Honest Science Wins in Ohio

| 25 Comments

As readers of the Thumb no doubt already know, honest science won big in the Ohio State Board of Education elections yesterday. Four of the five candidates endorsed by Ohio HOPE won their races. In the fifth race, Ohio HOPE endorsed two of four candidates who unfortunately split 51% of the vote between them, allowing a third candidate to win with 38% of the total vote. Ohio HOPE was organized by scientists in Ohio a few months ago to support teaching honest science in K-12.

The most striking result of the SBOE election was the overwhelming defeat of Deborah Owens Fink. Owens Fink first brought Intelligent Design Creationism to the Ohio Board in 2000, offering a “two models” motion: teach both evolution and intelligent design. Later she followed the Disco Institute party line in advocating “critical analysis of education” (= Wells’s trash). When that was finally nuked in February 2006, Owens Fink commenced pushing a so-called “Controversial Issues Template” that in its original incarnation included global warming, stem cell research, cloning, and evolution as its targets. That effort was resoundingly rejected by the SBOE in October.

Now, it’s tempting to attribute Owens Fink’s defeat to the overall Democratic landslide in Ohio. She is closely identified with the religious right and has used their mailing lists to strong effect in her election campaigns and in the anti-science effort in the SBOE in 2002 and 2004. But I think that does not account wholly for her defeat. To give one counter-example, Sam Schloemer, a strong and outspoken defender of honest science on the Board and a Republican, won in District 4 with 67% of the vote, more than reversing the overall Democratic margin. The average Democratic margin in the statewide offices for which I have data at the moment was 55%-44%. Owens Fink got just 29% of the vote in her SBOE district, substantially less than the statewide average vote for Republicans and less than even Ken Blackwell’s meager 37%.

An important aspect of this win for Ohio is that it was a decisive statement by voters who knew what they were voting on. Owens Fink has been outspoken in her contempt for scientists. She told the NYTimes that the notion that there is scientific consensus on evolution was “laughable”. She and Chris Williams, a creationist biochemist ally, spent two hours on a young earth creationist’s radio program in the weeks before the election maligning mainstream science. When the “Controversial Issues Template” was finally deep-sixed by the SBOE, Reverend Michael Cochran, the other prominent ID advocate on the Board, complained that declaring an emergency and voting at the same meeting as the motion was made was merely a tactic to prevent careful consideration. Well, the voters had plenty of time for careful consideration and they resoundingly rejected ID creationist efforts to subvert the teaching of honest science in Ohio.

RBH

25 Comments

Congratulations, RBH, to you and the rest of the pro-science organizers!

Yes, thanks for your efforts to preserve the Enlightenment and to provide possibilities to kids.

But somewhat OT now. I hate to criticize this site, because I know that those who run it are doing work that I am not, and probably mostly without any recompense. What I’m saying is that Panda’s Thumb is a great service whose effectiveness is being seriously compromised by a cruddy server.

Whatever one thinks of the content of UD, it usually works. This makes sense for a ministry, of course, as putting out a message that doesn’t get to anybody defeats its purpose.

And although this is not a ministry, it exists to counter ministries that try to pass themselves off as science. In light of which, the inability to access PT for so much of the day, especially during the hours of heavy traffic, doesn’t serve the purpose of PT very well.

Many fence-sitters no doubt just give up trying to access PT. Why not simply read UD, since it is rarely down?

I’m sure that I’m not telling anybody anything new. I do hope to stress the waste of effort and of opportunity that this ridiculously poor server represents.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Owens Fink has been outspoken in her contempt for scientists.

Yep. And that equals kookiness. Yeah, the DI people are just as kooky, but they aren’t quite as honest about it.

Congratulations, RBH, to you and the rest of the pro-science organizers!

Yep. Three cheers to you guys.

