Ignorance By Design: Florida School Board Resolutions

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flantievolutionr2un4.jpg Latest Count

Confirmed in support of science (1)
Unknown (46)
On Watch List (8)
Anti Science Resolution Passed (6)
Resolution on future Agenda (5)

Highlands County
Educate a school board
school board contact information

Norris, who is also a Lutheran minister, has stated
that evolution should not be taught as fact and that
students should be able to discuss creationism in class.

Source


Washington County joins the list
Madison County joins the list
Three new additions: Jackson County, Nassau County, and Putnam county. More on this below the fold

green_bullet.jpgBrevard County first to reach green status


Last Updated: Jan 19, 2008
Note: Published date moved forward to 01-20 to keep it ‘sticky’
Graphics: HT Nate (click to enlarge graphics of Florida Counties)
Added: Florida County Map and list of Newspapers


Seems that some counties in Florida are setting themselves up for another Dover-like lawsuit.

Rumors have it that up to 12 counties in Florida have passed resolutions to ‘teach the controversy’, a well known code word for creationism. It’s time to do some detective work and trace back the inevitable links to creationism.

Counties so far

What really surprises me is how the proposed standard describes evolution.

Draft

Standard 2. Evolution and Diversity

A. Evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.
B. Organisms are classified based on their evolutionary history.
C. Natural selection is the primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change.

Seems quite a factual description of evolution and it does not even use the term ‘fact’.

1. 11-20-2007 - Taylor - Taylor County and School Board Members and Agenda and minutes

Taylor Resolution was passed on November 20, 2007 but the Agenda for Nov 2007 does not mention that this resolution is going to be proposed.

2, 12-17-2007 - Baker- Baker County Resolution and School Board Members and School board agenda and minutes

3. 12-18-2007 -Holmes - Holmes County Resolution and School Board Members

4. 12-20-2007 - Hamilton - Hamilton County Resolution and Hamilton County School Board and Agenda and Procedures for those wishing to address the board

5. 01-17-2007 - Clay - Clay County (not approved yet) Will go before the school board on Jan. 17 and text of resolution. Submitted by Sharon Chapman.

6. 01-15-2007 - St Johns County - St. Johns County which notices that “Mrs. Slough will assist in drafting a resolution for the January 15 School Board meeting”. Feel free to express your concerns to the school board

7. 01-15-2007 - Jackson County

8. 01-24-2008 - Nassau County Agenda

Request adoption of Resolution #1238 asking the State Board of Education to direct the Florida Department of Education to revise the new Sunshine State Standards for Science such that evolution is not presented at the exclusion of other theories of origin of life.

9. Putnam County

It is important to attend these meetings and document what is being said and done. Dover ain’t over yet…

Let’s provide a full list of counties and their resolutions and board discussions. Time to prepare…

Time to express your concerns

Research tools

All I Want … is a Good Science Education A Florida Citizens for Science “Call to Action” project

Those not in favor of good science education, raise your hand.

HT: Wesley Elsberry, PZ Myers and Florida Citizens for Science

The ‘controversy’

From All I Want … is a Good Science Education Florida Citizens for Science

The Florida Department of Education coordinated the revision of the state’s science standards for public schools this year. A draft of the standards was available for public review through mid-December. Based on that input, the draft’s writers will then make any changes they deem necessary and offer a final product to the state Board of Education Feb. 19. It will then be up to the BoE to make the final approval for the revised standards to replace the old 1996 standards.

As soon as the draft standards were released to the public, the fact that evolution is fully integrated into the life sciences caused a stir in the media and public. The 1996 standards don’t mention the word evolution, whereas the new draft does so prominently. There is widespread opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schools across the nation, and Florida is not excluded from this fervor. This has led to a determined outcry, as can be seen in newspaper articles, letters to the editor, posts to online forums, and even announcements by some school officials. (Take a moment to browse through our blog for several examples.)

Savvy anti-evolutionists know that the state BoE has the final say on whether the draft science standards, with evolution included, will be implemented. We are aware that BoE members are being inundated by anti-evolution messages via phone, mail and e-mail. It’s important to counteract this negative influence. We need to make sure the BoE understands the value of teaching evolution, and that other supposed theories, such as intelligent design, have no scientific merit.

State Board of Education

Linda Taylor, member of state BoE who mentioned “other theories” in a St. Petersburg Times education blog Dec. 11. (Contact information on our Call to Action addresses page.)

Donna Callaway, member of state BoE who does not believe evolution should be taught “to the exclusion of other theories of origin of life,” as stated in the Florida Baptist Witness, Nov. 30. (Contact information on our Call to Action addresses page.)

Department of Education

Selena “Charlie” Carraway, Florida Dept. of Education, Director of the Office of Instructional Materials. Sent e-mail out opposing evolution, as reported in the St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 8.

State Congress

Republican House leader Rep. Will Weatherford said “… evolution is one of the theories.” Reported in the Miami Herald, Dec. 9. (Contact information on our Call to Action addresses page.)

Senator Stephen Wise attempted to get the state school board to listen to parent activists who are opposed to evolution. Reported in Florida Times Union, Dec. 6. (Contact information on our Call to Action addresses page.)

The resolution

Whereas, the Florida Department of Education has drafted and is now proposing new Sunshine State Standards for Science, the [insert county here] School Board opposes the implementation of the new standards as currently presented.

Whereas, the new Sunshine State Standards for Science no longer present evolution as theory but as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence,” we are requesting that the State Board of Education direct the Florida Department of Education to revise/edit the new Sunshine State Standards for Science so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Whereas, the [Insert your County here] School Board recognizes the importance of providing a thorough and comprehensive Science education to all the students in [Insert your County here] and to all students in the state of Florida, it recognizes as even more important the need to present these standards through a fair and balanced approach, an approach that does not unfairly exclude other theories as to the creation of the universe.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the [Insert your county here] School Board of [Insert your county here], Florida, that the Board urges the State Board of Education to direct the Florida Department of Education to revise the new Sunshine State Standards for Science such that evolution is not presented as fact, but as one of several theories.

I can’t wait to see these school boards contribute to the funding of the ACLU and other pro-science groups.

More Research Tools

The argument ‘teach the controversy’ has the following major vulnerabilities and it may be helpful to emphasize this in your communications. First of all, many who are objecting to the Florida standards are under the impression that there are other theories of creation. As such it is important to point out that Intelligent Design Creationism, which is seen by most as such, neither provides an alternative theory nor presents andy scientifically relevant explanations that further our scientific understanding.

Professor Richard Colling, author of the book “Random Designer: Created from Chaos to Connect with Creator” is quoted by Sharon Begley in Tough Assignment: Teaching Evolution To Fundamentalists, Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2004; Page A15

Sharon Begley Wrote:

In his new book, “Random Designer,” he writes: “It pains me to suggest that my religious brothers are telling falsehoods” when they say evolutionary theory is “in crisis” and claim that there is widespread skepticism about it among scientists. “Such statements are blatantly untrue,” he argues; “evolution has stood the test of time and considerable scrutiny. [1]” Sharon Begley in Tough Assignment: Teaching Evolution To Fundamentalists, Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2004; Page A15

Background Information

In showing how Intelligent Design Creationism is scientifically vacuous I will quote from a variety of Intelligent Design Creationism proponents who have admitted how Intelligent Design Creationism fails to propose a scientific theory to compete with evolutionary theory. In addition I will quote from several Christian writers who have spoken critically of Intelligent Design Creationism since they perceive it to be vacuous science and theologically risky. While introducing the players, we run across the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. Many of the ID proponents are fellows or former fellows with the Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute’s goals have been outlined in a leaked memo title “The Wedge Strategy” in which it describes how Intelligent Design Creationism’s goal is “To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and hurnan beings are created by God”. During the Dover Kitzmiller trial, Barbara Forrest presented a detailed overview of the history of Intelligent Design Creationism and its links to Creationism.

Mentioned Players

Bruce Gordon is a Canadian philosopher of science (physics), metaphysician and philosopher of religion and a supporter of Intelligent Design Creationism. After Dembski was removed as Director of the Baylor “ Polanyi Center”, Gordon became Interim director of the renamed “Baylor Science and Religion Project”.

