sex, lies and a math mistake

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First, the sex. I’ll admit right up front that this post has nothing to do with sex, except for the general nature of what the ID movement is trying to do to public science education in this country.

Before moving on to lies, let’s take care of the math mistake first.

Last week, in response to the splendid PBS/NOVA production on the Dover trial (Judgment Day: ID on Trial”), the Discovery Institute hacked out a booklet for teachers, called “The Theory of Intelligent Design: A briefing packet for educators, to help teachers understand the debate between Darwinian evolution and intelligent design”. The packet was prepared by the Institute’s John West and Casey Luskin, both of whom apparently slept through all of their math and ethics classes.

On Page 12 of 24, the PDF document declares

Five states (Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Minnesota) have already adopted science standards that require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution.”

But on page 13, they declare that

Four states (Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina) have science standards that require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution.”

These people clearly have trouble with numbers bigger than three, as PZ pointed out last week: : four is not five.

And that brings us back to lies. Five states, five lies, courtesy of the Discovery Institute.

The “Briefing Packet” claims on page 12 that

“Five states (Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Minnesota) have already adopted science standards that require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution.”

But, as NCSE reported in “Evolution returns to Kansas” way back in February,

On February 13, 2007, the Kansas state board of education voted 6-4 to approve a set of state science education standards in which evolution is treated in a scientifically appropriate and pedagogically responsible way. These standards replace a set adopted in November 2005, in which evolution was systematically misrepresented as scientifically controversial.

One down, four to go.

Does Minnesota “require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution”?

No. As NCSE noted in “New Science Standards Adopted in Minnesota” (June 2004),

On its last working day, the Minnesota legislature adopted new science standards for the state. In one of their last acts before adjourning on May 16, both houses voted for the standards as forwarded to them by the Department of Education in December, 2003. They thus approved the standards as written and submitted by a committee of educators and citizens. In contrast with some other states, the place of evolution in the science curriculum attracted only a moderate amount of public attention during the writing and approval process in Minnesota. … The House of Representatives did amend the science standards at one point, but the Senate refused to accept the amendment and the final version remained unchanged. …

Another one down, three to go.

Does New Mexico “require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution”?

No. As NCSE noted in New Science Standards Adopted,

On August 28 the New Mexico State Board of Education (SBE) voted 13-0 to adopt the final draft of new science standards without any modifications. Opponents of evolution had campaigned for changes in wording which would have implicitly cast doubt on the position of evolutionary theory in science and especially on the concept of “macroevolution”. The group Intelligent Design Network - New Mexico was prominent among those seeking changes in the treatment of evolution. The SBE did not accept any of their proposals.

To see what NM’s ID community was demanding in the new standards compared to what they actually ended up getting, please see “Do NM’s Science Standards Embrace Intelligent Design?”

We in New Mexico have been chasing down reporters who thoughtlessly repeat the Discovery Institute’s lies about our standards, which have even been repeated in the New York Times. These occurrences are documented in The Lie: “New Mexico’s Science Standards embrace the Intelligent Design Movement’s ‘Teach the Controversy’ Approach” at NMSR, and and New Mexico Science Standards Do Not Support ID’s Concept of Teach the “Controversy” here on The Thumb.

Another one down, two to go.

Does Pennsylvania “require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution”?

No. As NCSE noted in Final Science Standards Approved,

On November 15, 2001, the Pennsylvania Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) unanimously approved the latest version of the Science and Technology education standards proposed by the state’s Board of Education (BoE). …The revised standards were produced by the BoE after the IRRC rejected an earlier version, which contained several statements singling out evolution as a theory in need of special questioning by students and included requirements for teachers to present “evidence against evolution”. The IRRC ruled in July, 2001 that these proposed standards were unclear and their implementation was likely to be burdensome. Furthermore, they did not clearly relate to the stated intent of their proposers, to promote critical thinking. They were redundant and unnecessary.

Another one down, one to go.

Does South Carolina “require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution”?

