BCSE critiques “Explore Evolution”

| 313 Comments

“Explore Evolution” is the latest shot in the ‘get ID creationism into the public schools’ strategy of the Discovery Institute. It’s a book aimed at home schoolers and public schools that purports to use an “inquiry-based” approach to teaching evolution. In fact what it does is use an “error-based” approach, one laden with strawman arguments and the usual creationist distortions and misrepresentations of the science. The National Center for Science Education has a detailed analysis of the trash that the book conveys to students.

Now the British Centre for Science Education has prepared a shorter pamphlet (pdf), based on the NCSE material, which is aimed mainly at British schools. An outfit named “Truth in Science” (what else?) sent the book to many schools in the UK, and BCSE is responding to that wallpapering of their schools with ID creationism.

Leaving aside the UK-specific material relevant to their national curriculum, pages 7-15 of the pamphlet (pdf) are a succinct and readable rebuttal of the glop in the book, and would be useful for anyone involved in this effort in the UK or elsewhere. It’s designed as a teacher resource and does a good job. Highly recommended.

Hat tip to NCSE on Facebook.

313 Comments

If there is one characteristic of ID/creationists that screams willful liars, it would be this constant repetition of misconceptions and misrepresentations for 40+ years despite repeated attempts by scientists to set these IDiots straight.

ID/creationists know they are lying; and they have known it form the beginning of their campaign back in the 1960s and 70s.

And now we see other fundamentalist and right wing organizations like Fox Noise and Glen Beck gleefully adopting the same shtick and applying it ruthlessly to the rubes that gobble up the crap they spew out.

Jon Stewart had it right on his program this evening; it’s what this country has become. Expecting that calm, rational presentations of facts will overcome such screaming hysteria might be too unrealistic. Demagogues who drive an ignorant populace into paralyzing paranoia have a strategic advantage as their followers cut their own throats while they sabotage every effort to fix things. All these demagogues have to do is pick through the chaos they create to get what they want while everything else goes to hell.

Here is the BCSE blog post with a bit more background and an open letter to UK school librarians.

http://bcseweb.org.uk/blog/explore-[…]ion-exposed/

psiloiordinary said:

Here is the BCSE blog post with a bit more background and an open letter to UK school librarians.

http://bcseweb.org.uk/blog/explore-[…]ion-exposed/

Shoot. Thanks. I read that post and thought I’d linked to it. Brain cramp, I guess.

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them. It always seems to me , and others that evolution believers have a spirit of censorship and advocate same. Schools are places for education including education on subjects of great public disagreement. Originally schools banned evolution etc and now they ban creationism(s). The schools should simply allow full investigation and discussion, in science or origin class, and let the merits of each case to its own fruit. I’m confident creationisms would always gain at he loss of evolution and company. I suspect evolutionists do too. So the strategy is a desperate attempt at censorship or general attack based other then on the merits. Seems that way from Canada.

actually, it’s a form of censorship when you swamp the debate by shouting established lies at people who don’t know any better, waiting until more rational forces go away or, preferably, edging them out entirely. it denies people their rightful opportunity of hearing both sides.

winning in the scientific arena, on the other hand, isn’t censorship. all it denies to those unqualified to judge is bad ideas, because both sides already got judged by the best available judge, which is the scientific process and community.

sorry it’s not an absolute arbiter, but only the best available integration of the sum of human knowledge. maybe next time god will include a few chapters on physical laws

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them. It always seems to me , and others that evolution believers have a spirit of censorship and advocate same. Schools are places for education including education on subjects of great public disagreement. Originally schools banned evolution etc and now they ban creationism(s). The schools should simply allow full investigation and discussion, in science or origin class, and let the merits of each case to its own fruit. I’m confident creationisms would always gain at he loss of evolution and company. I suspect evolutionists do too. So the strategy is a desperate attempt at censorship or general attack based other then on the merits. Seems that way from Canada.

Again, let me attempt to reach out to whatever remains human in you. The “hard” way.