Philip Johnson, a retired UC Berkeley Law Professor, is known as the ‘father of Intelligent Design Creationism’. As Wikipedia states “Johnson is best known as one of the founders of the intelligent design movement, principal architect of the Wedge Strategy, author of the Santorum Amendment, and one of the ID movement’s most prolific authors. Johnson is co-founder and program advisor of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC).”

Paul Nelson is a well known Young Earth Creationist and proponent of Intelligent Design Creationism. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago and is a fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture.

Del Ratzsch is a professor at Calvin College specializing in logic and the philosophy of science and author of various books such as “Nature, Design, and Science” (SUNY Press, 2001). Del Ratzsch described the position in his book as

Nature, Design and Science was a result of trying to work through some of the concepts, issues and arguments. The conclusion reached (or the conclusions wildly leapt to) was that at least in principle, design theories did not inevitably vilate any defensible scientific norms, and could not be just dismissed on any of the usual grounds. And that is a position I still hold. That position is, however, not equivalent to the view that current design proposals have demonstrated scientific fruitfulness, that opponents of design theories are of necessity confused, irrational, blinded by naturalistic upbringings, or anything of the sort.

Del Ratzsch during an online chat at ISCID observed that

Del Ratzsch Wrote:

I think that one can be honestly convinced that design offers no significant scientific promise and that it represents significant scientific risk. In fact, I believe that there are Christians who believe that, and who originally came to the debate not particularly predisposed to hostility.

Ryan Nichols is an Assistant Professor at the Philosophy Department of Cal State Fullerton. He is author of SCIENTIFIC CONTENT, TESTABILITY, AND THE VACUITY OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN THEORY published in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (2003): 589- 609.

And finally William Dembski, Research Professor in Philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth and a fellow at the Discovery Institute’s ’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture. William Dembski has attempted to define a scientific method to reliably detect ‘design’ using mathematical approaches.

Some definitions

The Wedge Strategy is well explained by Wikipedia: “The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Institute manifesto known as the Wedge Document, which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to “defeat [scientific] materialism” represented by evolution, “reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions” and to “affirm the reality of God.” Its goal is to “renew” American culture by shaping public policy to reflect conservative Christian, namely evangelical Protestant, values.”

Design: The set theoretic complement of the disjunction regularity or chance. Or that which remains once natural processes of regularity (law like) and chance have been eliminated.

Complexity: The negative base 2 logarithm of the probability that a particular system can be explained. A measure of our ignorance, confusingly called complexity or information by ID proponents.

Intelligent Design Creationism does not provide any alternative theory

Bruce Gordon Wrote:

Design theory has had considerable difficulty gaining a hearing in academic contexts, as evidenced most recently by the the Polanyi Center affair at Baylor University. One of the principle reasons for this resistance and controversy is not far to seek: design-theoretic research has been hijacked as part of a larger cultural and political movement. In particular, the theory has been prematurely drawn into discussions of public science education where it has no business making an appearance without broad recognition from the scientific community that it is making a worthwhile contribution to our understanding of the natural world.

Source: Bruce Gordon Intelligent Design Movement Struggles with Identity Crisis Research News & Opportunities in Science and Theology. January 2001, p. 9

Philip Johnson Wrote:

I also don’t think that there is really a theory of intelligent design at the present time to propose as a comparable alternative to the Darwinian theory, which is, whatever errors it might contain, a fully worked out scheme. There is no intelligent design theory that’s comparable. Working out a positive theory is the job of the scientific people that we have affiliated with the movement. Some of them are quite convinced that it’s doable, but that’s for them to prove…No product is ready for competition in the educational world.

Source: Philip Johnson In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley by Michelangelo D’Agostino 10, 2006 p31 Berkeley Science Review See also Panda’s Thumb posting

Paul Nelson Wrote:

Easily the biggest challenge facing the ID community is to develop a full-fledged theory of biological design. We don’t have such a theory right now, and that’s a problem. Without a theory, it’s very hard to know where to direct your research focus. Right now, we’ve got a bag of powerful intuitions, and a handful of notions such as ‘irreducible complexity’ and ‘specified complexity’-but, as yet, no general theory of biological design.

Source: Paul Nelson, The Measure of DesignTouchstone Magazine 7/8 (2004): pp 64 – 65.

Intelligent Design Creationism lacks explanatory power

Del Ratzsch Wrote:

“I do not wish to play down or denigrate what Dembski has done. There is much of value in the Design Inference. But I think that some aspects of even the limited task Dembski set for himself still remains to be tamed.” “That Dembski is not employing the robust, standard, agency-derived conception of design that most of his supporters and many of his critics have assumed seems clear.”

Source: Del Ratzsch in “Nature, Design, and Science:The Status of Design in Natural Science”, SUNY Press, 2001.

Ryan Nichols Wrote:

Before I proceed, however, I note that Dembski makes an important concession to his critics. He refuses to make the second assumption noted above. When the EF (Explanatory Filter) implies that certain systems are intelligently designed, Dembski does not think it follows that there is some intelligent designer or other. He says that, “even though in practice inferring design is the first step in identifying an intelligent agent, taken by itself design does not require that such an agent be posited. The notion of design that emerges from the design inference must not be confused with intelligent agency”

Source: R. Nichols, Scientific content, testability, and the vacuity of Intelligent Design theory The American Catholic philosophical quarterly , 2003 , vol. 77 , no 4 , pp. 591 - 611

At Darwin or Design Jason Rennie talks to Dr Ryan Nichols.

William Dembski Wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

Source: William A. Dembski Organisms using GAs vs. Organisms being built by GAs thread at ISCID 18. September 2002

While ID proponents are quick to claim that ID does lead to predictions, logic dictates that these claims are without merrit. In order to make a prediction, one has to know the motives, means and opportunities of the designer, one has to be able to constrain the designer.

A major disanalogy between the ID hypothesis and other scientific hypotheses is that the ID hypothesis fails to be scientifically tractable, at least insofar as the appeal to a trancendent intelligent agent as the designer: that is, an agent that transcends the confines of this universe. (As defined above, an hypothesis is scientifically tractable if and only if through scientific and empirical means we can develop and test models of its internal dynamics, often through applying the scientific results we have obtained in other domains.) Suppose, for instance, one claims that the designer is the monotheist’s God. Almost all monotheists would agree that one cannot significantly develop and test models of God’s internal dynamics through scientific means, since we cannot use science to significantly probe and test God’s psychology. On the other hand, suppose one adopts Michael Behe’s proposal (and that of many leading advocates of ID) to leave unspecified the nature of the designer. If we take this approach, then it is difficult to see how the intelligent design hypothesis could even be minimally scientifically tractable, since we would be unable to say much of anything about the internal dynamics of the designer.

and

Moreover, notice that, just as in the big bang theory, no additional scientific work is done if we add to the above hypotheses the claim that God, or some other transcendent intelligence, created or designed life on earth. In the big bang theory, for instance, neither the claim that God created the big bang, nor that it occurred uncaused, gives the hypothesis any significant additional explanatory or predictive power. Theists, for example, might find it philosophically necessary to hypothesize a creator to account for the big bang, but it is best not to consider such an hypothesis part of science since it is not scientifically tractable, and adds nothing of interest scientifically. Similarly, the hypothesis that some designer created the basic kinds will not give hypothesis (ii) above–that is, the hypothesis that the basic kinds simply appeared fully formed at various points in earth’s history–any additional explanatory or predictive power. And the reason for this is that the designer’s psychology is not scientifically tractable: we cannot form models of the designer’s internal dynamics. Of course, in analogy to the big bang, one might nonetheless feel philosophically compelled to hypothesize a creator to explain the origination of life.

Source; R Collins “A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN PROGRAM: AN ANALYSIS AND A PROPOSAL” 1998, modified 2006

It is often stated by anti-evolution forces that evolution is not a fact; a rhetorically powerful but ultimately meaningless statement. As should be obvious from the discussions in this paper, evolution is a model. A model, by its very nature, never becomes a “fact” that is it never becomes certain but always remains tentative. Trying to classify evolution or any empirical model as fact or not-fact is a failure of categories and indicates a profound ignorance of the nature of empirical knowledge. Evolution is a model, hence tentative, but a model with extraordinary predictive power. That is high praise, the highest science can give. Similar arguments are also made against other models: science has not proven X . For example X might be global warming due to green-house gases. Of course science has not proven X . Proofs are the domain of mathematics, not the empirical sciences. When people use the X is not a fact or Y is not proven gambits it is a tacit admission they have lost the science argument and they are just trying to downplay the significance of that failing.