No. As NCSE noted in Evolution standard approved after 7-month delay,

South Carolina’s Education Oversight Committee (EOC) approved the state science standard concerned with evolution on June 12, after delaying for seven months at the behest of committee member Senator Michael Fair (R-District 6), a well-known opponent of teaching evolution. The State Board of Education approved a new version of statewide academic standards last November, including the evolution standard and its seven indicators, one of which involves “critical analysis.” In December 2005, the EOC refused to approve the evolution standard while Fair and committee member Representative Bob Walker (R-District 31) spent several months lobbying for insertion of “critical analysis” language into all of the evolution indicators and the overarching standard. South Carolina parents and educators along with the Fordham Foundation’s science standards review panel and the American Association for the Advancement of Science expressed broad opposition to Fair’s proposals on the grounds that such language could weaken science education and allow the introduction of intelligent design or creationism. … On March 8, the State Board of Education rejected Fair’s proposal to expand the “critical analysis” language, and returned the original standard to the EOC for approval. … Since its approval on June 12, the indicator within the evolution standard has been subject to differing interpretations. An article in The State (June 13) quotes Department of Education spokesman Jim Foster as saying that the indicator “…does not require students to study alternatives to evolution…” In a report in the The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC, June 12) Martha Fout, a science specialist who helped write the standards, commented, “It’s not as if members of the scientific community do not want the students to think critically. We want them to think critically everywhere.” According to an Agape Press story (June 15), however, Fair “…says it is his hope that these guidelines will be a precursor to allowing alternatives to the theory of evolution, such as intelligent design, to be taught in the state’s schools.” For more comment and analysis, visit the website of South Carolinians for Science Education.

And there you have it. Even when the “Intelligent Design” movement’s pleas for “non-dogmatic” language in standards are firmly rebuffed, they’ll spin the word “critical” to mean “require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution”.(i.e. the same old creationist canards). In the end, the math mistakes are the least of the Discovery Institute’s problems, It’s not a question of “Is it four or five states?” They are ALL lies. Every single one.

3 TrackBacks

I mentioned last week that the Discovery Institute misrepresented the Minnesota state science standards, pretending that they endorsed "teaching the controversy". Now Dave Thomas goes through the other 3 (or 4? The DI can't count) states that the Disco... Read More

Questions from Stranger Fruit on November 20, 2007 9:06 PM

Have fellows of the Discovery Institute been caught plagiarizing? You decide. Does the Discovery Institute lie? You decide. Does Behe get owned by a grad student? You decide. Bad week for the cdesign proponentsists by the looks of it. Oh,... Read More

They have no will in doing this. God commands it, just as I am doing God’s Will by mocking them. Don’t get mad at me for it, get mad at God, or G*D if you prefer. Popularity: unranked [?]... Read More

94 Comments

Excellent. Thanks for keeping the Discoverup Institute’s feet to the fire!

John West and Casey Luskin, both of whom apparently slept through all of their math and ethics classes.

LOL.

“The scientific controversies relating to evolution”?

Scientific controversies?

Please, don’t let the ID advocates “frame” the debate.

Same old worn out false statements, with a few new ones added. Thanks for sharing this.I am in a state that is about to revise the science standards. I am sure our state board members have been sent this document. It will be helpful to know what they have seen

I love the fact that the DI actually has the gall to list Pennsylvania for anything. That is the state where they received the “Big Boot.”

So it seems from your post you are against critical analysis of Darwinian Evolution?

This doesn’t surprise me. Lying has always been a fundamental part of fundamentalism. They’re fundamentslly liars. Which also makes them fundamentally hypocrites.

Great post, Dave. Thanks.

“Dolly Sheriff” said: “So it seems from your post you are against critical analysis of Darwinian Evolution?”

Before you get started, “Dolly,” please define “critical analysis” for us.

And also, please differentiate between “Darwinian Evolution” and “evolution.”

Thank you.

Dolly Sheriff Wrote:

So it seems from your post you are against critical analysis of Darwinian Evolution?

No, I am against presentation of many-times-disproved creationist pseudoscientific attacks on evolution science in public schools. Starting with labeling evolution science as “Darwinism.”

Dave

Dolly wrote:

“So it seems from your post you are against critical analysis of Darwinian Evolution?”

No. It seems from this post that scientists are against the uncritical slander of any scientific theory and the blatant misrepresentation that creaationist claims represent critical analysis in any way shape or form.

I, and nearly every biologist, critically analyze evolution every day. Every time we perform an experiment, every time we sequence a gene, every time we test a hypothesis, we provide another opportunity for evolutionary theory to be falsified. Those who attack evolution don’t do any of these things, therefore they don’t critically analyze evolution at all. They just cry and whine and refuse to even examine the evidence due to prior religious convictions. Does that sound like critical analysis to you? Does that sound like the way to overthrow a scientific theory? Does that sound like something an honest scientist would do?

If these people had even one speck of scientific integrity they would be in the lab day and night, they would be out in the field examining nature, they would be doing real science instead of pulling all this political crap and lying to everyone. If you want to critically analyze something, try ID. No hypothesis no evidence, no proposed mechanism, no proposed designer, etc. Critically analyze that.

Strand II (Content of Science), Standard II (Life Sciences), 9-12 Benchmark II, Performance Standard #9

Previous Text: Understand the data and observations supporting the conclusion that species today have evolved from those earlier, distinctly different species.

Suggested by IDnet-NM: Evaluate the data and observations that bear on the claim that species today have evolved from those earlier, distinctly different species.

Adopted: Critically analyze the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms.

I think that this is a fair and worthwhile change by anyone’s standards!