Drop metaphorically dead, you creep, you. You and your “creationisms” are so twisted you cut your bread with corkscrews. Just stop these attempts at peeing in this pool you’re gatecrashing at for Jesus. If it’s hard not to keep on the tard, try buying a little shame instead (an pinch of sense, reason, or humility would kill you, after all).

You are simply disgusting.

Sincerely and with the deepest pity,

- t

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them. It always seems to me , and others that evolution believers have a spirit of censorship and advocate same.

You’ve shown many times that you don’t understand the concept of censorship. Censorship would be not allowing the book to be published; it is not censorship when one chooses not to buy it - even if one is a school district.

Look, there are many different textbooks published for each subject, each grade level. Schools have to choose which they think is the best. It’s not “censorship” if a school chooses beginning French text A instead of beginning French text B, and in the exact same way it is not censorship if they choose Prentice Hall’s “Biology” over the DI’s “Explore Evolution.”

Moreover, the the BCSE has every right to self-publish their review/opinion of Explore Evolution. To stop them from doing so - THAT would be censorship.

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them. It always seems to me , and others that evolution believers have a spirit of censorship and advocate same. Schools are places for education including education on subjects of great public disagreement. Originally schools banned evolution etc and now they ban creationism(s). The schools should simply allow full investigation and discussion, in science or origin class, and let the merits of each case to its own fruit. I’m confident creationisms would always gain at he loss of evolution and company. I suspect evolutionists do too. So the strategy is a desperate attempt at censorship or general attack based other then on the merits. Seems that way from Canada.

Bull semen. Schools do not ban creationism and you know it. It is perfectly fine to teach it, along with other myths, in comparative religion class. What you can’t do is lie and teach it as science in science class. You know this already so you are lying, that’s much worse than imagined censorship. By the way, we don’t teach astrology, basket weaving, ice cream making, voodoo, rock and roll music, tennis or football in science class either. Are they a victim of censorship? Schools already allow full investigation and discussion. What we have found is that creationism is crap, pure and simple. Deal with it you lying son of a woman.

DS said:

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them. It always seems to me , and others that evolution believers have a spirit of censorship and advocate same. Schools are places for education including education on subjects of great public disagreement. Originally schools banned evolution etc and now they ban creationism(s). The schools should simply allow full investigation and discussion, in science or origin class, and let the merits of each case to its own fruit. I’m confident creationisms would always gain at he loss of evolution and company. I suspect evolutionists do too. So the strategy is a desperate attempt at censorship or general attack based other then on the merits. Seems that way from Canada.

Bull semen. Schools do not ban creationism and you know it. It is perfectly fine to teach it, along with other myths, in comparative religion class. What you can’t do is lie and teach it as science in science class. You know this already so you are lying, that’s much worse than imagined censorship. By the way, we don’t teach astrology, basket weaving, ice cream making, voodoo, rock and roll music, tennis or football in science class either. Are they a victim of censorship? Schools already allow full investigation and discussion. What we have found is that creationism is crap, pure and simple. Deal with it you lying son of a woman.

DS, I think that last sentence was a really cheap shot - at women.

Keelyn wrote:

“DS, I think that last sentence was a really cheap shot - at women.”

Agreed. Sorry, it was just an assumption on my part. I could be wrong.

Robert Byers said:

I’m confident creationisms would always gain at he loss of evolution and company.

Robert, there is always the danger that that might happen, does it not bother you? Superstition triumphs over reason. People just like you, just as sure as you that their “creationism” is the only correct one, are in the ascendancy. How much tolerance do you think they would they show towards what they consider your heretical idea of creationism? (Hints: How much tolerance would you show towards theirs. See also Huguenots, Cathars, Crusades, etc,etc.)

The advocates of ID/creationism/whatever have plenty of opportunities to tell us what their “alternative” is to evolution. Yet they do not avail themselves of those opportunities, preferring to engage in self-censorship.

What is the theory of creationism?

