Anti-evolution bill in Iowa

| 58 Comments

I am so incredibly tardy with this information that Arizonian John Lynch and the lovely folks at Uncommon Descent have already blogged this, but recently an “academic freedom” bill was introduced in Iowa. For those who may be unfamiliar, in addition to “teach the controversy,” these “academic freedom” bills are one of the new tactics for creationists who want to introduce creationism into science classrooms via the back door by claiming that teachers need the protection to teach “the full range of scientific views” when it comes to evolution (in other words, to teach creationism/ID). The bill states that:

It is therefore the intent of the general assembly that this Act be construed to expressly protect the affirmative right and freedom of every instructor at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution.

As John notes, we’ve circulated a petition showing opposition to the bill (this was covered Wednesday in The Chronicle of Higher Education), and the latest word is that the bill is unlikely to get anywhere. (Fellow blogger John Logsdon had a few choice quotes in the article).

This is the first anti-evolution bill in Iowa in roughly a decade, and according to Glenn Branch at the NCSE (quoted in The Chronicle article), the first state-wide effort by college faculty to organize opposition to these bills. So far, similar bills died in Mississippi and Oklahoma, were signed into law in Louisiana, and are still pending here in Iowa and in Missouri, Alabama, and New Mexico. Expect to see more of these in the future.

Finally, if you’re an Iowan and you’re not on the Iowa Citizens for Science email list yet, drop me a line (Iowascience at gmail dot com).

58 Comments

Tara,

Have the other Iowans (scientists and clergy) associated with the Clergy Letter Project been notified? I definitely recommend emailing Michael Zimmerman if you haven’t done so already. Always nice to get the local pastors, priests, and rabbis on your side in addition to the scientists. Good luck, I hope this one dies in committee!

“Full range of scientific views”, huh.

Well that pretty much rules out ID right there, doesn’t it? According to good ol’ boy Judge Jones it does, anyway.

What are they going to do, weigh natural selection vs. sexual selection vs. genetic drift, gradualism vs punk eek… in high school? As if. What do they get, like somewhere between 2 hours and 2 weeks on the subject?

Is this bill purely restricted to evolution or should moonlanding hoaxers, Bishop Williams and friends and ufologists all move to Iowa?

Not to mention conspiracy people like me who believe that GWB had adequate warning of an attack on NY in Sept 01, but decided to do nothing (except read My Pet Goat). Praps something’ll come out about that in the Congress hearings on himself. Doubt it tho’.

novparl said:

Not to mention conspiracy people like me who believe that GWB had adequate warning of an attack on NY in Sept 01, but decided to do nothing (except read My Pet Goat). Praps something’ll come out about that in the Congress hearings on himself. Doubt it tho’.

Combining this comment with your previous comments on evolution here, I think I can diagnose a sign error somewhere in your evidence filters. Perhaps you should get them looked at.

fnxtr said:

“Full range of scientific views”, huh.

Well that pretty much rules out ID right there, doesn’t it? According to good ol’ boy Judge Jones it does, anyway.

What are they going to do, weigh natural selection vs. sexual selection vs. genetic drift, gradualism vs punk eek… in high school? As if. What do they get, like somewhere between 2 hours and 2 weeks on the subject?

There might be a rare teacher who will take that as an opportunity to discuss the real scientific controversies, but as you know, many more teachers, whether or not they are aware that the specific wording comes from a relentless anti-evolution activist organization, will use it as an excuse to peddle the standard misconceptions about evolution. From which no one can reasonably doubt that most students will infer that the origin myth (usually YEC, sometimes OEC) that they heard before is validated by the “weaknesses” of evolution that the teacher will dwell on - probably at the expense of some other important lesson in biology.

But since you mention “2 hours and 2 weeks” I’ll take this opportunity to note what I think is the most outrageous component of anti-evolution activism. The activists already have all the freedom they want to peddle their pseudoscience to those students for ~99.9% of their waking hours. But that’s not enough for them!