Here’s what I had to say about this at The Evolution List (see http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2[…]in-ohio.html ):

About a week ago, I posted a commentary on the election race for the Ohio state board of education, highlighting the opinions and positions of ID supporter and anti-evolutionist, Deborah Owens Fink (see http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2[…]te-over.html ). As the foregoing news story indicates, Owens Fink was overwhelmingly defeated yesterday by her pro-science rival, Tom Sawyer, in a closely watched election in a state that has repeatedly been a battleground over the teaching of evolution in the public schools.

In addition to Owens Fink, three other anti-evolution candidates for the Ohio school board were also defeated, in what appears to be a landslide in favor of the teaching of the science of evolution in the public schools. Following on the heels of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision last December and similar court cases nationwide, it looks like ID is in full retreat in states that were once touted by the Discovery Institute as key to the success of ID in the public schools.

Even more interesting in the context of yesterday’s elections is the fact that public support for the teaching of evolution (and against ID) cut across party lines in Ohio. The pro-evolution winners in the Ohio school board elections included both Democrats and Republicans, indicating decisively that support for good science (and opposition to pseudoscience) is a non-partisan issue. Even in states in which the voting public is generally conservative, such as Ohio, there is a landslide going on, a landslide in favor of science as it is practiced and taught by working scientists.

The “politics and public relations” tactics of the Discovery Institute have been consistently losing nationwide for almost a year, and public opposition to their deliberate distortions of science and scientific research has been growing exponentially. Even more encouraging to scientists and their supporters is the fact, demonstrated most clearly in Ohio yesterday, that even with massive amounts of money for political advertisements and public relations, the Discovery Institute is losing, and losing overwhelmingly in states once considered their best and brightest hope for ID in the public schools.

So, the future looks bright for real science — as I have said before, it’s a wonderful time to be an evolutionary biologist, and an even more wonderful time to teach evolutionary biology!

–Allen

************************************************* Allen D. MacNeill, Senior Lecturer The Biology Learning Skills Center G-24 Stimson Hall, Cornell University Ithaca, New York 14853 ************************************************* phone: 607.255.3357 fax: 607.255.0470 email: [Enable javascript to see this email address.] website: http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/ ************************************************* “…I had at last got a theory by which to work…” -The Autobiography of Charles Darwin *************************************************

Wow excellent advisory board. But really Richard, you had envisioned it to be called Hoppe instead of Hope ;-)

As readers of the Thumb no doubt already know, honest science won big in the Ohio State Board of Education elections yesterday. Four of the five candidates endorsed by Ohio HOPE won their races. In the fifth race, Ohio HOPE endorsed two of four candidates who unfortunately split 51% of the vote between them, allowing a third candidate to win with 38% of the total vote. Ohio HOPE was organized by scientists in Ohio a few months ago to support teaching honest science in K-12.

“Honest science” defined, that is, with the presupposition that nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect…as UNscientific a presuppostion as you’re gonna find! Unless, of course, someone can produce the scientific research studies that confirm the hypothesis that nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect. I’d love to see those studies, and I’d really like to know how the hypothesis might be falsified…scientifically that is. “Honest science” with dis-honest metaphysics!! Too bad Ohio voters weren’t told about that!!

As readers of the Thumb no doubt already know, honest science won big in the Ohio State Board of Education elections yesterday. Four of the five candidates endorsed by Ohio HOPE won their races. In the fifth race, Ohio HOPE endorsed two of four candidates who unfortunately split 51% of the vote between them, allowing a third candidate to win with 38% of the total vote. Ohio HOPE was organized by scientists in Ohio a few months ago to support teaching honest science in K-12.

“Honest science” defined, that is, with the presupposition that nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect…as UNscientific a presuppostion as you’re gonna find! Unless, of course, someone can produce the scientific research studies that confirm the hypothesis that nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect. I’d love to see those studies, and I’d really like to know how the hypothesis might be falsified…scientifically that is. “Honest science” with dis-honest metaphysics!! Too bad Ohio voters weren’t told about that!!

