Some good news from Florida

| 140 Comments

pandathumbla7.jpg Our friends at Florida Citizens for Science report on a variety of positive developments. All this may very well be related to the public hearing in which so many creationists got to demonstrate the deep level of ignorance amongst the public when it comes to evolution and evolutionary theory.

1. Monroe County approves resolution in favor of the proposed standards

2. The American Institute of Biological Sciences has released a letter in support of the standards

3. Americans United for Separation of Church and State released a letter in support of the standards

4. The Florida Academy of Sciences presented a supporting resolution during the Monday public forum meeting in Orlando.

5. The members of the writing committees have sent a letter of support to the Board of Education.

HT: Nate for providing an updated version of the Florida map

Finally the voices of reason are speaking out. It must have come as quite a shock to many of the scientists and religious people how deep the ignorance of evolutionary theory runs across the public.

Of course the Discovery Institute is still spinning the issue.

They are distracting readers from what the real debate is about. When teachers present evolution, should they present the only the evidence that supports the theory? Or, should they present both the evidence that supports the theory and that which challenges it?

Let’s remember that there is no competing theory of Intelligent Design and that ID is based on ignorance not on science. Why is that so hard to admit. Even Philip “father of Intelligent Design” Johnson laments

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.

Nuff said.

140 Comments

If you would like a good laugh (or are just interested) - the FLDOE has put the video of the meeting on their website : http://www.fldoe.org/meetings/2008_[…]gArchive.asp

When teachers present evolution, should they present the only the evidence that supports the theory? Or, should they present both the evidence that supports the theory and that which challenges it?

Why the latter of course, as long as the “challeging” evidence is not cherry picked to promote unreasonable doubt. But so far there is no evidence that anti-evolution activists would do it any other way. And no evidence that they would refrain from their usual bait-and-switch of definitions (e.g. of “theory”) or concepts (e.g. evolution vs. abogenesis), and quote mining, to augment their misrepresentation.

PvM,

You probably know this, but to clarify it for the lurkers, the 2 statements you quoted are actually consistent. The first describes the “replacement scam” that started when IDers themselves came to grips with the fact that there was no science of ID to teach. And well after they were aware that there was no science in classic creationism, only thoroughly falsified accounts that contradicted each other anyway. But they figured that if unreasonable doubts of evolution were planted in students’ minds, they’d infer their favorite fairy tales anyway.

Johnson’s quote was just a more official way of acknowledging the replacement scam.

There really aren’t any major holes in evolutionary theory. There are endless disputes on details, but that is true of any real science. Science progresses and expands with time. This is why we don’t live in caves.

Evolution has been attacked relentlessly for 150 years. After 150 years of attacks, a mere 99% of relevant scientists accept the fact of evolution and the theory of how it occurs.

Evolutionary thought is the one unifying concept of biology and medicine and no one could dig it out with anything less than nukes without destroying both fields. This would only matter to people who eat and utilize modern medicine.

When the fundies say holes, if you ask them you get decades old fallacies about the second law of thermodynamics, abiogenesis, and “we aren’t descended from monkeys”, usually with a generous helping of bible verses.

raven:

There really aren’t any major holes in evolutionary theory. There are endless disputes on details, but that is true of any real science. Science progresses and expands with time. This is why we don’t live in caves.

Evolution has been attacked relentlessly for 150 years. After 150 years of attacks, a mere 99% of relevant scientists accept the fact of evolution and the theory of how it occurs.

Evolutionary thought is the one unifying concept of biology and medicine and no one could dig it out with anything less than nukes without destroying both fields. This would only matter to people who eat and utilize modern medicine.

When the fundies say holes, if you ask them you get decades old fallacies about the second law of thermodynamics, abiogenesis, and “we aren’t descended from monkeys”, usually with a generous helping of bible verses.

Agreed. The issue is that the fundies are arguing that there ARE holes (gaps in fossil record, etc…)

raven: “we aren’t descended from monkeys”,

One small consolation. They seem to have gone from, “My grandpa was no monkey” to “My pet aint related to this orange”. Is this progress or what?

