here. I will not refer to the biblical account of the flood as fiction. That is your choice and your doing so does not offend me. My doing so would be dishonest on my part.

Out of curiosity, what was the basis for calling for an emergency vote? Obviously, the January emergency vote (which failed) was spurred by the FOIA request, and the February vote (successful) was spurred by the ACLU’s “cease and desist” notice in the papers the morning of the vote. The AG of Ohio has stated that an “actual or imminent lawsuit” is a proper reason for holding an emergency vote. But I don’t see any obvious reason this vote had to be done as an emergency, other than for political reasons (the next meeting is after the elections, right?).

I will not refer to the biblical account of the flood as fiction. My doing so would be dishonest on my part.

I understand, that’s why I said “sheer preposteroisty (by which I mean, the absence of even a wink in the direction of plausibility) is no impediment to Belief.” Just because ALL evidence (which is stonkingly extensive and consistent) refutes this story, and because no known mechanism can possibly support it even in principle, and because appeals to Pure Magic are all you have available to you, are in combination helpless even to provoke you to wonder about these things. The bible says it, you believe it, that settles it.

I admit, it would be dishonest of me (not to mention impossible) not to feel very very sorry for you. What a terrible evil (and I mean that. Evil.) has been done unto you. I do not want you to be dishonest. I just want you to understand that those of us restricted to Mere Evidence can only shake our heads at your ‘record’ or ‘account’ or whatever euphemism you choose. It would take yet another Act Of Magic to overcome our bias in favor of reality. We probably should resign ourselves to mutual unintelligibility.

Another victim of The Flood.

And a demonstration of why solid science standards are so important.

Well. I stick by my 5 conclusions.

You go right ahead and do that. (shrug)

You all have a nice day.

And you do the same.

Bye.

Put ‘world’ into the context of which I wrote. The world described in the biblical record prior to the flood. That world, that according to the biblical record perished, so the biblical record is all we have of it.

HG: I’m not sure you understand quite how hard it is for a world to “perish” in such a way that no evidence of it could be found. For a thorough coverage of this question, I refer you to this detailed and carefully-researched website.

More seriously, consider for a moment how much kinetic energy the water would have to have to demolish every building, every artefact, every possible trace of the previous world’s existence. Now think of the effect that that water would have on an oversized, overloaded, undercrewed wooden boat. We’re talking a matchstick in a blender here.

And then consider: this Flood is supposed to have laid down a complex pattern of geology and palaeontology that precisely matches what we’d expect from depositions over millions of years. The similarity is carried to the point that there are actually animal burrows halfway down the column in some places! This pattern completely fails to resemble any fast flooding process - for example, my understanding is that flash-floods tend to shatter shells rather than burying them whole. These effects could only be expected to worsen with a full-sized catastrophic Flood.

If you accept the evidence, and understand that the current scientific model is superior to the creationist alternatives with respect to pretty much every test we can throw at them, and still choose to believe in the Flood story on the basis of personal faith then hey, that’s your right, and I for one respect that. Just as long as you’re not misleading yourself (or others) about the weight of evidence here. I personally would not be first in line to worship a God who was that deceptive, but it takes all sorts.

Incidentally, the existence or otherwise of a distinct prior world would have pretty much no effect on the deposition process during the Flood.

W. Kevin Vicklund asked

Out of curiosity, what was the basis for calling for an emergency vote? Obviously, the January emergency vote (which failed) was spurred by the FOIA request, and the February vote (successful) was spurred by the ACLU’s “cease and desist” notice in the papers the morning of the vote. The AG of Ohio has stated that an “actual or imminent lawsuit” is a proper reason for holding an emergency vote. But I don’t see any obvious reason this vote had to be done as an emergency, other than for political reasons (the next meeting is after the elections, right?).

The rules of the Board allow suspending the normal procedure of making a motion at one meeting and then waiting until the next meeting to vote. If a majority of the Board votes to do so, an emegency can be declared, in which case that one-month waiting period can be set aside and a vote on the main motion can occur the same day it’s made. That’s what happened. Various Board members gave various reasons for voting for the motion to suspend the rules and declare an emergency, and an MP3 of that discussion will be posted one of these days. I’ll flag it here when it’s posted. Note that the vote to declare an emergency passed by a large margin, 13-4. Basically, the whole board less 4 members wanted to get the charade over with.

RBH

HG Wrote:

The biblical account was not detailed only generally described.

Describe *any* circumstance that could account for the evidence. Use your imagination, but be warned, people have been trying to do this for nearly 400 years at this point, people well acquainted with the evidence as well as being Biblical scholars, and all without any hint of success.