Source: B.K. Jennings On the Nature of Science


green_bullet.jpgConfirmed in support of science

yellow-bullet.jpgUnknown

magnifier.jpgOn Watch List

red-bullet.jpgResolution Passed

hot.gif Resolution on future Agenda

HT: Florida Citizens for Science

E-mail Disclaimer: Under Florida law, e-mail addresses are public records. If you do not want your e-mail address released in response to a public records request, do not send electronic mail to this entity. Instead, contact this office by phone or in writing.




Florida School Districts

Supporting Resolution

Earl Crews, Richard Griffis, Karen McCollum, James Raulerson, Patricia Weeks, and superintendent Paula T. Barton

We contend based on the resolution that evolution is a theory, but is not the fundamental underlying concept,” said Superintendent Paula Barton. If the state were to approve the standards as proposed, then some students of this community would have to believe as fact laws that directly disagree with their faith.

Source: Board seeks resolution to revise Sunshine State Standards when it comes to Evolution presented as fact The Standard 2007-12-26

“Of course, the farther south you get, you don’t see them necessarily embracing what we are saying,” said Baker County Superintendent Paula Barton. “To be honest with you, we are a strong Christian community here, and once people here have gotten a hold of [the resolution], they’ve certainly given it strong support.”

Source: Northeast Florida balks at evolution By Matt Soergel, The Times-Union 01-17-2008

Superintendent Richard DiPatri said the change wouldn’t make a difference in Brevard Public Schools, where evolution already is taught and the curriculum is aligned with national science education standards.

Ginger Davis, a science resource teacher for the Brevard district, said students participate in labs where theories of evolution can be proven.

“Evolutions is much more than just that one little piece of Darwin,” she said. “It is a fundamental scientific concept that you can observe in a lab, but people tend to want to focus on that little narrow piece.”

She said that in science, a theory is much like a law. Theories have to stand the test of time, and it’s more about observable trends than schools of thought, Davis said.

Source: Florida Today State educators set to vote on evolution by Megan Downs Jan 18, 2008

yellow-bullet.jpgCalhoun - Calhoun County District Schools - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

School Board

thumbs_down.png Carol Studdard, Chairman

thumbs_down.png Charles Van Zant, Jr., Vice-Chairman

thumbs_down.png Carol Vallencourt, Member

thumbs_down.png Lisa Graham, Member

thumbs_down.png Wayne Bolla, Member

thumbs_down.png Clay Owens Superintendent

David Campbell, a teacher in Clay County, said he helped develop the standards being argued. The standards should include evolution, he said.

“It is the glue that holds biology together,” he said. “The new standards are a vast improvement. Evolution is not presented as dogma.”

Source: Herald Trinune Jan 04 2008

Despite impassioned opposition from science experts, teachers and some clergy, Clay County School Board members unanimously resolved Tuesday night that evolution should be presented as a theory, and not fact, in the classroom.

The board passed a resolution, proposed by Superintendent David Owens, asking the Florida Department of Education to reword its newly proposed state standards, which presents evolution as “the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported in multiple forms of scientific evidence.”

Baker County approved a similar resolution Dec. 17.

“It’s not like we’re asking for permission to teach creationism or any of those things. What we’re saying is let’s not be so dogmatic in our approach,” said Owens, who said it meets the needs of Clay County.

School Board attorney Bruce Bickner said evolution will continue to be taught and the resolution has no bearing on what is taught or what will be taught. It’s just semantics, he said.

Board members Carol Vallencourt and Charles Van Zant said they doubt the resolution will sway the Florida Department of Education to change the wording.

“We’re beating a dead horse deader,” Van Zant said.

Though he voted for the resolution, board member Wayne Bolla said he didn’t think there is a difference in the word concept and theory.

Source: My Clay Sun by Mary Maraghy, 01-17-2008

Clay County’s retiring superintendent, David Owens, said the state is “interfering” in what should be a local matter. Other theories on the origin of life should be presented along with evolution, he said.

“I believe in the separation of church and state, but I also believe there is important information available on both sides of [evolution],” he said. “To present it in just one way is wrong.”

Source: Florida Times Union Northeast Florida balks at evolution By Matt Soergel 01-17-2008

magnifier.jpgDixie - Dixie District Schools - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

The Dixie County Advocate’s website is painful to navigate. But if you have the patience, you can venture to the Dec. 20 issue and see a column on page 12 written by Dixie County School Superintendent, Dennis Bennett.

Many scientists agree that the theory of evolution has so many unanswered unproven questions that it can’t be proven. Many scientists say that Intelligent Design, another concept has merit and warrants discussion because organisms can’t develop unless they have all components for life in place and in order. There is intelligence in the design of all organisms. If you take any part of the design out, the organism does not develop.

Source: Florida Citizens for Science: Dixie County>

And while the Dixie board did not pass a resolution, Bennett said all five members raised concerns at a recent meeting.

“We just wanted to get it on the record that we’re a Judeo-Christian community, and we believe in academic freedom,” Bennett said.

Source: North Florida weighing in against evolution St Petersburg Times, 01-24-2008

School Board

Martha Barrett

Nancy Broner

Kris Barnes

Brenda A. Priestly Jackson

Betty Burney

Vicki Drake

Tommy Hazouri

“It hasn’t come up with us yet because we’ve been focused on other things,” she said.

The board, however, will be studying the issue. “We don’t want to make any rash decisions,” Burney said.

Source: Florida Times Union Northeast Florida balks at evolution By Matt Soergel 01-17-2008

Ms. Wilhelmina Walton representing the Biology Department at the University of North Florida and the First Coast Freethought Society are cosponsoring a four speaker, Science panel program at the University Center Banquet Room, UNF on 11/13/06, 7:00 p.m. The title of the program is “Science Under Seige - the Attack on Evolution”. You were previously notified by mail. I’m a student of science, especially, biology. Florida received a grade of “F” in science regarding evolution. This grade misrepresents science. Young people have only one chance to get an education. We must teach an authentic curriculum in order to enter the workforce as educated individuals. We urge the Board to respond to this program and take part on November 13. Please put a stop to the interference on what is going on. Ms. Walton distributed flyers.

DUVAL COUNTY REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES Thursday, November 09, 2006

yellow-bullet.jpgFranklin - Franklin County Schools - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

yellow-bullet.jpgGulf - Gulf County School District - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

School Board

thumbs_down.png Jennifer Faliero - More Info

question.jpgCarol Kurdell

question.jpgDoretha W. Edgecomb

question.jpgApril Griffin

question.jpgJack R. Lamb

question.jpgCandy Olson

question.jpgSusan L. Valdes


Hillsborough County: school board member Jennifer Faliero says that students shouldn’t be taught evolution only. Reported in the St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 6. (Contact information on Faliero here.)

Supporting the resolution: Rickey D. Callahan, Gary Scott, Jason Motley, Anthony Register, Vernon Lewis, and superintendent Steve Griffin.

School Board

Terry E. Nichols

Kenneth Griffin

Betty B. Duffee

Chris Johnson

Charlotte Gardner

CONTRACTS/RESOLUTIONS/AGREEMENTS

E. Approval of Resolution Regarding The Proposed New Science Sunshine State Standards

yellow-bullet.jpgLafayette - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

yellow-bullet.jpgLiberty - Liberty County School Board - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

red-bullet.jpgMadison - Madison County Schools - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

“I’m a Christian. And I believe I was created by God, and that I didn’t come from an amoeba or a monkey,” said Ken Hall, a School Board member in Madison County, east of Tallahassee.

Source: North Florida weighing in against evolution St Petersburg Times, 01-24-2008

Hall, the Madison board member, said his wife is threatening to do just that with their daughter, but he’s not going to let that happen. It’ll be his daughter’s duty to learn the material, and “my duty to tell her I don’t necessarily believe that,” he said.

“I’m not buying (evolution),” Hall continued. “But I’m not boycotting it either.”