Ravilyn Sanders:

raven: “we aren’t descended from monkeys”,

One small consolation. They seem to have gone from, “My grandpa was no monkey” to “My pet aint related to this orange”. Is this progress or what?

I think so LOL! The “Orange”guy can be found in Part 1 at 53 minutes.

I believe that the two can and do coexist why is that not a popular view? Why does it have to be one way or the other?

raven Wrote:

There really aren’t any major holes in evolutionary theory.

But the irony is that, the more evidence for a scientific explanation, the more ways one can take some out of context to fool nonscientists into thinking that there are major holes.

Ravilyn Sanders Wrote:

One small consolation. They seem to have gone from, “My grandpa was no monkey” to “My pet aint related to this orange”. Is this progress or what?

Actually that’s not a consolation, but evidence that the scammers have learned that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ID-style arguments fool a larger audience than the comical Jack Chick style ones.

Stacy S.:

Ravilyn Sanders:

raven: “we aren’t descended from monkeys”,

One small consolation. They seem to have gone from, “My grandpa was no monkey” to “My pet aint related to this orange”. Is this progress or what?

I think so LOL! The “Orange”guy can be found in Part 1 at 53 minutes.

The only problem is that now they’re beginning to move on to arguments like “bananas are designed to be eaten: therefore GOD exists!”

Ryan:

I believe that the two can and do coexist why is that not a popular view? Why does it have to be one way or the other?

The two what?

Ok - here we go … at 1 hour 52 minutes we see a guy saying that he has found scientific evidence for ‘Creation” - liberal media disregarded him.

OK, quick poll.….

How many of the speakers started out with “I’m not much of a science guy, but…”

I am glad that there is good news on this issue which will directly affect my job as a teacher in Florida. I am somewhat skeptical of the Johnson quote; it just seems too perfect, almost like the quotes that antiscience people use that come from scientists taken out of context. I wouldn’t expect him to say something like that. What is the source of that quote?

Ryan:

I believe that the two can and do coexist why is that not a popular view? Why does it have to be one way or the other?

Ryan, if you are referring to religion and science co-existing peacefully, then it certainly is possible. Science is descriptive not presciptive; it descibes how nature is, without assigning moral values. Science does not–cannot–tell people what the nature of their relationship with the supernatural ought to be. Similarly, religion is about a relationship with the supernatural and it prescribes certain behaviors and attitudes; when it tries to describe nature it can rapidly find itself out of it’s depth.

The issues making headlines today come about because some self-described representatives of religion are deliberately going to war against science; they would like to replace an accurate (at least, the best we’ve managed so far) description of nature with… bafflegab; slick-sounding obfuscation and double-talk. When the assault on the science classroom ends, it will quickly become apparent that folks like Ken Miller, Pope John Paul II, and the thousands of signatories of the Clergy Letter Project can get along quite happily; their deep and sincere religious convictions do not demand they sacrifice good science or good science education.

Gary F:

I am somewhat skeptical of the Johnson quote; it just seems too perfect, almost like the quotes that antiscience people use that come from scientists taken out of context. I wouldn’t expect him to say something like that. What is the source of that quote?

http://sciencereview.berkeley.edu/a[…]le=evolution

The thing to realize is, Johnson (1) is a lawyer, not a scientist, who (2) devoutly believes that science (properly done) will ratify his religious faith. In other words, it’s not HIS job to do the science, that’s up to the Dembskis and Behes and other qualified scientists. But since is faith can’t possibly be wrong, it’s just a matter of going into the lab and proving that goddidit. C’mon, you science guys, roll up your sleeves and get it on!

If Johnson had enough scientific savvy to grasp the notion of testability, he’d soon realize why his science guys aren’t doing any science. At which point I imagine he’d get back with the program of SAYING it’s science, which is how religious claims come true, and since that makes it true, we can preach it in science class, since it’s science.

J. L. Brown Wrote:

Ryan, if you are referring to religion and science co-existing peacefully, then it certainly is possible.