HG Wrote:

The source of waters suggests the earth was broken up, and the result was the earth perished.

Then the surface would be a jumble of broken pieces. It isn’t.

HG Wrote:

There is no way from this general description to fully know or duplicate the conditions.

Do we have to fully duplicate it? that’s not a standard applied to any other human endeavor. Mathematical modeling will do fine (which, of course, shows us the flood waters would have destroyed the Ark).

HG Wrote:

The biblical record claims only 8 people were alive who could have known what the previous earth was like compared to the earth after the global flood.

Eight people sick with every known disease, taking care of the largest zoo in history, on a staff smaller than any zoo I’ve ever been to.

HG Wrote:

They didn’t record anything to help science investigate the account.

As the above should suggest, they recorded enough to make the whole thing seem preposterous. Did you look over Problems with a Global Flood?

HG Wrote:

I would have to look at ID or creationism to see the evidence they use to support a global flood before I could accept your claim that “no evidence” exists.

Go ahead. I’d encourage it. But, please, check their arguments out on science sites and vice versa. I’ll let you find your own creationist sources (I can’t really recommend any over any other), but two good general science sources are:

http://www.talkorigins.org/ http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Main_Page

HG: I’m not sure you understand quite how hard it is for a world to “perish” in such a way that no evidence of it could be found.

I never said no evidence of the perished world exists. The point I was trying to make is that the world, as it existed prior to the flood, is not knowable because it perished. Not that absolutely no trace of it remains. Read again the thread and I think you’ll get the context.

More seriously, consider for a moment how much kinetic energy the water would have to have to demolish every building, every artefact, every possible trace of the previous world’s existence. Now think of the effect that that water would have on an oversized, overloaded, undercrewed wooden boat. We’re talking a matchstick in a blender here.

Again, the biblical account claims this event was caused by direct intervention of the supernatural. Please read again the thread beginning specifically at Comment #138641.

Just as long as you’re not misleading yourself (or others) about the weight of evidence here.

I have not done that here, nor do I have any intention of doing so. My position is laid out in the 5 conclusions I posted here. Like I said, the natural evidence may clearly support evolution as in the case of Mr. Suttkus article on fossil sorting. However, given the method of investigation, science cannot prove or deny supernatural intervention in events such as creation or a global flood.

However, given the method of investigation, science cannot prove or deny supernatural intervention in events such as the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

Am I missing something here?

Keep it up, HG. You’re a poster child for strong science education.

Then the surface would be a jumble of broken pieces. It isn’t.

Mr. Suttkus,

Not necessarily. The language suggests that, but nobody saw it. The language also suggests a re-ordering of the earth since it was destroyed during the flood (Gen. 8:22). It could be the earth was in pieces, a slurry, or both. Read Gen. 7&8; II Peter 2&3 for the majority of the biblical account.

I will take your advice and check out the links you posted.

Doc,

Dishonesty seems to be your strategy of debate. First you group a couple of my quotes with those of someone else in a weak attempt to characterize my visit here. Then you attempt to put words in my mouth. Keep it up. I don’t mind you making a fool of yourself.

Hey HG, both the creation “scientists” and the intelligent design ‘theorists” testified, in court, under oath, that neither creation “science” nor design “theory” had anything to do with the Bible or religion.

Were they just lying to us when they testified to that?

Oh, and would you mind explaining to me why we should care any more about your religious opinions than we should to, say, those of my car mechanic or my veterinarian or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

HG,

What debate? Scientifically you’re wrong. It’s that simple.

Regarding a matter of faith, however, I respect your opinion and belief. In fact, the ultimate believer with a science background is Kurt Wise, PhD, who has said something to the effect that even if the entire Universe presented data to the contrary, he would still believe. I won’t argue with that and I defer to Dr. Wise’s strength of faith.

However, to attempt to contort science to support beliefs is where I object. That’s where creation science and “intelligent design” are in direct opposition to science education, and I will oppose any attempt however minor to water down science education, whether it be code words like “teach the controversy” or the recent attempt in Ohio to institute “controversy frameworks” or blatent attempts as in Dover and Louisiana decades earlier.

Personally, I am honored to be at the tip of my little evolutionary twig knowing that all my ancestors, all of them, through 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trials and tribulation survived so I could write these words. That, to me, is more marvelous than your supernatural flood. I am blessed by the perseverance, and luck, of my ancestors and I respect their success.

As for making a fool of myself, I’ve done that all my life. It’s my trademark.