Source: North Florida weighing in against evolution St Petersburg Times, 01-24-2008

magnifier.jpgMartin - Martin County School District - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes- Latest Agenda

School Board

thumbs_down.pngDr. David Anderson term expires Nov. 2008

question.jpgDr. Sara A. Wilcox

question.jpgLorie Shekailo

question.jpgSue Hershey

question.jpgLaurie Gaylord (Chair)

question.jpgNancy Kline (Vice-Chair)


Martin County School Board member David Anderson said he opposes teaching evolution and said it should be referenced only as a “theory that some people believe in.”

“I’m a Christian and I believe in the Creation. I’m the son of a minister,” said Anderson, whose district includes Palm City and Indiantown. “I am in no way endorsing the teaching of evolution.” (Source

School Board

Janet Adkins
Gail Cook, Vice-Chairman
Muriel Creamer, Chairman
Jim Adams
Kathy Burns

thumbs_down.pngDr. John L. Ruis

Nassau County Superintendent John Ruis said he is a strong believer in biblical creationism. The theory of evolution has many “holes” in it, he said - and presenting it as undisputed fact “is certainly contrary to the beliefs of many people, including myself.”

Source: Florida Times-Union on 01-17-2007

School Board

question.jpgCindy Frakes - More Info

question.jpgHoward Hill - More Info

question.jpgChuck Kelley - More Info

thumbs_down.png Cathy Thigpen - More info

question.jpgRodney Walker - More Info

Teachers

thumbs_up.pngShawnea Tallman, Science curriculum specialist

thumbs_up.pngLisa Rogers, a Niceville High School biology teacher


“It’s been proven that things change over time. It is science and things do change,” said Lisa Rogers, a Niceville High School biology teacher.

There are the obvious distinct outlooks on evolution, but most people fall somewhere in the middle, said science curriculum specialist Shawnea Tallman.

“I don’t have to believe in evolution to study science, and I don’t have to believe in creationism and God to study science. I’m just studying science,” Tallman said.

Source: Evolution in education Northwest Florida Daily News Dec 12th 2007

Okaloosa County: school board member Cathy Thigpen wants other “forms of creation” to be taught.

“If it’s to be mandated, then the state needs to think about all of the other forms of creation that need to be taught in order to give students a balance,”

Source: Reported in the Northwest Florida Daily News, Dec. 12

yellow-bullet.jpgOkeechobee - The School Board of Okeechobee County - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

Palm Beach County: one board member was in support of evolution and against intelligent design, while the other six board members refused to comment or return calls. However, Debra Robinson had stated back in 2000 that creationism should be taught with evolution. Reported in the Palm Beach Post Dec. 31.

Palm Beach County School Board Chairman Bill Graham said any discussion of intelligent design is best reserved for college philosophy classes, not “side by side” in K-12 science classes.

The other six board members either refused to comment or did not return numerous phone calls and e-mails made during the past two weeks.

Board member Debra Robinson told The Palm Beach Post in 2000 that schools should teach creationism with evolution.

(Contact information on Robinson here.)

Pinellas County: school board members Jane Gallucci, Carol Cook, Peggy O’Shea and Nancy Bostock all want other theories taught. Reported in the St. Petersburg Times education blog, Dec. 17.

Nov. 20. Updated: Due to a flood of pro-science correspondence, the school board backed off of their anti-evolution push, Dec. 22.

School Board

John D. Milton

Tom Townsend

Lisa Parsons

C. L. Overturf, Jr.

Joann Barber

David Buckles

Parent activists Kim Kendall and Lynda Follenweider from St. Johns County have been very vocal about their opposition to evolution. They attempted to use a state senator to get before the state board of education to talk about the subject. Reported in the Florida Times Union, Dec. 6.

Kim Kendall of Jacksonville appeared on WTBN’s Drive Time with Bill Bunkley radio show. Looking for audio and/or transcript

“Anybody with half a brain can see that natural selection takes place,” said Beverly Slough, a St. John’s board member who is president-elect of the Florida School Boards Association. “But to make great leaps from a fish to a man … the fossil record doesn’t support all that.”

Source: North Florida weighing in against evolution St Petersburg Times, 01-24-2008

School Board Members

thumbs_down.pngDr. John Carvelli Pro-Intelligent Design Creationism

thumbs_down.pngMs. Carol A. Hilson Chairman Pro-Intelligent Design Creationism Term expires November, 2008

question.jpgTroy Ingersoll Unknown

question.jpgDr. Judi Miller Refused Comments

thumbs_up.pngMrs. Kathryn Hensley Pro-Science


St. Lucie County: school board members Carol Hilson and John Carvelli either want intelligent design taught or wouldn’t object to it being taught if the community wanted it. Reported in the Palm Beach Post Dec. 31.

Opponents argue that evolution is merely a theory and that other explanations for the origins of life, such as intelligent design, also should be taught out of fairness.

Other groups have come to Darwin’s defense, arguing that evolution is backed by empirical evidence, something that intelligent design lacks.

The current standards, which are used as the basis for school curricula and standardized testing, refer only to biological “changes over time.”

That’s not enough, said Mary Jane Tappen, executive director of the state Office of Mathematics and Science.

“If you look in any biology textbook, you’ll see a chapter or more on the theory of evolution,” Tappen said. “There is a disconnect here. If we really want to be clear, the accurate terminology should be part of our standards.”

Some exchanges in the statewide debate have been stranger than others.

After a majority of school board members in Polk County agreed recently that intelligent design should be incorporated into the science curriculum, the district was inundated with e-mails from members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Members of the tongue-in-cheek religion credit all of creation to a flying abomination that’s more Olive Garden than Garden of Eden.

“No one was around to see what was described in Genesis,” one e-mail to board members stated. “For all we know, the Flying Spaghetti Monster created everything with his noodly appendages.”

But Polk County officials aren’t the only ones in favor of supplementing evolution with the teaching of intelligent design.

At least two of the five members of the St. Lucie County School Board - Chairwoman Carol Hilson and John Carvelli - said they either want intelligent design to be taught or wouldn’t object to teaching it if the community requested. The new standards have no provision for creationism or intelligent design.

“My children need to be exposed to everything, but taught as a theory,” Hilson said. “Science is, well, not an exact science. It’s all so subjective. There are a lot of holes in the theory of evolution.

“I can’t imagine that we would teach science and not teach intelligent design.”

Board member Kathryn Hensley supported the teaching of evolution, adding that “anything that is faith-based or religious-based just doesn’t belong in the classroom.”

Board member Judi Miller refused to comment and board member Troy Ingersoll, a Baptist minister, could not be reached for comment.

(Contact information on both here.)

yellow-bullet.jpgSumter - Sumter County School Board - School Board - Board Agenda and Minutes - Latest Agenda

School Board

thumbs_down.pngMark Southerland

thumbs_down.pngBrenda Carlton

thumbs_down.pngDarrell Whiddon

thumbs_down.pngDanny Lundy

thumbs_down.pngKenneth Dennis

thumbs_down.pngOscar M. Howard Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent Oscar Howard of Taylor County, a Panhandle district with about 3,300 students, has spoken against teaching just evolution, arguing that evolution has not been proven.

Source: Florida Today State educators set to vote on evolution by Megan Downs Jan 18, 2008

Wakulla County: Beth Mims, director of curriculum, and Greg Thomas, school board member, spoke out against evolution at a public hearing concerning the science standards. Reported in the Tallahassee Democrat, Nov. 10. (Contact information on Thomas here. Contact information on Mims here.)

178 Comments

Where did the “Insert County here” document originate? “Anyone, anyone, Bueller? Bueller?” (yes, very bad taste in movie quote - I know)

Could this be the guy? – – David Gibbs, of the Christian Law Association, wrote a letter and legal memorandum given to state BoE members advocating against “requiring only one particular belief system in Florida classrooms.” Reported in the Florida Baptist Witness Dec. 19.

When confronting these school board members on this point, it might be worth mentioning that their resolutions bear a striking resemblance to the Wedge Strategy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

If you want to reference an actual copy of the Wedge, try these…

Scan of the Original Wedge Document http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.pdf

Another Copy of the Wedge (easier to read) http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html

Stacy S. :

Where did the “Insert County here” document originate? “Anyone, anyone, Bueller? Bueller?” (yes, very bad taste in movie quote - I know)

I took a look at two documents and removed the specifics. Sorry no smoking gun, but yes, this is the kind of document we should be looking for.

hey, if you want some laughs in the middle of all this, suggest reading former representative, now mayoral candidate Foster’s recent letter.

http://www.sptimes.com/2008/01/10/i[…]erletter.pdf

jaw dropping ignorance.