Sure, but until Ryan clarifies, we can’t be sure that he didn’t mean evolution and the misrepresentations thereof coexisting peacefully in the classroom. Which is of course impossible unless those misrepresentations are thoroughly refuted. There is no reason to expect that to happen because:

1. Anti-evolution activists neatly omit the refutations. 2. Given the many common misconceptions that students already have, the refutations would take an inordinate amount of class time anyway, if they even can be understood at that level. 3. The misrepresentations are worded specifically to assure #2.

ID/creationism/”teach the controversy” may be religious views, but they are not religion itself.

So Ryan, if you’re still reading, which if either, do you mean?

Well, if there is any doubt about what “evidence” they are talking about, this article in the Florida Baptist Witness should dispel it:

www.floridabaptistwitness.com/8408.article

There are three quote mines, two of Stephen Jay Gould:

www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part3.html#quote3.14 www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part3.html#quote3.2

… and one of Karl Popper:

www.talkorigins.org/faqs/quotes/mine/part4.html#quote4.17

There is Sir Fred Hoyle’s chestnut about the impossibility of a 747 being assembled from a tornado passing through a junkyard, which totally misses the point of the process of evolution.

www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF002_1.html

A quotation from “Professor” Phillip Johnson is given (without mention that he is a lawyer, not a biologist) claiming that the question is not “whether the vast claims of Darwinian evolution conflict with Genesis but whether they conflict with the evidence of biology.” Of course, as noted above, Johnson also admits that ID is scientifically vacuous.

The lifeless body of the DI’s list of 700 “dissenters” from Darwin is dragged out. The Anthropic Cosmological Principal is given a whirl without any attempt to show how it relates to evolution. And, finally, an argumentum ad populum is presented in the form of a Zogby poll that claims that 71 percent of the public favors allowing teachers to acknowledge the scientific controversy over the origins of life.

But worst of all, this all comes from Robin Brown, a recently retired teacher from Polk County who taught for 31 years with the last 15 years being middle school science. Nice way to bring the validity of her students’ diplomas into doubt.

Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. I feel this to be true, I know this to be true. That’s science, isn’t it? :)

Berkeley Science Review In the matter of Berkeley v. Berkeley by Michelangelo D’Agostino Issue 10, Spring 2006

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]omments-open Some good news from Florida - The Panda’s Thumb Gary F:

I am glad that there is good news on this issue which will directly affect my job as a teacher in Florida. I am somewhat skeptical of the Johnson quote; it just seems too perfect, almost like the quotes that antiscience people use that come from scientists taken out of context. I wouldn’t expect him to say something like that. What is the source of that quote?

John Pieret Wrote:

But worst of all, this all comes from Robin Brown, a recently retired teacher from Polk County who taught for 31 years with the last 15 years being middle school science.

Unless she spent those 15 years under a rock (figuratively, which is entirely possible in this postmodern, anti-science age), there is no way that she didn’t read and understand some of the refutations of those long-refuted canards. So she must be at least partly in on the scam.

I’m no expert at grammar, but isn’t it customary to speak of a dead person like Gould in the past tense? Knowing that her target audience is unlikely to check her references, is she perhaps hoping that some people think that Gould is one of the 700 brave newcomers who will finally expose the “dirty secret” of “Darwinism”?

Ravilyn Sanders:

raven: “we aren’t descended from monkeys”,

One small consolation. They seem to have gone from, “My grandpa was no monkey” to “My pet aint related to this orange”. Is this progress or what?

Whether of not it is progress is debatable.

My answer to the assertion is simply: how else can we explain the non-identical but highly similar cellular processes in the two?

Or, alternatively, “prove it”.

Flint Wrote:

In other words, it’s not HIS job to do the science, that’s up to the Dembskis and Behes and other qualified scientists.

Methinks that sentence is wrong. Dembski is not a qualified scientist. He is not any kind of scientist.

Dr. Debra Walker of the Monroe County School Board noted in an Orlando Sentinel article that those counties passing anti-evolution resolutions are the ones with low FCAT science scores.