What legitimately controversial claims in any science are within the grasp of K-12 students – or even most K-12 science teachers? And at what level of detail? As an example, when I was in primary school, the Big Bang and Steady State theories were still roughly equal contenders. I recall a black-and-white illustration in my science book of an expanding “balloon” universe and a flat universe. The explanation was about two sentences long: there are two theories, one that the universe as we know it came into being in a fast, cataclysmic explosion and that we’re still expanding, and the other that the universe always was the way it now is, and that scientists are divided on the question. Fair enough, that took five minutes. And it wasn’t on the test. At the level of understanding appropriate for K-12, most geniune scientific controversies aren’t teachable beyond what I learned decades ago about about cosmology in 6th grade. Maybe it’s worth doing, maybe not, but nobody backing these bills has any interest in real scientific controversy.

CJ Colucci,

Evolution is in a different sort of controversy compared to cosmology. While the Big Bang is the current explanation for the universe as we see it now, expansion, and other topics continue to puzzle us. In that sense the Big Bang physicists talk about and the Big Bang appropriated by cranks like creationists are two different things. for instance the cyclic events proposed by Neil Turok and Paul Steinhardt are mainstream science and no one is calling for their dismissal from their respective universities, simply because their work is scientific, even if some may choose to read a non-scientific roots (Hindu/Buddhist/Jain) into their theory. Evolution too is full of scientific controversy. One only needs to leave the genetic drifters, evo-devos, adapatationists, endosymbionts in one room for a few minutes before you have to call 911 to restore order. So we must be clear what kind of controversy we are talking about.

The NCSE does a great job tracking this nonsense. Don’t fret Iowa you’re not the only one.

http://ncseweb.org/

Scroll through the “Latest News” pages to see othe examples.

So we must be clear what kind of controversy we are talking about.

The problem, of course, is that the people who push these “academic freedom” bills have no such intent.

Their entire objective is to conflate the mind-numbing minutia of the investigation into exactly how evolution works with global doubt that it works at all.

It’s like arguing that you should have to go into the intricacies of the debate over unified field theories before you can tell physics students the speed of light is about 300,000,000 m/s

CJ your point is well taken. I teach science in Texas (keep you comments to yourselves, I know I should move), and our State Board President proposed the following standard.

“Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.”

Somehow it passed and will survive until the final reading of the new standards in March. My questions are:

1. What the hell is he talking about? 2. How the hell am I supposed to develop a lesson for it? 3. Does he realize that I have two weeks in which I am specifically supoosed to talk about evolution? 4. Who the hell elected this idiot?

Like you said I’m a simple science teacher. I had to read some Gould and I’m still not sure that I understand the subtleties of punctuated equilibrium and evolutionary stasis. I do know that if I don’t understand it my kids sure as hell won’t.

Is there somewhere online where we can get details about the petition? What it exactly says, who signed it, …?

Dave,

DNFTT!

I believe it is time to develop a general “teach the controversy” course/curriculum from the scientific prespective; this would discuss the failings and flaws in creationist arguments (and perhaps illustrate to the theocratic that a scientific analysis of religious dogma rarely reinforces religious belief.)

Frank J said:

There might be a rare teacher who will take that as an opportunity to discuss the real scientific controversies, but as you know, many more teachers, whether or not they are aware that the specific wording comes from a relentless anti-evolution activist organization, will use it as an excuse to peddle the standard misconceptions about evolution. From which no one can reasonably doubt that most students will infer that the origin myth (usually YEC, sometimes OEC) that they heard before is validated by the “weaknesses” of evolution that the teacher will dwell on - probably at the expense of some other important lesson in biology.

But since you mention “2 hours and 2 weeks” I’ll take this opportunity to note what I think is the most outrageous component of anti-evolution activism. The activists already have all the freedom they want to peddle their pseudoscience to those students for ~99.9% of their waking hours. But that’s not enough for them!

And this sets up a more difficult environment in which teachers attempting to teach legitimate science have to work.

It is difficult enough to teach concepts clearly to students who come into class with whole sets of misconceptions already in place. If you then add to this the slick, deliberately tailored misconceptions assembled by the ID/Creationists, the job becomes much more difficult.

Over the many years I have thought about these kinds of issues and have attempted to develop simplified explanations that will help orient students and laypersons in the right direction, I am still working on it feeling unsatisfied and a bit hollow.

Any simplification one can offer will be criticized by colleagues who know the details, and can set off a chain of quibbling among colleagues. And that looks bad to the audience who begins to think that the experts really are in profound disagreement.