Unless, of course, someone can produce the scientific research studies that confirm the hypothesis that nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect.

Retarded snippet: “…nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect.”

Also, you’re requiring scientific proof for the ground rules of science. It would be a contradiction to provide evidence, because that would be using science.

The Ohio voters knew about the dishonest philosophy, that’s another reason why they rejected ID creationism Donald.

Of course, Donald’s whining is about science not allowing supernatural explanations because they explain nothing.

Once Donald can explain how ID explains the flagellum, we can talk. Poof (aka designed) just does not do it.

Also, you’re requiring scientific proof for the ground rules of science. It would be a contradiction to provide evidence, because that would be using science.

Well it is refreshing to see an honest admission that it is a metaphysical claim rather than ascientific one. In the interests of honest and full disclosure, I would think you’d want students in Ohio to know that. But the promoters of “honest” science in Ohio would probably not want that to happen!

Pim:

The Ohio voters knew about the dishonest philosophy, that’s another reason why they rejected ID creationism Donald.

Of course, Donald’s whining is about science not allowing supernatural explanations because they explain nothing. it.

Well, the presupposition is back!! You obviously think that “explain” in scientific terms means “to explain with reference to natural causes only”. But, that’s just a clever way to sneak the pre-supposition that nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect right back into the mix. It’s real simple Pim:

A. Nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect B Nature is an open system and may exhibit effects (i.e. empirical data and observations) that are best explained by causes outside the natural system.

If its A, then I would agree with you that for something to be explained scientifically, it must be explained with reference to natural causes only. But if its B, then the restriction is arbitrary and eliminates a priori even consideration of causes that might fall outside the restriction and which may also be correct.

“Honest” science would require teaching this to students.

If its A, then I would agree with you that for something to be explained scientifically, it must be explained with reference to natural causes only. But if its B, then the restriction is arbitrary and eliminates a priori even consideration of causes that might fall outside the restriction and which may also be correct.

Whine, whine, whine.

Get over it. Science works. Your magic-or-whatever doesn’t. It has never provided any useful, practical solution to ANYTHING (except maybe scaring people into behaving), while science has.

Ah, if only more creationists were like Donald M– willing to just come right out and say that what they’re really opposed to is cause and effect.

Donald M:

“Honest” science would require teaching this to students.

I agree, and I think this really IS taught to students. Science is a method; the method entails drawing tentative, testable conclusions from actual evidence, rather than decreeing conclusions by fiat and Making Stuff Up.

Science does not “presume, a priori” that natural causes are all that exists. Instead, science admits that natural causes are the only kind of causes the scientific method is competent to investigate. If there are any “supernatural causes” (whatever that might mean), then science can’t see them. Maybe, in being limited by its method to natural causes, science is missing something important. This is simply the price we must pay in order for science to work properly.

But I certainly agree with you that students should be carefully instructed that Making Stuff Up because we WANT it to be true is simply not part of the scientific method. One attends church for that.

A. Nature is a closed system of natural cause and effect B Nature is an open system and may exhibit effects (i.e. empirical data and observations) that are best explained by causes outside the natural system.

Both A and B are unprovable.

The difference is that your statement A, and the other axioms of science, have explanatory power. Your statement B. and other Cartesian speculations do not.

Assume B is true; I then invite you to find a satisfactory explanation for anything. Their assumption B is precisely why ID fails to explain anything at all.

Donald: Well it is refreshing to see an honest admission that it is a metaphysical claim rather than ascientific one.

Well, no shit Sherlock. You are whacking away at an empty pinata. Of course the scientific method makes philosophical assumptions. Any epistemology does. The problem people like you have is you can’t provide a superior one, partly because you don’t understand this one, to wit:

Donald: You obviously think that “explain” in scientific terms means “to explain with reference to natural causes only”

No, that is a straw man of your creation. To explain something in scientific terms is to not only explain the data that has been observed (which is pretty easy), but to also predict data yet to come in a manner superior to random guessing (which is damned hard). This is what dooms theories that allow the supernatural to enter the fray. You want to suppose a supernatural actor in the world? Fine. Please give me some predictions about anything based on this theory, especially in areas where the scientific method would predict something else.