Throw in the case that there is still no fossil record or evidence to support Darwin, and all you have left is a theory. If evolution were true, then there should be countless numbers of transitional forms (e.g., 100% reptile, 75% reptile - 25% bird, 50% reptile - 50% bird, 25% reptile - 75% bird, 100% bird, and many transitional forms between each of those). Our science labs and museums are loaded with fossils, and yet none support Mr. Darwin.

emphasis mine.

damn, that’s some funny shit right there.

is this the level of education for many floridians? If so, no wonder they are trying to set up some new and better standards!

If the various county Voluntary Ignorance Resolutions are similar or identical, it is almost certain that there is an organization or two behind them. Most likely the DI. Otherwise the coincidences would be way too improbable.

These resolutions don’t seem to be any more than statements of sentiment rather than actual plans. As such they wouldn’t necessarily lead to court cases. A court case in Florida would be a slam dunk. I’ve read some of the public statements by the Taylor county school board members. They seem to have been partaking too much of their product i.e. a substandard education. In other words, they sound like ignorant hicks. In court, a good lawyer can run circles around such witnesses. Oddly enough, there are a few advantages to having a good education and ability to think.

In Arkansas, one of the creo leaders testified in court that he believed UFOs were real and piloted by demons from hell. In some places that sort of statement might be the norm but most places it labels someone as a wingnut.

Not sure how much any of this matters. In some states, they just ignore the guidelines and don’t bother to teach evolution or teach creationism anyway. In seems to be most of Arkansas and at least half of Texas. Doesn’t look like there is any enforcement or interest in such.

@ Ichthyic - That letter is un - f*****g believeable!

ain’t it tho?

to think, that guy was their congressional rep for years (outed by term limit), and now wants to be mayor.

*shudder*

If the various county Voluntary Ignorance Resolutions are similar or identical, it is almost certain that there is an organization or two behind them. Most likely the DI. Otherwise the coincidences would be way too improbable.

If someone has the time it would be nice to build a stemma for them, to see whether the later are merely copying the earlier, or whether they all descend from some unpublished source.

congressional rep

sorry council rep.

In the very least - I think we might have a case that they violated Florida’s “Sunshine Law” http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf[…]OpenDocument - Hopefully we can find the source.

… so that evolution is presented as one of several theories as to how the universe was formed.

Those poor, confused creatonists…

Ernst Hot Wrote:

Those poor, confused creatonists…

Maybe they’ll tell us how many Universe “kinds” were on the Ark. ;-)

Ichthyic Wrote:

jaw dropping ignorance.

Give him a break. Maybe his area of expertise is molecular genetics ;-)

(I had to work in “plagiarized errors” somehow)

It’s time to do some detective work and trace back the inevitable links to creationism.

I would say if you looked back far enough, nearly all the creation rows in the US have their origins with Answers in Genesis. Certainly our own situation in Lisburn Co. Antrim (which appears to have gone very quite over the last couple of months) was fueled by two visits of AiG speakers, Monty White and Paul Taylor:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/[…]ion_row.html

I would expect things to heat up again over the coming months though. CMI are here in February and are speaking at Dunluce Christian Fellowship in Portrush (responsible for the giant’s causeway nonsense, rather like the Grand Canyon, situation in the US), and we are also being “blessed” with Ken Ham and David Menton’s presence in May (I would imagine this will draw exceptionally large crowds).

AiG’s influence really does stretch far and wide it would seem. The success of it’s so called museum just goes to show that there will be many more “Dovers” in the future.

Still, according to my brother, who works for the Department of Education and skills in NI, they (the department) receive quite a lot of queries asking why “ID” isn’t taught alongside evolution (i.e. why don’t you teach other points of view etc.). The standard reply that the Department of Education gives is that “ID isn’t science so it’s not taught as science” . At least there’s some hope here.

It’s time to do some detective work and trace back the inevitable links to creationism.

I would say if you looked back far enough, nearly all the creation rows in the US have their origins with Answers in Genesis. Certainly our own situation in Lisburn Co. Antrim (which appears to have gone very quite over the last couple of months) was fueled by two visits of AiG speakers,Monty White and Paul Taylor:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/[…]ion_row.html

I would expect things to heat up again over the coming months though. CMI are here in February and are speaking at Dunluce Christian Fellowship in Portrush (responsible for the giant’s causeway nonsense, rather like the Grand Canyon, situation in the US), and we are also being “blessed” with Ken Ham and David Menton’s presence in May (I would imagine this will draw exceptionally large crowds).

AiG’s influence really does stretch far and wide it would seem. The success of it’s so called museum just goes to show that there will be many more “Dovers” in the future.

Still, according to my brother, who works for the Department of Education and skills in NI, they (the department) receive quite a lot of queries asking why “ID” isn’t taught alongside evolution (i.e. why don’t you teach other points of view etc.). The standard reply that the Department of Education gives is that “ID isn’t science so it’s not taught as science” . At least there’s some hope here.

A few words, early on, explaining who Bruce Gordon, Philip Johnson, Paul Nelson, Del Ratzsch, Ryan Nichols, and William Dembski are would useful for those who visit here and don’t know who they are and their reputation.

Tom:

A few words, early on, explaining who Bruce Gordon, Philip Johnson, Paul Nelson, Del Ratzsch, Ryan Nichols, and William Dembski are would useful for those who visit here and don’t know who they are and their reputation.

Excellent point, this is a work in progress :-) Unless it has a colored bullet, the links have not been added.

Eric K and others, please do not hijack this particular thread. Florida only and only constructive contributions. Your postings are now at the bathroom wall

Eric Kuhns:

This website’s posts are also ignorant, in the way they are written. I read alot of the articles and they really make creationism almost look unintelligent. I think we should all remember that evolution is just as much theory as creationism is detailed on this website. Although, I agree that religious extremists shouldn’t push evolution out of the text books. If it is all theory, why don’t we just teach both views, as they are 2 of the largest belief systems in America as to how the World was formulated. I’m refering to not only school’s text books, but museums as well. Let people create their own opinions without forcing a certain belief or theory down their throats. Interesting site though! :)

Question for you Eric: if you really do believe that we should “teach all views”, since neither (in your mind) evolution or creationism are properly substantiated and “just theories”, then you should really think about the implications. For example, if the criteria for what material to teach students in public school science is that the concept must “only be just a theory” and not substantiated, then doesn’t that open the door a bit wide for all manner of craziness to enter?

Consider this: would you object to any of the following? Your kids being taught (as just as factual as the current science)…

… the Raelian version of ID in biology class…

… astrology in astronomy class…

… the four-element (air, earth, fire, water) model of alchemy in chemistry class…

… the Transcendental Meditation view of gravity in physics…

… or the principles of Scientology in psychology class.

But why stop there with the science classes? How about if we “teach all views” in history class as well? Would you feel comfortable with your kids learning (as just as factual as what is now taught) that the Holocaust of World War II was all a Jewish conspiracy?

I have to say that if you are sincere in your “teach all views” argument, then you must be prepared to accept all of the above (and more) as valid science/history in public school classes. If you object to any of the above, I would have to then label you as a hypocrite.

Be careful about that pesky “teach all views” or “teach the controversy” argument. If you were actually successful with it, then you might have opened a Pandora’s Box.

Get the point?

PvM:

Eric K and others, please do not hijack this particular thread. Florida only and only constructive contributions. Your postings are now at the bathroom wall

PvM’s point is well placed. I do hope that my post about the logical conclusion of the “teach all views” argument is noted as a viable critique. It should be pointed out to the school boards in question, I believe.

Remember framing. In any correspondence, when at all possible, never use the term “intelligent design” by itself - always use the term “intelligent design creationism.”

It seems that many of these Floridians are more interested in creationism than in intelligent design. We should do everything we can to “help” them understand that intelligent design is nothing more than a variant of creationism. Florida may very well undo all the work the Dishonesty Institute has invested in trying to separate the two “theories.”