Yet the most important lesson for a teacher to learn is to control the ego and avoid over explaining too soon. This is a very difficult line to walk, and it changes with different groups of students.

The additional catch 22 that gets injected with these “academic freedom” and “teach the controversy” bills are all the erroneous concepts that get added and now have to be dealt with.

As we just recently saw on another thread here on PT, if a pseudo-scientific concept gets nailed, the pseudo-scientist will immediately “up the ante” by injecting “advanced” jargon, real or fake, and proceed to try to trump the teacher by showing he is smarter.

But now the teacher is in a pinch. If he/she knows the advanced jargon well and can answer the challenge, he/she looses the students or audience. If he/she attempts to keep the conceptual level appropriate for the audience, the pseudo-scientist can appear to be more knowledgeable and seem to be making a fool of the teacher.

@ Mikey. Don’t they speak English in Texas? Habla Usted espanyol?

It means explain the gaps in the fossil record.

When I first learned of this bill, I immediately contacted my state representative who happens to be on the Education Committee (Eric Palmer-D, Oskaloosa, Iowa). I have known him for several years through social and formal interactions and is very sympathetic to reality. He directed my email to the chair of the committee, Roger Wendt. On Darwin Day, Wendt left me a phone message that basically said that this bill (house file, actually) will not see the light of day in his committee this year. I have yet to thank him. The bill was introduced by a Republican considering a run for governor in a couple of years.

The Iowa Secularists are also very aware of this bill.

The wording is very similar to that of the Kansas (anti-)science standards promogulated in ‘04 or ‘05. I suspect the Discovery Institute stands behind this bill, the Evolution Academic Freedom Act indeed.

It means explain the gaps in the fossil record.

You go first. Explain the thousands of fossils we have, not those we don’t.

Then tell me which “gap” still exists that you find significant.

Then maybe we’ll listen to your manufactroversy.

But seriously. How much information do you actually have of your history?

Does the absence of any surviving record between your great-grandmother’s birth certificate and her wedding picture lead you to believe there’s a real question as to whether or not she had a childhood?

How many data points do we need before you admit that a line exists, where, though the exact shape might not be known, it lies approximately between the known samples?

“Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.”

That’s easy. The theory of evolution, including common ancestry, is completely sufficient to explain the appearance and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record. All you have to do is teach standard evolutionary theory. There is no scientific alternative, let alone one with more predictive and explanatory power.

Is says evaluate the sufficiency OR insufficientcy. Obviously you are supposed to choose beween the two alternatives. In that case the choice is obvious. Only the most feeble minded charlatan would attempt use this as justification to illegally preach religious doctrines in a public school science class. Of course if they were foolish enough to do that they would immediately be sued and they would lose.

novparl

I guess I didn’t realize that “sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups” means “gaps”. I must have missed that last time I checked Webster’s. And since common ancestry is abundantly sufficient for explaining phenomena in the fossil record the standard seemed a bit confusing.

Y yo hablo Espanol (no Espanyol) y Ingles suficientemente.

JimNorth said:

When I first learned of this bill, I immediately contacted my state representative who happens to be on the Education Committee (Eric Palmer-D, Oskaloosa, Iowa). I have known him for several years through social and formal interactions and is very sympathetic to reality. He directed my email to the chair of the committee, Roger Wendt. On Darwin Day, Wendt left me a phone message that basically said that this bill (house file, actually) will not see the light of day in his committee this year. I have yet to thank him. The bill was introduced by a Republican considering a run for governor in a couple of years.

The Iowa Secularists are also very aware of this bill.

The wording is very similar to that of the Kansas (anti-)science standards promogulated in ‘04 or ‘05. I suspect the Discovery Institute stands behind this bill, the Evolution Academic Freedom Act indeed.

That’s a good piece of information to know.

These kinds of bills typically die in committee here in our state as well. But I also know some of the people behind these bills. Even thought term limits have taken them out of the legislature, they are actively working to place themselves on the gubernatorial ticket in the next election.

As an independent voter, I could often find both good Republicans and good Democrats to vote for in various elections over the years. However, in the last 12 years or so, it seems like the Republican Party has been taken over by some of the most childish ideologues I have ever seen; mostly from the “Reformed” kinds of churches in our area. They seem to believe they own the party. And some of them have lots of money from their businesses.