Graph here; Data here; original FCAT data from the Florida Department of Education FCAT results.

Thanks Cheryl! :-) Have you sent that to Brandon Haught? (Florida Citizens for Science)

(tinfoil hat) See?! The Evil Darwinist Conspiracy has even infiltrated the FCAT design committee!!! (/tinfoil hat)

Darn those science supporting counties for messing up the curve.

Again, Larry makes the simplest of mistakes. The Cartesian plane is a misnomer - it is actually a 2-dimesional coordinate system. The complex plane is based on a Cartesian coordinate system. Another way to solve the vector equations is by use of a phasor plane based on a polar coordinate system. These of course are mathematically equivalent (0=0 rad, j= pi rad, etc.), and the choice of which coordinate system to use (or to switch back and forth as need dictates) is purely up to the engineer. Both of those coordinate systems occur in what is known as the frequency domain, which depicts the peak periodic magnitude and periodic delay of that peak from a reference sinusoid. The sinusoidal representation for the circuit depicts the instantaneous magnitude and time lapse from a reference magnitude and time in what is known as the time domain. Both are equally valid representations that are apparent from direct measurements. The impedance is no less meaningful than the resistance, and in fact use of the frequency domain directly illustrates that. A good EE course explains what the direct relationship between impedance and the math is.

All that said, there are other ways to use vectors, it’s just that the use of complex vectors and phasors is easiest and directly reflects the effect of impedance.

Anyway, my point was that sometimes ideas that don’t appear to be true – and that might not be true – are useful in science and engineering. There is no tangible relationship between imaginary numbers and AC circuits & aerodynamics. And the fact that Darwinism is useful in biology does not necessarily mean that Darwinism is entirely true.

As shown above, Larry is saying the equivalent of “There is no tangible relationship between [mathematics] and [reality].” In that case, why bother teaching science at all, Larry?

Oh right. That’s your goal - to destroy all knowledge, because you can’t stand the idea that someone might understand something better than you do.

ABC/Larry Wrote:

Scientific criticisms of Darwinism are contained in a number of books, e.g., The Edge of Evolution, The Design of Life, Icons of Evolution and the Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

Ah, “Darwinism.” Where would anti-evolution pseudoscience be without that word? Unfortunately no scientific criticisms of evolution are contained in any books that IDers rave about, inlcuding those that have “evolution” in the title instead of the more politically correct term.

It’s funny though. For all the whining about “equal time,” “teach the controversy,” and “critical analysys,” IDers never recommend “Finding Darwin’s God,” “Tower of Babel,” “Why Intelligent Design Fails,” etc. Whyzzat ABC?

The banned commenter Larry Fafarman, posting under a sock-puppet to transparently avoid a two-year-old ban Wrote:

Why should I hang around here to answer your off-topic questions? Am I asking you off-topic questions, like asking you to explain Darwinism?

Seeing as everything you have posted on this thread is off-topic, I would say the answer to your second question is “Yes!”

Before the term “scientific theory” was added to the Florida standards, those standards not only assumed that plausible scientific criticisms of Darwinism do not exist now, but assumed that no plausible scientific criticisms of Darwinism would ever be found in the future.

Newsflash: the standards assumed nothing about this “Darwinism” you keep referring to. The inclusion of “Scientific Theory” in the standards is redundant. The standards went from describing evolution as a scientific theory to describing the Scientific Theory of Evolution as a scientific theory. It made no assumptions about plausible scientific criticisms of evolution, present past or future, nor does the addition make any changes. The standards do and did present the best explanations science has to offer, while making clear -repeatedly- that science can and does change as new information is discovered. Nothing in the standards prevents or prevented legitimate scientific criticisms from being presented. Note the emphasis. In fact, the Nature of Science portion of the standards allows for just that.

Scientific criticisms of Darwinism are contained in a number of books, e.g., The Edge of Evolution, The Design of Life, Icons of Evolution, and the Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

These are not scientific criticisms of anything. They are, however, pseudoscientific arguments, and the standards require that students be able to identify pseudoscience.