This is the letter that David Gibbs (I mentioned him earlier, Christian Law Attorney)sent the Fl BoE http://www.floridabaptistwitness.co[…]volution.pdf Does it look like it’s similar to the SB resolutions that are going around?

The “push” now seems to be that teaching evolution is the same as teaching a religion.

Stacy S. : This is the letter that David Gibbs (I mentioned him earlier, Christian Law Attorney)sent the Fl BoE - http://www.floridabaptistwitness.co[…]volution.pdf Does it look like it’s similar to the SB resolutions that are going around?

Take a look at http://www.creationstudies.org/ - same document! From the “Creation Studies Institute.”

The website is registered through Network Solutions to the Creation Studies Institute, 5601 North Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308, Phone 954-771-1652, [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Stacy S. : This is the letter that David Gibbs (I mentioned him earlier, Christian Law Attorney)sent the Fl BoE - http://www.floridabaptistwitness.co[…]volution.pdf Does it look like it’s similar to the SB resolutions that are going around?

In the letter, attorney David Gibbs mentions “Dr. Francis Grubbs (who) is a longtime well-respected colleague and education expert, particularly in curriculum issues.” Later in the letter, Gibbs refers to “Dr. Francis C. Grubbs.”

Google has one hit for a “Dr. Francis C. Grubbs” - the Gibbs letter at www.creationstudies.org

But Google has a number of hits for a “Dr. Francis Grubbs” who is actually “Dr. Francis W. Grubbs,” whose info at http://www.zoominfo.com/Search/Pers[…]nID=43816781 says that Francis W. is “…an educator, administrator, consultant, author, and lecturer. He has served as president of two colleges and a seminary for a quarter century.” and “His education includes undergraduate degrees in theology and communications, his masters degree is in educational administration, and his PH.D. in the fields of education and administration.”

Any guesses if Francis C. and Francis W. are the same person? Or is this just a coincidence?

And what are the chances that Francis is a Fellow of the Dishonesty Institute?

Earlier I noted

In the (http://www.floridabaptistwitness.co[…]volution.pdf ) letter, attorney David Gibbs mentions “Dr. Francis Grubbs…”

Google shows that a “Dr. Francis Grubbs” received an “Award of Merit” in 2007 ( http://www.crown.edu/4622.0.html ) from “Crown College” which was founded in 1916 as a Bible college near Saint Paul, Minnesota, where it was first called the “Saint Paul Bible Institute” and later the “St. Paul Bible College,” where “Over 60% of Crown’s full-time faculty hold doctorates and all are evangelical Christians with a passion to teach.” ( http://www.crown.edu/3389.0.html ).

I’m not saying yet that attorney Gibbs’ “Francis Grubbs” is Crown College’s “Francis Grubbs” - but this is beginning to look like it might add up…

Paul,Good detective work!! That’s a step in the right direction:) I still think we need to show a connection to the School Board resolutions (insert county here document). Do you see something in there that I’m missing?

FL - Let me rephrase. 22 of the 25 people that spoke were anti- “stupid resolution”.

What do you mean? Evolutionary theory (not “Darwinism”) in biology

he equates the two, so don’t even bother.

FL:

But honestly, it’s time to register a dissenting opinion here: The people voting for the resolution are pro-science too.

It’s just that the term “pro-science” isn’t a synonym for “pro-Darwinism”.

FL

You refuse to realize that biologists do not use the term “Darwinism” to refer to Evolutionary Biology, that “Intelligent Design” is not science, and thus, the term “pro-science” will never ever be a synonym for “pro-ID” in this dimension, ever.

Unless, of course, you can demonstrate how one can do science with Intelligent Design.

Then again, FL, Armageddon will have come and gone and come again before you get the brains and backbone to demonstrate to us how one can do science with Intelligent Design.

Small point — While there are various hypotheses regarding abiogenesis (origin of life), there are no scientific theories (as of yet).

The theory of evolution is a theory about origins of species, etc., not origins of life.

David B. Benson:

Small point — While there are various hypotheses regarding abiogenesis (origin of life), there are no scientific theories (as of yet).

The theory of evolution is a theory about origins of species, etc., not origins of life.

Indeed.

Evolutionary theory in biology does not account for the origin of the universe either.

Regards

Eric

FL Wrote:

But honestly, it’s time to register a dissenting opinion here: The people voting for the resolution are pro-science too.

It’s just that the term “pro-science” isn’t a synonym for “pro-Darwinism”.

Yet again, FL (does “FL” stand for ****ing loony, BTW?), you demonstrate that you have failed to comprehend the many responses that your ill-informed posts stimulate.

(1) There is no such thing as “Darwinism”. If you disagree, you will need to define excactly what you mean when you use the term, with reference to real-world examples (i.e. evidence to support your assertions).
(2) If, when you use the word “Darwinism”, you actually mean modern evolutionary theory (MET), then, actually, yes, “pro-science” is synonymous with “pro-MET”, because MET is an example of good science.
(3) People voting for resolutions that discourage or dilute the teaching of MET are, almost exclusively, ill-informed religious fundies. They have no interest in learning what is or is not good science. If they did, they would have done so. Probably, for the most part, they have accepted the lies of their religious leaders and are content to remain ignorant of the truth.
(4) The people proposing these resolutions are either ill-informed religious fundies that have fallen for one of the scams of the ID movement, or they are themselves con artists.
(5) Anyone who claims that MET does not represent the highest-quality science is lying. This includes you, FL, since you have had your ill-informed drivel dissected on this blog sufficiently frequently that you can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse for repeating the lies of the creationists.
(6) Anyone who claims that there are genuine scientific alternatives to MET has either (a) not done any independent investigation of the issue; or (b) is lying. In fact, there are no scientific alternatives to MET.

You are wrong, FL. You have had this pointed out many, many times in previous threads on this blog. You have utterly failed to address any of the substantive and genuine objections to the claims you have made, and yet you persist in making them. By any standard, that is bare-faced lying.

FL,

Well, if the people voting for these resolutions are so “pro-science”, then I guess you can show us the resolutions they have proposed to teach the controversies in math, physics and chemistry.

You can always tell a hypocrite and a poser by their deeds. Why aren’t these people out there getting funding for textbooks and laboratory equipment if science education is so important to them? Why aren’t they doing all of the other things that could demonstrate their dedication to science instead of picking on one scientific theory that they happen to have a have a problem with?

Nigel D — Might not be bare-faced lying. Might be simply too stupid. Difficult to tell when there are only the low band-width communications via this medium.

David Stanton: Why aren’t they doing all of the other things that could demonstrate their dedication to science instead of picking on one scientific theory that they happen to have a have a problem with?

Read the Wedge Document ( http://www.aclu.org/evolution/legal/wedgedoc.pdf ) again, David. Their plan is to start with destroying evolution, and then biology, and then geology and astronomy and paleontology and all of science, and then civilization - all because it disagrees with their Bronze Age creation mythology.

FL Wrote:

But honestly, it’s time to register a dissenting opinion here: The people voting for the resolution are pro-science too.

It’s just that the term “pro-science” isn’t a synonym for “pro-Darwinism”.

You people, and by that I mean everyone from the most die-hard YECs to IDers who admit common descent, can’t seem to make any point anymore without using the word “Darwinism.” Well, sorry to break it to you, but pro-science is a synonym for pro-evolutionary biology, if not a synonym for “pro-(insert your caricature).” Those voting for the resolution are pro-misrepresenting science

David Stanton Wrote:

Well, if the people voting for these resolutions are so “pro-science”, then I guess you can show us the resolutions they have proposed to teach the controversies in math, physics and chemistry.

Well, if they haven’t, by golly I’ll do it for them. To paraphrase FL, the term “pro-science” isn’t a synonym for “pro-Benzenism”. ;-)

David B. Benson Wrote:

Nigel D — Might not be bare-faced lying. Might be simply too stupid. Difficult to tell when there are only the low band-width communications via this medium.

Sadly, I am compelled to disagree with you.

Over the past year or so (maybe more), FL has cropped up on many threads here on PT. (S)he has made many ignorant and ill-informed claims about science, and about IDC. FL has had these errors and logical failures pointed out time and time again.

FL has never even attempted to address the genuine and substantive criticisms of his/her position.

FL has never even attempted to substantiate the pro-IDC claims (s)he makes.