However, in the last few months since the Presidential election, these idiots appear to be falling out of favor. But at the moment there is no clear indication of what will replace them.

stevaroni said:

How many data points do we need before you admit that a line exists, where, though the exact shape might not be known, it lies approximately between the known samples?

Consider a video of, say, the morphing of a line of descent between a four-footed proto-whale through the branches of the descent tree to a modern dolphin. The video morphs 1% of the complete transition every 3 seconds – 300 seconds, five minutes total … it would change so slowly as to be a bore to watch, changing at a barely perceptible rate. Take a single still frame every 15 seconds (5% change) and arrange them in chronological order – 20 frames total. If we saw that there would be almost no point to watch the boring video – it would have absolutely no surprises.

This is roughly what the fossil record gives us for the understanding of whale evolution. And somebody wants to say: “YOU DON’T KNOW NUTTIN!” – ? Yah you betcha.

novparl said:

It means explain the gaps in the fossil record.

Chez Watt winner — 3 June 2005

“This guy’s just moved in next door. I believe he is an alien, and arrived on earth fully formed about a week ago. He insists this is untrue, and that he developed from a single cell into his present state. I found this a little hard to swallow, so I asked him to prove it. He showed me a biology textbook, and also half a dozen pictures showing a person not dissimilar to himself in various stages of development. I asked him if he could supply transitionals to fill in the gaps. He found a couple more pictures. I asked him if he could supply transitionals to fill in the gaps. He couldn’t. I have examined him minutely over the past week, and can find no evidence that he is changing NOW. He was completely unable to demonstrate to my satisfaction any evidence to support his proposition. So I shot him.”

Dan said:

So I shot him.

This somewhat trumps my “morphing video” story. I hadn’t heard about Chez Watt but quickly ended up at Talk.Origins to inspect the lot … some are good.

I recalled hanging around on T.O for a time and concluding it wasn’t my cup of tea. On revisiting I recalled why: if you took away the bickering on PT there would be a fair amount left. If you took it away on T.O it would disappear. Not that I’m criticizing, there is a place for having it out. But if I had a sincere person who had honest doubts about evo science and needed to be reassured I wouldn’t send them to T.O unless they were 100% flameproof.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

You don’t send “newbies” to the T.O. discussion pages or groups, you send them to the archive of articles and information. An invaluable treasure trove, that site. I eagerly await the time when it will be update-able again.

Also, that alien analogy is aces.

Wheels said:

You don’t send “newbies” to the T.O. discussion pages or groups, you send them to the archive of articles and information.

Yah, now that you mention it I recall finding some nice stuff in the T.O archives while surfing in general. But if somebody wanted to ask questions, T.O would not be a great choice unless they were the sort of folks for whom shouting matches were the normal means of communications. I do know people like this.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Novparl wrote:

“It means explain the gaps in the fossil record.”

No it doesn’t. But even if it did that is easy. Every single gap in the fossil is a fossil that has not yet been discovered. Now if you want to predict which fossils will never be discovered you go right ahead. As I recall, that didn’t work out too well for horses, whales, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, etc.

Of course, if you choose that route you will be reduced to standing on the sidelines picking nits while real scientists do all of the work. Now why would anyone want to do that?

DS said:

Novparl wrote:

“It means explain the gaps in the fossil record.”

Now if you want to predict which fossils will never be discovered you go right ahead.

Crocoducks?

These “academic freedom” bills are one the greatest deceptions. It tries to convince those who do not understand science that it is okay to present their religious views as science. The bill is place under the disguise as freedom of speech, but is an attempt to place religion in the public sphere. This is illegal, and the bill will not past a constitutional challenge.

DS said:

Of course, if you choose that route [of predicting what gaps in the fossil record will never be found] you will be reduced to standing on the sidelines picking nits while real scientists do all of the work. Now why would anyone want to do that?

Because evolution-deniers like nonpareil Novparl have a violent aversion to doing or even learning science.

DFW writes…

Crocoducks?

OK, it may be a smartass comment, but David does illustrate an important point.

I can’t tell you how often I hear the creobot complaint that evolution is a just-so story and it can be stretched to fit any set of facts.

That is, evolution cannot be falsified.