The secular account of natural history is a bloody one. It is full of dead-end species and waste. Evolution, in the modern sense, consumes life upon life to allow the fittest to survive and adapt. It is wasteful. It is inefficient. It is “red in tooth and claw.”

Yes, Paul Nelson, but secular gravitational theory is also bloody and red in crushed bodies. Just look at what happened in Haiti.

Robert Byers said -

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them.

ID/creationists are the ones who endorse censorship and religious persecution.

In public schools (and the vast majority of private schools), it is true that classroom time should be devoted to the curriculum. Spending science class teaching legitimate science is not “censorship”. It is obviously the only possible way to have a science class.

Those who advocate teaching sectarian lies in public schools as “science”, with the objective of favoring one religious sect and persecuting and violating the legal rights of everyone who does not belong to that particular sect, endorse the most blatant policies of censorship* and propaganda, and vehemently oppose freedom of religious and conscience. (*Since there are dull people in the world, I will bother to clarify that teaching only one form of sectarian religious dogma as science is implicit censorship of both accurate science, and all other forms of sectarian religious dogma as well.)

To repeat, ID/creationists endorse censorship, propaganda, and religious persecution. Most scientists and science supporters reject these things, but ID/creationists support, and indeed, are devoted to them.

A number of schools in Northern Ireland have received the book.I’ve been told Methodist College in Belfast got a copy. The science department actually had a look at it, and deemed it unsuitable for use as a science textbook.

that evolution believers.,

Who are the evolution believers ?

I’m confident creationisms would always gain at he loss of evolution and company.

and what are creationisms ?

I suspect evolutionists do too,

and who are evolutionists ?

Never heard of any of them Robert.

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them.

Panda’s Thumb, a science blog allows you all the airtime you can fill, regardless of content or coherence.

Uncommon Descent, an ID blog, does not allow posts questioning ID.

You tell me who has something to hide.

Another review of ID material: Darwin’s Dilemma: I watched it so you don’t have to. by Jerry Coyne

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them. It always seems to me , and others that evolution believers have a spirit of censorship and advocate same.

UD much?

Back to the farm, Byers; I can hear your tardigrades mewing.

What hypocrisy indeed. Amidst their ample calls for decency and civility, blogs like UD and the DI’s and a few others merely give lip service to the notion of freedom of speech. Wonder how long it will take for Byers’s acutely intellecually-challenged mind that he has been granted far more “freedom of speech” than he might ever would at creationist websites such as UD:

stevaroni said:

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them.

Panda’s Thumb, a science blog allows you all the airtime you can fill, regardless of content or coherence.

Uncommon Descent, an ID blog, does not allow posts questioning ID.

You tell me who has something to hide.

stevaroni said:

Robert Byers said:

Its fine to contend with your critics but its not fine to censor them.

Panda’s Thumb, a science blog allows you all the airtime you can fill, regardless of content or coherence.

Uncommon Descent, an ID blog, does not allow posts questioning ID.

You tell me who has something to hide.

Isn’t Pharyngula considered a science blog?

I heard Kwokkers got the banhammer over there. Just saying.

Yes, Paul Nelson, but secular gravitational theory is also bloody and red in crushed bodies. Just look at what happened in Haiti.

It is worse than that. Haiti was the intersection of the godless Theory of Gravity and the atheistic Theory of Plate Tectonics.

Blame the physicists and the geologists.

Of course, this is the Fallacy of Argument from Consequences. You have to accept the world as it is, rather than the world as your fantasy wants it.

What is noteworthy about Paul Nelson’s so called arguments is how weak and easily shown to be wrong they are. Not a hint of science in them. You could outlaw all teaching of physics and geology and guess what? There would still be earthquakes and people would still get killed in them.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Karen S. quoting Paul Nelson:

The secular account of natural history is a bloody one. It is full of dead-end species and waste.

The xian account of history is far worse.