No, it’s not worthwhile because it suggests there is a scientific controversy over common descent, and therefore amounts to lying to the students. Cdesign proponentsists think lying is a good thing.

For one, Dolly, IDnet-NM did not succeed in getting New Mexico to label common descent from ancestral one-celled organisms as a mere claim.

Secondly, NM’s standards call for critical analysis of several topics:

Critically analyze risks and benefits associated with technologies related to energy production.

Critically analyze how humans modify and change ecosystems (e.g., harvesting, pollution, population growth, technology).

9-12 Benchmark II: Understand that scientific processes produce scientific knowledge that is continually evaluated, validated, revised, or rejected.

3. Understand how new data and observations can result in new scientific knowledge. 4. Critically analyze an accepted explanation by reviewing current scientific knowledge.

Thirdly, note that the New Mexico Public Education Department has declared in no uncertain terms that

In no way do the science standards support the teaching of notions of intelligent design or creation science or any of its variations.

Dave

Dolly Sheriff:

Strand II (Content of Science), Standard II (Life Sciences), 9-12 Benchmark II, Performance Standard #9

Previous Text: Understand the data and observations supporting the conclusion that species today have evolved from those earlier, distinctly different species.

Suggested by IDnet-NM: Evaluate the data and observations that bear on the claim that species today have evolved from those earlier, distinctly different species.

Adopted: Critically analyze the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms.

I think that this is a fair and worthwhile change by anyone’s standards!

Where is all that from?

Dave wrote:

“In no way do the science standards support the teaching of notions of intelligent design or creation science or any of its variations.”

Neither does the Discovery Institute either (they consistently and specifically do not encourage the teaching of ID in schools), but they do encourage “ the critical analysis of the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms.

“Five states (Kansas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Minnesota) have already adopted science standards that require learning about some of the scientific controversies relating to evolution.”

Actually, ALL states should require learning about the scientific controversies relating to evolution! But you know what? Creationism is NOT scientific! Intelligent Design is NOT scientific! So they could not even be discussed if you restrict the learning to actual issues of science.

Dale Asked:

“Where is all that from?”

See Dave’s link in his original post above: To see what NM’s ID community was demanding in the new standards compared to what they actually ended up getting, please see “Do NM’s Science Standards Embrace Intelligent Design?”

Dolly Sheriff: Dave wrote:

“In no way do the science standards support the teaching of notions of intelligent design or creation science or any of its variations.”

Neither does the Discovery Institute either (they consistently and specifically do not encourage the teaching of ID in schools), but they do encourage “ the critical analysis of the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms.

Good to see that the DI has given up on a hopeless cause. LOL!

Discoverup Institute

BRILLIANT!

Dolly Sheriff Wrote:

Neither does the Discovery Institute either (they consistently and specifically do not encourage the teaching of ID in schools), but they do encourage “ the critical analysis of the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms.

The issue here is that any crackpot can “critically analyze”. Crackpots of every stripe do it all the time. So standards should be able to eliminate crackpots from dominating the biology classroom.

How? By restricting any discussed controversies to those raised by people who submit themselves to the rigors of peer-review and have a track record of playing straight with their colleagues and the public. That should rule out the Discovery Institute along with most other crackpots.

Dolly Sheriff Wrote:

Adopted: Critically analyze the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms.

Conspicuous by its absence is: “Propose one or more formal alternatives to the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms, and critically analyze data and observations supporting them.”

For further study, students could discuss why the only major ID advocate to elaborate on that issue has in fact conceded common descent as the best explanation. And that no other major ID advocate has challenged him directly.

they do encourage “ the critical analysis of the data and observations supporting the conclusion that the species living on Earth today are related by descent from the ancestral one-celled organisms. - Dolly Sherrif

There is no “controversy” about the basic concept of common descent in the scientific community, except in the fevered minds of Creationists, and until there is credible evidence to the contrary, there will be none. The debates that do exist are about details within the otherwise accepted framework of the theory that would be beyond the scope of a secondary school’s science curriculum to address.

Mike Elzinga:

The issue here is that any crackpot can “critically analyze”. Crackpots of every stripe do it all the time. So standards should be able to eliminate crackpots from dominating the biology classroom.

How? By restricting any discussed controversies to those raised by people who submit themselves to the rigors of peer-review and have a track record of playing straight with their colleagues and the public. That should rule out the Discovery Institute along with most other crackpots.

Are you suggesting that school children first need to “submit themselves to the rigors of peer-review” before they are allowed to “critically analyze”?

Maybe this is just a typo on the part of the creationists at the DI. Maybe they meant to say “these are the 5 states who kicked us in the teeth and told us not to come back with our recycled creationism myths dressed up as science”?

Just sayin’…Typos happen

Are you suggesting that school children first need to “submit themselves to the rigors of peer-review” before they are allowed to “critically analyze”?