This is clearly not the case. Here David instantly, almost reflexivity, is able to answer the question with an example that, if it were true, would completely falsify evolution.

If evolution is true, then we do expect to never find a crocoduck. That is, there should never be a de-novo creature that is truly without ancestors. Find just one, and it breaks the theory.

Evolution can answer those awkward questions involving all that pesky “evidence” stuff. Easily.

“Poofism”… not so much.

stevaroni said:

If evolution is true, then we do expect to never find a crocoduck. That is, there should never be a de-novo creature that is truly without ancestors. Find just one, and it breaks the theory.

Wow, you just set a legitmate research agenda for the DI, ICR, or AiG! Who will be the first taker??????

KP said:

Wow, you just set a legitimate research agenda for the DI, ICR, or AiG! Who will be the first taker??????

That was my 2nd typo of the day…

However, I am chuckling at the mental video of Dembski, Behe, and Luskin together on an expedition to somewhere extremely remote, like where Tiktaalik was found, trying to unearth a crocoduck or some other bizarre creature they’ve imagined.

If evolution is true, then we do expect to never find a crocoduck. That is, there should never be a de-novo creature that is truly without ancestors. Find just one, and it breaks the theory.

Would it? One composite creature of that sort would prove that exceptions exist, but would it prove that the theory doesn’t apply in areas where it hadn’t been shown to be wrong? (Granted, each such exception would further reduce the area to which the theory could be safely applied. Not that this seems at all likely after 150 or so years of people searching for exceptions.)

Henry

Mikey said:

CJ your point is well taken. I teach science in Texas (keep you comments to yourselves, I know I should move), and our State Board President proposed the following standard.

“Analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency of common ancestry to explain the sudden appearance, stasis and sequential nature of groups in the fossil record.”

Somehow it passed and will survive until the final reading of the new standards in March. My questions are:

1. What the hell is he talking about? 2. How the hell am I supposed to develop a lesson for it? 3. Does he realize that I have two weeks in which I am specifically supoosed to talk about evolution? 4. Who the hell elected this idiot?

Like you said I’m a simple science teacher. I had to read some Gould and I’m still not sure that I understand the subtleties of punctuated equilibrium and evolutionary stasis. I do know that if I don’t understand it my kids sure as hell won’t.

I taught chemistry, but I’m not an expert in educational methods, especially for fields other than mine, so if anything I say for #2 is impractical (I suspect most is) let me know. To answer your questions in reverse:

4. I think you mean Don McLeroy, whom I think was appointed by the Governor. In which case you’d have to rephrase the question for the latter.

3. Undoubtedly, so the only way to sneak in his extra lessons is to leave out something important.

2. That common descent and “abrupt appearance” are mentioned (the DI would not dare do that) makes this especially interesting. Watering it down of course, you could say how there are many ways to falsify “macroevolution” but curiously no one has ever done it. Note, I’m not so sure that CD (via “saltation?) would not still be the simplest explanation even if “macroevolution” were falsified.

Dramatic evidence for CD is “plagiarized errors”. This too might require considerable “watering down,” especially if students haven’t had Chemistry yet.

As for “sudden appearance,” as you probably know, there are examples (some in “Finding Darwin’s God”) of directly observed morphological changes that are 1000s of times faster that would appear “instantaneous” in the fossil record.

Far more important, though, is not to take the bait and let the scam artists get away with pretending that the alternative to CD is “I don’t know” (which can never lose). The alternative to CD is “independent abiogenesis of lineages.” Which brings up all sorts of what when and how questions that anti-evolutionists increasingly avoid. Let students know in no uncertain terms that no scientist has ever tested that alternative on its own merits, but only implied it based on deliberately selected “weaknesses” of “macroevolution.” Maybe some have tested it and the tests failed miserably, but most likely, because funding is tight, they just avoid running tests that they know will fail.

1. He is talking about misleading students, which is his only goal. If this is indeed McLeroy, he has already admitted in so many words as being in on the scam. He even used the phrase “big tent” and recommended that crucial mutual contradictions between various alternatives (particularly the radically contradicting chronology of YEC and OEC) be avoided. Imagine that, avoid the only parts of YEC and OEC that could conceivably make it scientific, the testable whats (e.g. “kinds”) and whens.