Once again, congratulations to Michigan and Ohio for standing firm for strong science standards.

Were they just lying to us when they testified to that?

I couldn’t say for certain. I do not know enough about ID, or creationism, nor do I know the context of the answer they gave. Sorry.

Oh, and would you mind explaining to me why we should care any more about your religious opinions than we should to, say, those of my car mechanic or my veterinarian or the kid who delivers my pizzas?

Judging by your posts, you shouldn’t. Others here have either brought it into the discussion or asked questions about it.

What debate? Scientifically you’re wrong. It’s that simple.

However, to attempt to contort science to support beliefs is where I object.

Doc,

I know *scientifically* I am wrong. I already admitted that. Read my five conclusions and my response to Mr. Suttkus’ article.

I am not attempting to contort anything. I am saying the exact same thing Kurt Wise, PhD, is saying in your post.

As for making a fool of myself, I’ve done that all my life. It’s my trademark.

You could avoid being a fool by not mischaracterizing or misquoting people just because you disagree with them. It only destroys your credibility.

“Are any of these people up for reelection next month?”

Yes, Deborah Owens-Fink is one of them. She has been the biggest ringleader for Creationism over the last few years. Her proposals for changing the curriculum come right out of the Disco play book. If you are sufficiently motivated to help us out here in Ohio, please visit http://www.votetomsawyer.com and drop a few bucks. This is Ohio Board of Ed candidate Tom Sawyer running against Ms. Owens-Fink.

Tom Sawyer is a well respected longtime Ohio statesman, having been everything from an educator to mayor to US Representative. He is running for Ohio school board because he is disgusted with the decline of education in Ohio. As a side note, he comes with glowing recommendations from the scientific community. Although not a single issue candidate, he understands the history and the nuances of this cultural war on science very well. Help us out in Ohio if you can so we can rejoin The Enlightenment. Remember, as Ohio goes, so goes the nation.

HG writes: I am coming to some conclusions about science based in part on my time spent here.

“1. Science is a tool limited by its PRACTICE of methodological naturalism.”

That is an assertion, yet you state it as fact. There is no objective evidence for any superor extra-natural phenomena. Science studies what can be measured. Come up with objective evidence for the existence of supernatural phenomena, and develop a metric for it, than your statement has some validity.

“2. If the supernatural exists science can never prove it. “

Another assertion. If the supernatural has measurable effects then science can demonstrate its existence. “But so far, nobody has come with any objective evidence for the supernatrual.

“So science may not know when it has missed evidence of the supernatural. Therefore, the possibility exists that in a scientific investigation where supernatural evidence may be present, the investigation may not consider all the evidence.”

What evidence? You’ve put the cart before the horse. Show us this objective evidence for the super-natural.

“This means science may find itself in an investigation which is beyond the limits of science — if the supernatural exists and is present.”

If ifs and butts were candies and nuts…

“3. Theories of science reached in investigations described in #2, cannot rule out the possibility of other means of explanation, except to say they are not scientific. (E.g. if evidence of supernatural intelligence exists, a scientific investigation of origins may theorize naturalistic causes but cannot rule out the possibility of supernatural causes.)”

We can never rule out unseen, unmeasurable super-natural causes. Thats why they are not science. I can’t rule out the existence of unicorns either. So far you have nothing to offer.

4. “A scientist who does not accept naturalism as a world-view may still be able to practice methodological naturalism as required by science. Likely, only those who do hold to a belief in naturalism will outright dismiss #2 & #3. This would also likely hold true for those of other philosophical perspectives such as materialism. They will not only likely dismiss #2 & #3, but believe the scientific results of such investigations to be absolute truth.”

So?

5. “(This one is based upon my limited knowledge of ID, and is more an observation) Until such time that science can include phenomena currently labeled supernatural, science should remain in its current form and practice with those studying it having a good grasp of #1-4. Other forms, such as ID must continue outside of science as currently defined and practiced.”

First you need to demonstrate the existence of super or extra-natural phenomena.

“Of course these are my conclusions and subject to revision as I follow this debate.

I posted this here the second time to be sure all those hammering me yesterday could see I was truthful about my objectivity. By the way I do believe the biblical account of creation.”

You think you’re objective? LOL

Here’s my conclusion about you. You have no evidence for any supernatural phenomena. You wish science to incorporate phenomena which have no objective evdience for their existence. But you want science to support your biblical literalist hallucinations.

Is that about right?

HG writes: “Well. I stick by my 5 conclusions.

You all have a nice day.”

Ah yes… fundy in.… fundy out.