By repeating things that (s)he knows to be wrong, FL is lying. By continuing to do so after this has repeatedly been pointed out to him/her, I think we can justifiably call that bare-faced lying. Stupidity and/or ignorance are no excuse.

Nigel and David,

My 2c on FL, after my usual caveats:

1. It’s impossible to fully know anyone else’s private beliefs. 2. I admit to being the one most convinced of dishonesty when a “creationist” shows signs of privately knowing that we’re right. 3. What follows is my personal speculation:

FL seems to be a borderline case, but just on the side of being a victim of Morton’s Demon rather than a budding scam artist. It took several tries, but FL answered my questions about which creationist position (s)he favors. It was YEC, but with unsolicited caveats indicating clear political alliance to OECs and “don’t ask, don’t tell” IDers. Sure, it could be that (s)he just favors a bit more direct sell of YEC (the biggest market for anti-evolution pseudoscience), so I could be wrong here, as well as when I suspect dishonesty of other “creationists”.

Nevertheless, I also think that even the ID leaders who have me convinced that they privately know that we’re right about evolution (and that their “Darwinism” is a deliberate caricature) do honestly think that they need to get the audience to believe fairy tales in order to win the culture war. But because those fairy tales come in mutually contradictory versions, none of which holds up to critical analysis, they deem it too risky to promote them directly.

In any case, to continue my thoughts (from another thread?) on how we could better portray anti-evolution activism to the public (i.e. minimize foot-shooting), I think that we should simply avoid speculating what the activists and their followers believe or understand and focus on what they promote, and how they promote it.

Paul wrote:

“Their plan is to start with destroying evolution, and then biology, and then geology and astronomy and paleontology and all of science, and then civilization - all because it disagrees with their Bronze Age creation mythology.”

Yea, that will sure prove they’re “pro-science”.

If you’re right and these people are motivated by the wedge document, that pretty much proves they cannot possibly be “pro-science”. After all, the wedge document is specifically against “materialism” and “naturalism” which are the methodological basis of real science. It is not really possible to be more anti-science than that. However, because of the stunning successes of science, because of it’s tremendous impact on our lives and well-being, and because of our now almost complete reliance of on science, no one in their right mind would dare come out and say they were actually anti-science. So liars like FL try to persuade people that they are “pro-science” as if giving them that label will get them some credability.

I honestly don’t know if FL is really lying or just plain stupid. I honestly don’t care. He/she made demonstrably false statements that I and others have shown to be wrong. He has not responded to one criticism of his/her position. Who cares what he/she really believes anyway? If you are “pro-science” do science and teach others to do it. In the words of the fairly good book - “by their deeds yea shall know them”.

Frank J:

Nevertheless, I also think that even the ID leaders who have me convinced that they privately know that we’re right about evolution (and that their “Darwinism” is a deliberate caricature) do honestly think that they need to get the audience to believe fairy tales in order to win the culture war.

I agree with your assesment of Larry Farfarman (in various aliases) and the leaders of ID movement. I also think we are fighting millions of years of evolution. We know that almost all genetic mutations are deleterious and only a very very tiny fraction is beneficial. Similarly almost all unorthodox beliefs and actions are also deleterious to our small band of hunter gatherer ancestors. When an Australopithecan parent says “Don’t walk too close to the (crocodile infested) lake shore”, the child that obeys without question is likely to survive and the band that promotes unconditional obedience is likely to be more successful.

I think, (I am no biologist or a psychologist) ID believers feel the same apprehension and the knot of fear in their stomachs the Australopithecan parent felt when their child disobeyed them and started playing on the lake shore thumbing their noses at him/her.

I think that we should simply avoid speculating what the activists and their followers believe or understand and focus on what they promote, and how they promote it.

I see three kinds of ID believers and pushers. Kind C is the children who obediently stayed away from the shore. They believe in orthodoxy, their family and tribal elders. C for children.

The next kind is P, (for parents), who are worried about the rise of unorthodoxy in the next generation and are genuinely concerned about it.

The third kind is L, (for leaders) those whose main job is to codify and remember (and later document) the orthodoxy. And more importantly to enforce it. This class, naturally, exploits the obedience of C and the apprehensions of P to its own advantage.

We should have different strategies aimed at these classes. Explain to C that there are no crocodiles in this lake shore. Explain to P the shenanigans of L. For L, deny the easy and unrestricted access they have to P & C, make them work for the benefits they get and eventually as the base of P & C shrinks, L will shrink too.

May be this is all well known among the activists who have invested far more time and energy to this cause than I.

Nigel D thinks that:

There is no such thing as “Darwinism”

.

But as usual, Nigel D is wrong. The late Ernst Mayr explains:

Darwinism rejects all supernatural phenomena and causations. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the adaptedness and diversity of the world solely materialistically.

–Mayr, “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought”, SciAm July 2000

And notice: Mayr’s statement answers your inquiry about defining Darwinism. Here, he identifies Darwinism as the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Now, OTHER evolutionists simply use the term “Darwinism” without defining the term at all, and of course you totally approve of their failure to define the term. Example:

Thursday, Feb. 9 (2006)– “Where Do We Go From Here? The Future of Darwinism in American Society,” at the Museum of the Earth, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. This panel discussion, moderated by Cornell Provost Biddy Martin, will examine the impact of the recent Dover decision on the future of Darwinism.

At any rate, despite your very extreme religious devotion to MET, I would again re-iterate that you don’t have to be pro-Darwinism to be pro-science. You can have doubts about evolution and evolutionary claims, you can even specify that it’s okay to teach about problems, weaknesses and blankspots WRT to evolutionary claims in science classrooms, and still be pro-science. You can even in fact be pro-Design (let’s define “Design” here as “Intelligent Design”) and still be pro-science. In fact, join the crowd.

*****

David Stanton said something interesting as well.

If you’re right and these people are motivated by the wedge document, that pretty much proves they cannot possibly be “pro-science”. After all, the wedge document is specifically against “materialism” and “naturalism” which are the methodological basis of real science.

Therefore, if a person can show that David Stanton’s second sentence is NOT TRUE, that will immediately falsify his first sentence as well. Sweet! So here you go:

“There’s nothing inherent in the scientific enterprise that requires restricting it to natural causes or natural explanations only. Science is about what is testable, not necessarily what is naturalistic. –Dr. John Millam, May 2005.

***

“To insist that postulations of past agency are inherently unscientific in the historical sciences (where the express purpose of such inquiry is to determine what happened in the past) suggests we know that no personal agent could have existed prior to humans. Not only is such an assumption intrinsically unverifiable, it seems entirely gratuitous in the absence of some non-circular account of why science should pre-suppose metaphysical naturalism.”

–philosopher of science Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, “Methodological Equivalence of Design and Descent.”

***

“For instance, it is quite common to see methodological naturalism defined as a requirement that science be restricted just to natural concepts, resources, data, and theories, that being interpreted to mean that whether or not philosophical naturalism is true, science must proceed as if it is. (That, for instance, is the position of the National Center for Science Education - or at least of its director.) But the problem here is that (as Boyle pointed out three plus centuries ago) nature in a created universe might well - indeed most likely would - be very different from nature in a random, chance universe. Thus, the typical equating of a restriction to the natural with proceeding as if philosophical naturalism is true, turns out to beg some deeper questions.

Most of the actual arguments for methodological naturalism being a definitive, unchallengeable rule of science seem to me to be problematic.”

–philsopher of science Dr. Del Ratzsch, “Science and Design” interview (2006) http://www.galilean-library.org/ratzsch.html

So, now we see the real deal. David’s claim of ‘materialism’ and ‘naturalism’ being the methodological basis of “real science” is actually refuted! The scientific method defines science, not the religion of materialism/naturalism.

*****

So hang in there, pro-science non-darwinist Floridians! Win or lose, you’re doing the right thing.

FL :)

FL, would you mind citing the peer-reviewed, published research which does not rely on methodological naturalism?

Thanks in advance!

[got an ‘operation timed out’ message while trying to post, sorry if this is a double]

FL You keep rattling on about the problems and weaknesses of the theory of evolution, but you never tell us what they are.