KP Wrote:

Wow, you just set a legitmate research agenda for the DI, ICR, or AiG! Who will be the first taker??????

If any anti-evolution group would dare to try, IMO it most likely would be RTB (Hugh Ross’ OEC outfit) and least likely would be the “don’t ask, don’t tell” DI. The DI doesn’t rule out common descent anyway, but even if it did, its main mission is to not call any attention to any weaknesses in the mutually contradictory creationist accounts.

The DI doesn’t rule out common descent anyway, but even if it did, its main mission is to not call any attention to any weaknesses in the mutually contradictory creationist accounts.

Well, that should be easy - if they simply refrain from ever saying anything, then they’ll never call attention to anything, either. Problem solved! :)

Henry

Henry J Wrote:

Well, that should be easy - if they simply refrain from ever saying anything, then they’ll never call attention to anything, either. Problem solved! :)

As you know they have conned most people into not noticing that they only call attention to what they think is wrong with “Darwinism” and not to what might be valid about any potential alternative. Unfortunately the sound bites against “Darwinism”, however misleading, are easy to parrot, while the technical refutations are confusing to most people. So here’s a non-technical refutation that anyone can understand: The ID scam artists know that there’s no viable alternative, and that’s why they use every trick in the book to keep the debate about “Darwinism”.

@ Mikey. Gaps?

Try brains. DS: No fair! Brains don’t fossilize. So we can make up any story we like.

Or eyes. Or blood circulation.

Don Mikey - Bueno. Pues la lengua no se escribe “Espanol” ni “espanyol”, pero “español”. (Alt + 164!)

Stanton-the-great-scientist: Did you even read the 1st sentence of the article you recommended? Yes or no. Please.

novparl said:

@ Mikey. Gaps?

Evolution-deniers like your self complain about the gaps in the fossil record. The problem is that evolution-deniers are not aware that the scientists who study the fossil record are also aware of these same gaps, but, are still able to discern a great deal of information from what evidence they do have. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that the evolution-deniers have no intention of doing any science to begin with.

Try brains. DS: No fair! Brains don’t fossilize. So we can make up any story we like.

Brains don’t fossilize, but, be aware that scientists are still able to study the insides of skulls, which tend to give an accurate estimate of the brains they once contained.

Be also aware that scientists are free to make up any explanation they like, provided the explanation is capable of best explaining the evidence on which it is based on. In other words, scientists have to support whatever claim they make, as opposed to evolution-deniers who whine about being asked to support whatever bullshit they spout.

Or eyes. Or blood circulation.

Please explain why you say that eyes don’t fossilize when we have found fossilized eyes of placoderms.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]01193317.htm

Stanton-the-great-scientist: Did you even read the 1st sentence of the article you recommended? Yes or no. Please.

Tell us why we must discuss topics that you have no intention of learning about with you? Tell us why your malicious ignorance gives you an advantage. Why is a hypothesis not worthy of your approval when you don’t intend on telling us how your moronic question of “which evolved first, the sperm or the egg?” can be answered by Intelligent Design? In fact, weren’t you asked to demonstrate how Intelligent Design is superior by intelligently designing a living organism out of dust?

novparl said:

@ Mikey. Gaps?

Try brains. DS: No fair! Brains don’t fossilize. So we can make up any story we like.

No they generally don’t, but skulls do, and as a general rule the brain fills the cavity, though clearly there must be exceptions.

Novparl,

First, I don’t recall ever having made any comments at all regarding brains. Are you trying to claim that there is no evidence for the evolution of brains in the fossil record?

Second, is it your contention that nothing can be learned about brains by studying skulls? Is it your contention that skulls don’t fossilize?

Third, have you read the John Maynard Smith book yet? Have you read any of the articles I recommended yet? Have your even read the article that I provided a free link to yet? If not, then quit whining about Stanton. Are you willing to admit that there is a good evolutionary explanation for the origin of anisogamy yet? Remaining ignorant of all of modern evolutionary theory might work for you, but don’t assume that anyone else will be satisfied with fairy tales and myths. Ignorance may be bliss, but willful ignorance is just plain stupid.

Nov writes… @ Mikey. Gaps?

Try brains. DS: No fair! Brains don’t fossilize. So we can make up any story we like.

Or eyes. Or blood circulation.