Great. Either it’s a new troll, or more likely, one of the old ones is back.

Trust me, it’s not worth flailing away at the deliberate misinterpretations of these people who have nothing else to offer.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

Thanks for the compliment Glen.

The other issue here is that renaming something in order to repudiate its prior associations is just about as sophisticated as hiding from someone by covering your eyes.

“Critical analysis” is “Creation Science” is “Intelligent Design.” The same crowd of lawyers, PR scam-artists, and pseudoscientists is behind them. The same long-ago dealt with arguments are proposed in favor of them.

Taking the DI at their word, I think I’ll legally change my name to get out from under my credit card debt. That’s a load off my mind.

gsb Wrote:

There is no “controversy” about the basic concept of common descent in the scientific community, except in the fevered minds of Creationists…

Actually there is some controversy outside “the fevered minds of Creationists.” Even if one includes IDers under the umbrella of “creationists” by virtue of their common practice of misrepresenting evolution and proposing a design-based alternative. As far as I can tell, the only well-known non-creationist dissenters from common descent who have done actual work on potential alternatives are Christian Schwabe and Periannen Senapathy. IDers don’t like to discuss them, however, because what they propose is “naturalistic” and thus doesn’t help ID’s pretense of a false dichotomy. Also, they too have not gotten very far, because they “support” their ideas mostly on perceived weaknesses in evolution, and not on their own merits.

For the Discovery Institute spokeperson currently using the name “Dolly Sheriff” -

Before you get started, “Dolly,” please define “critical analysis” (or “critically analyze”) for us.

And please explain why creationists do not declare “critical analysis” is appropriate for physics or astronomy or cosmology or chemistry or mathematics or geology or paleontology or any other science than biology.

And please explain by what right “…NM’s ID community was demanding…” a change to a science teaching standard, based on a proven-to-be religious, not scientific, viewpoint.

Allrighty then! Looks like Introduction to Multiple Designers Theory (Richard B. Hoppe, September 23, 2004) has been repaired, and is ready for action.

Cheers, Dave

As long as we’re on the topic of why aren’t IDers trying to learn about the designer, I want to say their equating what IDers do with what archaeologists do drives me crazy. It’s true archaeologists can’t always figure out what an object was designed for, and sometimes not if it’s natural or manmade. But they always try to.

In Southwest France, there’s a cave, Pech Merle, with a beautiful, paleolithic mural of horses, carbon-dated to around 24,700 years bp. It’s painted on a natural rock wall with an irregular edge that somewhat resembles a horse’s head. One of the horses in the mural is drawn so its head fits into the rock “head”– a visually satisfying juxtaposition. It isn’t immediately apparent whether the rock “head”– which is maybe one meter (metre? yard?) square– is natural, or was carved deliberately to enhance to the mural.

And here’s the thing– archaeologists have spent many more hours trying to discover whether that one square yard of rock is natural or designed than the entire Intelligent Design movement has spent trying to understand the Designer who is supposed to be the central point of their entire theory.

And they want that “theory” taught to school kids as established science? How could a teacher even present it? “Well, some other people have a different theory than evolution. But they can’t tell us what it’s about. They don’t know, and they don’t want to find out. But they want you not to accept evolution, because there’s this other theory. Only what it’s about is a secret.” Uh huh. THAT should go over well.

Dave Thomas Wrote:

Allrighty then! Looks like Introduction to Multiple Designers Theory (Richard B. Hoppe, September 23, 2004) has been repaired, and is ready for action.

Thanks, Dave. Must remember to bookmark it.

Hoary puccoon Wrote:

“Well, some other people have a different theory than evolution. But they can’t tell us what it’s about. They don’t know, and they don’t want to find out. But they want you not to accept evolution, because there’s this other theory. Only what it’s about is a secret.”

Hey, that’s the clearest formulation of ID I’ve ever seen.

It seems that MDID should be kept loaded, and ready, along with other questions, any time an IDer starts the “we don’t inquire into the nature of the designer” knee-deep dance of dooky:

There could be multiple designers? (the Hindus will love this one)

The designer(s) could be malevolent?

The designers could have been mortal?

The designers themselves could have evolved (hat tip Bertrand Russel)

The designer(s) could have been themselves designed by some other designer(s)?

Or we could get even nastier, follow the lead of when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife and ask them something like:

“How do you think class time under what you propose should be proportioned between the scenario that space aliens designed humans vs the alternative theory that Santa did so?”

Just think of the back and forth that might elicit. Santa can’t be the designer because he isn’t proved to exist? Reeeeeeeallly?

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This page contains a single entry by Dave Thomas published on November 20, 2007 9:52 AM.

The Open Letters File was the previous entry in this blog.

DI—Expelled for Plagiarism is the next entry in this blog.

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