My favorite criticism of Darwinism is one I practically never see unless I raise it myself – the difficulties of co-evolution of total co-dependence of two different organisms.

Again, your favorite rehash of an argument abandoned 25 years ago by creationists is not a scientific criticism of anything. Your criticism is based on a complete lack of understanding of how traits are determined. It is of no surprise, then, that the scientific explanation of how co-evolution actually works has almost nothing in common with the objections you raise to it.

My favorite criticism of Darwinism is one I practically never see unless I raise it myself – the difficulties of co-evolution of total co-dependence of two different organisms.

What’s so difficult about it? I composed a response but you are correct, this is getting off topic for this post. I’ll limit myself to suggesting that perhaps the reason you seldom see this raised is because most people have no difficulty with it.

Richard Simons:

My favorite criticism of Darwinism is one I practically never see unless I raise it myself – the difficulties of co-evolution of total co-dependence of two different organisms.

What’s so difficult about it? I composed a response but you are correct, this is getting off topic for this post. I’ll limit myself to suggesting that perhaps the reason you seldom see this raised is because most people have no difficulty with it.

Larry has done us a favor by demonstrating that a) people who have had only a year of high school level biology, such as himself, are incapable of making legitimate criticisms of Evolutionary Biology, and b) he is a spectacular example of why we must continue striving to improve the science curriculum standards of this country, lest we be overwhelmed by a new generation of arrogant, pseudo-intellectual anti-intellectuals who regard themselves too intelligent to engage in actual learning of the subjects they criticize.

And of course, Larry refuses to explain why anyone should regard any of his alleged criticisms of “Darwinism” seriously, especially since his extent of Biology was with an extraordinarily incompetent high school teacher who a) failed miserably to explain that “Darwinism” is not the legitimate term for Evolutionary Biology, especially as it is known in the 20th and 21st centuries, and b), failed catastrophically to explain that “descent with modification” is the unifying principle in Modern Biology (and in Agriculture and Medicine).

Larry has done us a favor by demonstrating that a) people who have had only a year of high school level biology, such as himself, are incapable of making legitimate criticisms of Evolutionary Biology

I agree. The analogy I like to use is that in terms of time spent learning and practising the skills the difference between a high school biology student and someone starting their first independent research program is similar to that between a six-year-old playing on the street and someone playing in a national professional sporting league. Unfortunately, too many seem completely unaware of how lacking in skills and knowledge they are. What do they think students do between entering university and becoming fully-fledged scientists?

BTW, lest I be accused of arrogance, I would put myself about half way between the two groups as regards evolution.

ABC/Larry:

Stanton:

Larry has done us a favor by demonstrating that a) people who have had only a year of high school level biology, such as himself, are incapable of making legitimate criticisms of Evolutionary Biology,

I had two years of high school biology, counting one year of human physiology. I also had a year of high school chemistry. I was a science major in high school. In college I majored in mechanical engineering. I had a year of college chemistry and a year of college physics, and a lot of the engineering was science-related. Ed Brayton, a PT blogger, is not even a college graduate.

Stanton, you are just a big bag of hot air – you did not even make any attempt to counter my arguments.

The reasons why I haven’t bothered to counter your arguments include the fact that you raise the sort of arguments that are not raised by someone who actually cares to to take the time to understand Biology (such as Ed Brayton), the fact that you refuse to wrap your head around the fact that Evolutionary Biology has not been called “Darwinism” by biologists for well over 9 decades, as well as the fact that you have repeatedly refused to absorb any of the counterpoints made by the other PT regulars here, save to regurgitate some insulting little commentary, like you just did now with your latest comment.

And explain to me again why someone with a degree in Biology should give more weight to your judgments concerning Evolutionary Biology, even though you refuse to comprehend why “descent with modification” is the unifying principle in Biology (and Agriculture and Medicine)?

Thanks for moving that arrogant asshat to The Bathroom Wall. He really is a tiresome little prig, isn’t he?

I do not mind “tiresome little prigs” however that is not the reason Larry’s contributions were moved to a more suitable place.