Don Mikey - Bueno. Pues la lengua no se escribe “Espanol” ni “espanyol”, pero “español”. (Alt + 164!)

Stanton-the-great-scientist: Did you even read the 1st sentence of the article you recommended? Yes or no. Please.

This is what’s wrong with “teach the controversy”.

Nov’s claims will soon enough be methodically falsified, as they always are, by various and sundry posters who will point-by-point refute his ramblings with actual evidence, but that doesn’t matter.

All Nov and his ilk really want is to stand on his soapbox in front of some kids and wave their arms rant that all of science is wrong, and you can’t trust any of this.

Doesn’t matter that their argument isn’t worth a crap, and this has been demonstrated over, and over and over.

That’s their idea of “controversy” and that’s what they want to teach, and that’s the problem.

novparl said:

Or eyes. Or blood circulation.

Oh, and please explain why you made this claim even though scientists found the fossilized heart of a dinosaur in South Dakota in 2000?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/720871.stm

novparl said:

@ Mikey. Gaps?

Try brains. DS: No fair! Brains don’t fossilize. So we can make up any story we like.

BTW, did you try looking at this article here, Novparl?

http://www.sciencedaily.com/release[…]02183128.htm

It just so happens that scientists have discovered the fossilized brain of a prehistoric cartilaginous fish from 300 million years ago in Kansas.

So, one is forced to ask if you are a pathological liar, or if you are simply happy having an intellect so deficient so as to make a nonpareil look witty and urbane by comparison.

stevaroni Wrote:

This is what’s wrong with “teach the controversy”.

Nov’s claims will soon enough be methodically falsified, as they always are, by various and sundry posters who will point-by-point refute his ramblings with actual evidence, but that doesn’t matter.

Unless the anti-evolution activists specifically and unequivocally demand that the classroom time devoted to evolution and potential alternatives be greatly increased, and that those point-by-point refutations be included as part of the “critical analysis” - and to my knowledge, none have - they are essentially admitting that they are the ones advocating censorship.

To paraphrase what I think you are saying, even if they were right, the incredulity arguments of everyone from drive-bys like Novparl to career activists like Behe and Dembski would support nothing more than “I don’t know.” Certainly not any of the mutually contradictory - and long-falsified - alternatives that most “teach the controversy” advocates (activists and rank-and-file) desperately want students to believe.

Mikey,

If you’re still reading, you may have noticed Mike Elzinga’s comment of 2/27/09, 6:50, which is what I had in mind by thinking that some of the recommendations might be impractical.

Mike Elzinga,

What you said might help decide if someone advocating “teach the controversy” is just being scammed or in on the scam. Anyone without an extremist agenda to “save” the students from “evil Darwinists” should be able to acknowledge the problems with second-guessing mainstream science in terms of what should be taught, when, and in what order. Especially when those activists are already free to peddle that propaganda for ~99.9% of the students’ time.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was scammed in the ’90s, and it was only my obsessive interest in the issue that made me see what a scam it is. Even most scientists and science teachers do not have the interest. And I don’t think that charges of “sneaking in God,” however accurate that may be, will generate the interest.

Frank J said:

Mikey,

If you’re still reading, you may have noticed Mike Elzinga’s comment of 2/27/09, 6:50, which is what I had in mind by thinking that some of the recommendations might be impractical.

Mike Elzinga,

What you said might help decide if someone advocating “teach the controversy” is just being scammed or in on the scam. Anyone without an extremist agenda to “save” the students from “evil Darwinists” should be able to acknowledge the problems with second-guessing mainstream science in terms of what should be taught, when, and in what order. Especially when those activists are already free to peddle that propaganda for ~99.9% of the students’ time.

I’ll be the first to admit that I was scammed in the ’90s, and it was only my obsessive interest in the issue that made me see what a scam it is. Even most scientists and science teachers do not have the interest. And I don’t think that charges of “sneaking in God,” however accurate that may be, will generate the interest.

One of the most important acts that the scientific community can do for the teachers is to welcome them into the professional fold and acknowledge their extremely important role in producing future scientists.

Many professional organizations are beginning to catch on and are starting to recognize the importance of connecting with the teachers in the public schools.

The other side of this is to encourage teachers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the wider scientific community. This takes time and money, which few teachers have.