So how about it? Steel yourself. Gird yourself for battle! Give us a list of what you perceive to be its weaknesses and what you think should be taught in Florida schools. Now is your chance to have an impact as you seem to be the only person coming here who is in favour of these resolutions from the county school boards. Or will you be forever content to use you peashooter from the sidelines?

At the risk of being accused of “quote mining”:

FL Wrote:

You can have doubts about evolution and evolutionary claims, you can even specify that it’s okay to teach about problems, weaknesses and blankspots WRT to evolutionary claims in science classrooms, and still be pro-science.

Please cite examples of any such legitimate (as in “recognized by mainstream science”) weaknesses.

FL Wrote:

Therefore, if a person can show that David Stanton’s second sentence is NOT TRUE, that will immediately falsify his first sentence as well.

Ah, scientific proof via debating techniques. Not legitimate.

FL Wrote:

The scientific method defines science, not the religion of materialism/naturalism.

And accusing science of being religion, or at the very least confusing methodological and philosophical naturalism/materialism.

Standard, boiler-plate creationist tripe. We’ve seen it for years, it’s just as tiresome as ever. The fact that it still convinces school boards leads to another eternal truth:

“God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board.” Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Here’s a consequence of overturning the established dogma …

Barry Marshall and Robin Warren,

Against prevailing dogmas, you discovered that one of the most common and important diseases of mankind, peptic ulcer disease, is caused by a bacterial infection of the stomach. Your discovery has meant that this frequently chronic and disabling condition can now be permanently cured by antibiotics to the benefit of millions of patients. Your pioneering work has also stimulated research all around the world to better understand the link between chronic infections and diseases such as cancer. On behalf of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, I wish to convey to you our warmest congratulations, and I now ask you to step forward to receive the Nobel Prize from the hands of His Majesty the King.

… but then again, they had actual data to support their hypothesis (ibid):

Robin Warren, in his professional role as a clinical pathologist, observed spiral-shaped bacteria in tissue specimens from the stomachs of many patients who had undergone gastroscopy. These bacteria were abundantly present, associated with the epithelium of the stomach and shielded from dangerous hydrochloric acid by a thick mucous layer. Warren saw that the underlying mucous membrane always showed signs of inflammation and therefore suggested that the spiral-shaped bacteria caused gastritis.

Barry Marshall became interested in Warren’s findings and decided to culture the bacterium. Many fruitless attempts were made. During the Easter 1982 holiday, the agar plates were left in the incubator by mistake, and when they were inspected after the holiday they contained numerous colonies consisting of the same bacterium that Warren had observed under his microscope. Soon it became clear that a whole new bacterial genus had been isolated. It was eventually named Helicobacter pylori.

Were Marshall & Warren the victims of some Evil ConspiracyTM trying to suppress their data?* Nope.

Did they go whining to the press when their ideas were met with skepticism? Nope.

Did they distribute glossy 4-color leaflets to school board members to try to get the biology curriculum changed? Nope.

Did they do science? Yep.

Did they rely on methodological naturalism? You betcha.

So, FL, I’m really looking forward to seeing that list:

FL, would you mind citing the peer-reviewed, published research which does not rely on methodological naturalism?

After all, if Florida science teachers are expected to teach a scientific method that isn’t bound by methodological naturalism, don’t you think they should be able to show some examples of such research to their students?

[*insert favorite quote from RWOS]

Ravilyn Sanders Wrote:

We should have different strategies aimed at these classes.

Exactly! And I like your 3-tier model better than my 2-tier one. If by “activists” you mean on the pro-science side, this may be well-known, but it is very poorly implemented. Lumping those who oppose evolution in one big “creationists” category is part of the “foot-shooting” I refer too.

Of course, unlike the anti-evolution activists, whose different strategies for different audiences send contradictory messages, such as whether their opposition to evolution is religiously motivated or not, we need to be consistent to all audiences. While some individual opponents of ID/creationism may be motivated by religion - and that includes some devout Christians as well as the usual atheist suspects - what unites us all is an interest in good science and good science education.

Arguments that are tailored to the general public (including the C “kind” of evolution opponent) should emphasize that we know that being conservative about what is taught and investigated is counterintuitive. Most nonscientists, including many (most?) who have no problem with evolution, see science not as “necessarily conservative” but as closed-minded, biased or both. Unfortunately, anti-evolution activists are winning that war of words without hardly trying.

FL said:

Nigel D thinks that “There is no such thing as “Darwinism””

But as usual, Nigel D is wrong. The late Ernst Mayr explains:

Just once I’d like to see a creationist defend his views without quoting anyone who is dead. You guys need to learn that unlike religion, science progresses and changes, so quotes from authorities (and cherry picked ones at that) are not forever binding, if they are binding at all.

It is a simple fact of American political life that modern evolutionary theory is referred to as “Darwinism” by creationists because 1) they want to poison the well by making it appear to be just another faith-based religious view, and 2) this allows them to give the appearance of arguing science by attacking Charles Darwin personally, or discussing Darwin’s errors as if they were relevant to MET. All the posthumous quotes in the world won’t change that.

Fl asserted:

You can have doubts about evolution and evolutionary claims, you can even specify that it’s okay to teach about problems, weaknesses and blankspots WRT to evolutionary claims in science classrooms, and still be pro-science.

You cannot be knowledgably pro-science and do so. Oh sure, you can be ignorantly pro-science and yammer about nonexistent problems and weaknesses of MET, just like you can be ignorantly pro-balanced budget while promoting supply-side tax cuts.

But the fact is there are no problems, weaknesses, or blankspots to MET. There are only problems, weaknesses and blankspots in the knowledge of creationists. We could talk about that in science class if you like.

Nice try Fl. Conflating philisophical naturalism with methodological naturalism won’t hack it. And quoting people who doubt methodologiocal naturalism won’t prove anything either. So can you give just one example of a truly scientific explanation that cannot be tested empirically using methodological naturalism? Thought not.

As for your logical fallacy, proving my second statment wrong would still not do anything in the way of proving that these people are “pro-science”. They can still be anti-science even if they never heard of the wedge document. The point is that they don’t do science, they don’t accept the findings of science, they don’t teach science and they don’t want anyone else to teach real science either. They can only be “pro-science” in the sense that they define science for themselves for their own neferious purposes.

Personally, I really don’t care what their motivation is. The only way to be “pro-science” is to do real science, publish the results and earn the right to get your ideas in textooks. Passing meaningless resolutions that demonstrate your ignorance is counterproductive and borders of child abuse.

You haven’t paid very close attention FL in just the relatively short time I’ve been around. Your appeal to the authority of the good doctor fails because it makes a false distinction. Testable explanations are naturalistic in the modern sense. This is why physics can craft all manner of forces and particles. To the superficial mind it sounds like magic, but it is quite clearly not. On the flipside most people of faith explicitly reject the notion that their religious principles are subject to experimental testing. Logically of course there can be no experimental test of a mysterious omnipotent God because it is always a logical possibility that it was done differently. This is not any kind of new thinking or break through.

Eric Finn:

David B. Benson:

The theory of evolution is a theory about origins of species, etc., not origins of life.

Indeed.

Evolutionary theory in biology does not account for the origin of the universe either.

Regards

Eric

Yeah, that is called the big bang cosmology. Of course, the creationists want to trash that aspect of modern science as well.

Eric Finn:

David B. Benson:

The theory of evolution is a theory about origins of species, etc., not origins of life.

Indeed.

Evolutionary theory in biology does not account for the origin of the universe either.

Regards

Eric

Yeah, that is called the big bang cosmology. Of course, the creationists want to trash that aspect of modern science as well.

Eric Finn:

David B. Benson:

The theory of evolution is a theory about origins of species, etc., not origins of life.

Indeed.

Evolutionary theory in biology does not account for the origin of the universe either.

Regards

Eric

Yeah, that is called the big bang cosmology. Of course, the creationists want to trash that aspect of modern science as well.

Few if any of those opposed to the very reasonable science standards seem to be pro-science, let alone non-darwinist.

However I want to reserve this thread for real discussions. Any future attempts to feed the trolls or be a troll will be dealt with appropriately by moving the content to the bathroom wall.

So hang in there, pro-science non-darwinist Floridians! Win or lose, you’re doing the right thing.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on January 24, 2008 11:00 PM.

North Florida weighing in against evolution was the previous entry in this blog.

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