Wolfhound:

Thanks for moving that arrogant asshat to The Bathroom Wall. He really is a tiresome little prig, isn’t he?

PvM, you pathetic dunghill, you are deleting my comments again. I told you that if you don’t like the name I am using, ABC/Larry, then tell me what name you want me to use and I will use it.

Have you ever considered the possibility that someday you may need some credibility that you won’t have because of your history of arbitrarily censoring comments?

I’m always kicking their butts – that’s why they don’t like me.

– Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

ABC/Larry,

Did you post answers to my “off-topic” questions on the Bathroom Wall? I checked once a few weeks ago but couldn’t find any.

Lurkers: I put “off-topic” in quotes because PT moderaters apparently do not mind questions that merely ask anti-evolutionists which of the mutually contradictory anti-evolution positions they favor. That can only help any discussion, which is why it would be off-topic on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” ID forum.

Larry, your comments aren’t being “arbitrarily censored”. They’re being deleted for a specific, stated reason: They’re your comments. You’re banned from the site because of a clear, persistent history of breaking site rules. What is arbitrary about that? Nothing. You’re not being asked to like it, and you’re not being asked to agree with it. You’re just being asked to go away. Go away.

ABC/Larry:

I’m always kicking their butts – that’s why they don’t like me.

– Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Yeah, you’re really kicking the collective butt of the scientific community. Does that explain why the Disco Institute and other ID-creationists have been so successful at using ID-creationist “science” to do things like make modern vaccines and antibiotics?

Oh, wait… that’s right, they DON’T make those medicines. Because ID-creationism isn’t science, unlike evolution, and won’t work in the lab. Too bad all these creationists can do is talk, talk, talk…

Next time you get deathly ill ABC/Larry, just stick to the 19th century medicine. At least then you’d be consistent in your worldview; otherwise, you’re nothing more than a smack-talking hypocrite.

Dear Larry,

This has nothing to do with the name you are using but all with you having violated the forum’s rules. I am also not deleting your comments but rather have moved them to the Bathroom Wall.

Nothing arbitrary about removing your comments Larry.

As far as my credibility is concerned, should not your own be your worries?

I will let your posting stand since I responded to it but any future postings will be moved to the bathroom wall.

People on this forum are well aware of the history Larry, no need to rewrite it.

Regards

PvM “Pathetic Dunghill”

ABC/Larry:

PvM, you pathetic dunghill, you are deleting my comments again. I told you that if you don’t like the name I am using, ABC/Larry, then tell me what name you want me to use and I will use it.

Have you ever considered the possibility that someday you may need some credibility that you won’t have because of your history of arbitrarily censoring comments?

I’m always kicking their butts – that’s why they don’t like me.

– Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Larry Whined:

I told you that if you don’t like the name I am using, ABC/Larry, then tell me what name you want me to use and I will use it.

How about “Larry the Lying Lunatic”? Short, sweet, and to the point.

Have you ever considered the possibility that someday you may need some credibility that you won’t have because of your history of arbitrarily censoring comments?

What delusions of grandure to think this site’s treatment of you would have any effect on its credibility one way or another. You really don’t understand how insignificant you are, do you?

Science Avenger:

ABC/Larry:

Have you ever considered the possibility that someday you may need some credibility that you won’t have because of your history of arbitrarily censoring comments?

What delusions of grandure to think this site’s treatment of you would have any effect on its credibility one way or another. You really don’t understand how insignificant you are, do you?

Larry refuses to understand that he demonstrates time and time again that he has no legitimate ability to make criticisms of Evolutionary Biology, or even to to begin with. Given as how he refuses to study in order to understand even the most rudimentary concepts of Evolutionary Biology (such as the fact that “descent with modification” is the unifying principle of Biology), it is highly unlikely that he will ever achieve legitimacy in this life time.

After all, what’s “legitimacy” to an argumentative troll like him?

Stanton — or the next one.

Newb question: where is the Bathroom Wall?

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This page contains a single entry by PvM published on February 13, 2008 3:31 AM.

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