The additional issue from the public schools is offering support to the teachers for this kind of activity, and recognizing its importance for professional development.

Too often teachers are forced by their administrators into the most inane sets of activities in order to satisfy professional development requirements, but are not give credit for their contacts and interactions with the wider scientific community.

@ Stanton (Queen of mean) - no, I haven’t looked up the link as you don’t look them up yourself. E.g. anisogamy, e.g. Evo of sex repro.

P.s. have you looked up “nonpareil”?

@ DS - as you believe that Wikipedia is some sort of bizarre conspiracy, it makes it even more difficult to argue with your shameless lies.

Yet another unanswerable question - the trilobites. Like Cotton-eyed Joe - where did they come from, where did they go?

Survival of the fittest - who’ll be the fittest to survive climate change?

Tell us why you are so hesitant to posit alternative explanations, Novparl?

Tell us what Intelligent Design says about the origins of sexual reproductions or the origins of trilobites.

Oh, wait, you can’t.

Part of the reason is because Intelligent Design was never meant to present alternative explanations.

novparl said:

P.s. have you looked up “nonpareil”?

http://www.osheascandies.com/shop/i[…]sp?itemid=12

novparl said:

Yet another unanswerable question - the trilobites. Like Cotton-eyed Joe - where did they come from, where did they go?

According to current evidence, they came from trilobitomorphs and went to extinction.

Of course current evidence might be wrong, so the question has not been definitively answered. But that doesn’t mean it’s unanswerable.

novparl wrote:

“@ DS - as you believe that Wikipedia is some sort of bizarre conspiracy, it makes it even more difficult to argue with your shameless lies.”

Please state exactly where I claimed that Wikipedia was a “bizarre conspiracy”. I never claimed that. All I claimed was that Wikipedia is not an authoratative scientifiic source. Do you disagree? Anyway you refuse to read even the Wikipedia article, so why does it matter?

Please state exactly which statement I made that you consider a “shameless lie”. Was it the fact that I recommended several references that you demanded about the evolution of anisogamy and then refused to read? Was it when you claimed that brain evolution could not be studied because brains don’t fossilize and I pointed out that that was nonsense? Simply labeling responses as “lies” without ever refuting them, (or even responding to them), is not a valid argument you know, if you think that it is then you are just lying.

So, looks like the only liar here is you. Give it up already., Everyone can see that you are just peddling off-topic nonsense. Insulting people in order to get a reaction does not qualify as rational discourse. Please go away and this time don’t bother coming back until you have read those references. Oh, and changing the subject to brains or trilobites isn’t going to work either. Evolutionary theory provides at least tentative answers to all of your questions. Of course, if you choose to remain ignoarnt of the answers, that only reflects poorly on you, not on evolutionary theory.

Dan.

Thanks for the link. As Stanton has already pointed out, Wikipedia can be a convenient starting point in the investigation of many questions. In this case, it provides a good overview of the trilobites. The article also contains 36 references from the scientific literature. Now if anyone was actually interested in the answers to such questions as how did the trilobites arise or why did they go extinct, it would seem that this would be a very good place to start. Of course just reading the article would prove useful, but if you really wanted good answers, or if you had to write a paper using scientific references, the primary literature is the place to go. Now why on earth would anyone be reluctant to do so?

Thanks to all for their good wishes.

See you on another thread.

novparl said:

Thanks to all for their good wishes.

See you on another thread.

A demonstration that novparl doesn’t know the difference between opinions (like “good wishes”) and facts (like the history of trilobites).

novparl said:

Thanks to all for their good wishes.

See you on another thread.

Please note novparl’s use of insincerity in a pitiful attempt to cover up the fact that all his objections are illogical.

Moving to yet another thread won’t make any of the inconvenient facts go away novparl. Nor will it do anything to address your misconceptions and ignorance. We’ll all be right there to ask if you have read those references yet, no matter what thread you run away to.

Is it just me, or does this guy remind anybody else of another troll who incessantly demanded references, refused to read them and then claimed that everyone else was lying? Of course it couldn’t be the same guy. We were assured that that problem was taken care of. Oh well, maybe he just has the same disease.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on February 26, 2009 10:48 PM.

Creationists and Stage Magic: A Nice Analogy was the previous entry in this blog.

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