“I don’t mind you making a fool of yourself.”

said - wait for it… HG!!!!!!!!!!

“I know *scientifically* I am wrong. I already admitted that.”

Then your argument is moot, yes?

“Well. I stick by my 5 conclusions.”

And I’ll stick by my six. You stand corrected. Or sit.

Blast my internet connection, why does all the funny stuff happen while I’m away? :(

I couldn’t say for certain.

So you don’t know how to tell when someone is lying about something?

When someone testifies under oath that creationism has nothing to do with the Bible, and then goes on at length about how creationism depends on the Bible, you don’t know how to tell whether they’re lying about it????????????

Or you just don’t care if they are lying or not . … ?

I do not know enough about ID, or creationism

And naturally, that doesn’t prevent you from talking about it anyway, right?

Here’s a suggestion for you, Your Holiness – if you, uh, don’t know anything about something, perhaps you shouldn’t, uh, talk about it.

But since you’re a Bible expert, and all, perhaps you could answer the simple questions that Doc Martin seems unable to answer:

(1) do supernatural witches exist, and if so, should they be killed?

and

(2) should women be allowed to speak in church?

Do give us the benefit of your divine knowledge, Your Holiness.

Having lurked and occasionally posted here for up unto a year now, I have to say that HG represents one of the most purely distilled victims of Creationist propaganda that I’ve ever seen bother to post here. It’s interesting to be reminded of just how simplistic and predictable these arguments are when unhampered by the political rhetoric and pseudo-scientific obfuscation that clouds and pollutes the ID movement in general. As best as I can tell, the thinking follows:

1) Every story in the Bible is literally true. 2) Any evidence that suggests otherwise is false and/or incomplete. 3) Any way of thinking (science, in particular) that may potentially lead people to come to other conclustions is flawed and/or suspect.

Is that pretty much it? It’s amazing to me what the human brain is capable of when it tricks itself into starting with the conclusion, and molding the interpretation of evidence to fit it. In this light, I propose a haiku to give a basic overview of an important part of the Scientific Method:

First comes evidence From there, conclusions follow Simple one-way street

HG Wrote:

Then the surface would be a jumble of broken pieces. It isn’t.

Mr. Suttkus,

Not necessarily. The language suggests that, but nobody saw it. The language also suggests a re-ordering of the earth since it was destroyed during the flood (Gen. 8:22). It could be the earth was in pieces, a slurry, or both. Read Gen. 7&8; II Peter 2&3 for the majority of the biblical account.

I’ve read both.

The earth isn’t covered in a slurry either.

The earth isn’t covered in salt deposits.

The ice caps show 10,000+ years worth of varves, but couldn’t possibly survive the flood as ice floats.

Then there’s the fact that the flood myth makes no sense from a religious perspective. Marine life couldn’t have survived the flood, but got no ark. Sure, you can say God miracled them to safety, but that begs the question, what was the point of the ark to begin with? You have a boat. A boat that couldn’t possibly survive the flood. Eight people who couldn’t possibly take care of all the animals on board. But God makes Noah build the impossible ark and try to perform the impossible task, all while He’s miracling plants and marine animals to safety.

Why? Was God worried Noah would be bored? Why not just miracle Noah to safety? Why waste time with a flood to begin with? Why not just *poof* all the bad people go away? The whole tangled mess makes God out to be somewhat incompetent or at least actively malicious.

The whole thing depends on an unending series of miracles to make it plausible. Loading the ark alone would have required dozens of animals to be entered every minute. Yet, it also depends on God NOT doing the most reasonable miracles: Just directly miracling the solution rather than going the round about way through a flood and then saving animals (only animals) with a boat that can’t possibly do the task without YET MORE MIRACLES!

I have more respect for God than this story allows.

I know *scientifically* I am wrong. I already admitted that.

I think most of us are missing the point here. The question is, what do you the fundie do when (a) honesty prohibits you from even thinking about questioning your beliefs; but (b) your beliefs are so prima facie ludicrous you realize that any conceivable attempt to justify them will make you look like an idiot?

Well, you ring in magic. It was “supernatural”. It was not “scientific”. If you just declare your beliefs to be outside the realm of science, then you need no longer be troubled by evidence. Then you babble about how science is too limited, and how it’s laboring under philosophical naturalism. It MUST suffer these shortcomings; the alternative would be to question your beliefs.

Oh yes, never forget that conclusions and preconceptions are the same thing, circling your arguments tightly enough so there’s no chance evidence can find anywhere to sneak through.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on October 10, 2006 2:00 PM.

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