It’s not enough to engage in post hoc rationalizations. That’s what Bible thumpers do with so-called prophecy, and why such arguments (and I’m being kind to call them that) are so unpersuasive to unbelievers. Ditto with all the ID handwaving. Until you people do that, all you sound like is that annoying beighborhood kid who proclaimed himself Ruler of the Universe and responded to anything you did or said with “I wanted you to do that”.

“B Nature is an open system and may exhibit effects (i.e. empirical data and observations) that are best explained by causes outside the natural system.”

Nomination for silliest thing I’ve read this week?

You also dodged the flagellum explanation, Donald.

Why do antievolution people who say “best explained by” never seem to get around to telling anybody what that “best explanation” actually is?

What, you want them to say “Goddunit” every single time? Sheesh!

Oh, wait, I’m sorry! “Unknown Intelligent Designer (who might be God) done it!” Whew, that was close. I almost forgot the game plan there.

Wow, is it time for Donald’s monthly drive-by already …?

Too bad Ohio voters weren’t told about that!!

Why weren’t they? Afer all, DI has spent $4 million or so in PR and such. Couldn’t they spare a few thousand to “tell Ohio voters about that”?

By the way, Donald, I have a few questions for you that, for some odd reason, you never seem to want to answer. I’m sure it’s just an oversight on your part.

*ahem*

What, again, did you say the scientific theory of ID is? How, again, did you say this scientific theory of ID explains these problems? What, again, did you say the designer did? What mechanisms, again, did you say it used to do whatever the heck you think it did? Where, again, did you say we can see the designer using these mechanisms to do … well . . anything?

Or is “POOF!! God — uh, I mean, The Unknown Intelligent Designer — dunnit!!!!” the extent of your, uh, scientific theory of ID .… ?

How does “evolution can’t explain X Y or Z, therefore goddidit” differ from plain old ordinary run-of-the-mill “god of the gaps?

Here’s *another* question for you to not answer, Donald: Suppose in ten years, we DO come up with a specific mutation by mutation explanation for how X Y or Z appeared. What then? Does that mean (1) the designer USED to produce those things, but stopped all of a sudden when we came up with another mechanisms? or (2) the designer was using that mechanism the entire time, or (3) there never was any designer there to begin with.

Which is it, Donald? 1, 2 or 3?

Oh, and if ID isn’t about religion, Donald, then why do you spend so much time bitching and moaning about “philosophical materialism”?

(sound of crickets chirping)

You are a liar, Donald. A bare, bald-faced, deceptive, deceitful, deliberate liar, with malice aforethought. Still.

See you next month, Donald.

Nature is an open system and may exhibit effects (i.e. empirical data and observations) that are best explained by causes outside the natural system.

Show us how to use a supernatural science, Donald.

Quit waving your arms, quit running off at the mouth, quit whining and bitching, and just SHOW US HOW TO USE A SUPERNATURAL SCIENCE.

Put up or shut up.

(sound of crickets chirping)

Yep, that’s what I thought. (shrug)

How could Honest Science win? They’re both lies in the first place :).

Supernatural Science? Hmm.…can’t believe you’ve missed it here guys. Thats what we’ve been demonstrating to you all along. ITS NO DIFFERENT!

I think we’ve determined that if everything were produced naturally.…it would be a miracle :). That kind of doesn’t work does it from a Philosophical perspective.

Michael, please to standing still for a minute just, is all!

Important issues about your care–und your medications–we are to discuss having…

Also, please, all this aroung-running, I’m a little too old for getting, hokay?

Hokay..whatever you say Nurse Buttinske.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on November 8, 2006 3:00 PM.

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