1. God puts two people in a paradise garden with a smart ass talking snake. They promptly screw up and get kicked out.

2. People cooperate to build a tower. God gives them different languages so they can’t communicate anymore.

3. People get it wrong again. God genocides all but 8 people and 99% of all known species.

4. God’s chosen people are slaves in Egypt for centuries.

5. God’s chosen people are given an OK but not great small patch of land. There are people living on it. God helps them genocide the Canaanites and take their land and stuff.

6. The chosen ones screw up some more. They are sent into exile in Babylon.

7. The Greek and Roman occupations and several revolts then ensue.

8. God will show up any day and kill 6.7 billion people and destroy the earth. This is considered a good thing.

The xian god never seems to be too competent, never gets anything right, and there always seems to be massive killing with piles of dead bodies and rivers of blood when he is around.

Not seeing that he is better than reality which is a 13.7 billion year old universe which is young and just getting started. While innumerable of our ancestors are extinct, they did leave lots of children. We call some of them humans and others the biosphere.

As Darwin pointed out, there is grandeur and wonder about the real world.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

I just find it ironic that a creationist claim that scientists censor conversation sparks one guy who was banned on another site to argue with others about why he was banned.

Yeah, clearly the scientists here at PT are into censorship. That is, if by “are into” you actually mean “oppose.”

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

So is the BCSE pamphlet getting distribution to all the schools that got Jack McBrayer’s Stephen Meyer’s crap in the first place? Just askin’.

And then, of course, I hadda go and misspell “Pharaoh”. Twice.

Hey Byers, why can’t God wrestle?

And why would nearly all the humans on Earth, having recently learned the very hard way (a flood, a blasted tower and magical language changing) completely give up belief in that obviously powerful god and start worshiping all those false gods in Egypt and all over the rest of the world?

Just Bob said:

Hey Byers, why can’t God wrestle?

I can’t believe that you haven’t talked to your pastor yet, or gone to some fundie website to find some cobbled-up rationalization for what the Bible REALLY means, when it says plainly that Jacob wrestled with God, God cheated by using magic to dislocate Jacob’s hip–and STILL couldn’t get out of Jacob’s grasp until He “said uncle” by blessing Jacob.

John Kwok said:

(Would you prefer if I said the Klingons did it?):

No. ;-}

Stanton said:

Robert Byers said:

I think the limestone here is post flood. Not from the biblical flood. The depth of the Med basin means nothing to me. I see the whole thing as carved out by the inrush of water and overflowing the banks. So laying a limestone over Northern Africa etc and digging up the present med sea. Biblical creationists like me need dry land everywhere on earth so as to quickly refill the earth with fauna/flora. Only later was the med sea created. In fact one needs a way to fossilize the creatures in Northern africa (which I see as a post flood )above k-p line) event. The limestone is from instant actions in some recipe.

So how do you plan to test your claim that the Mediterranean basin filled up after the Flood?

And how did fauna and flora return to the Earth in less than four thousand years? Common sense would suggest that a life-destroying flood of saltwater would prevent life from returning.

How did koalas make it from Mount Ararat to Australia in less than four thousand years? How did tree sloths make it to South America or i’iwi make it to Hawaii in less than four thousand years?

Since you brought it up. I wrote an essay some time back called “Post Flood Marsupial Migration Explained” by Robert Byers. Just google.

Koalas were not originally tree critters. They were like the sloths or bear sloths of today. Creatures who were land dwellers in great diversity and simply some types took to the trees. When events of extinction came the tree ones simply survived because of a more limited diet needs. Analogy also could be with tree kangaroos. if they alone survived a extinction that kiled off the ground ones one would be mistaken to define the kangaroo by just the living tree one. Miss the point entirely.

Dave Luckett said:

The Pharoah that Byers is babbling about is Akhenaten, a Pharoah of the eighteenth dynasty whose death is dated to 1334 BCE. You can’t get anything right, can you, Byers?

Well perhaps this date is wrong too. Its possible this is not the pharoah of abraham or Josephs time but it might be. The dates are so wrong in Egypt stuff that anythings possible.

I really do recommend googling Byers + Marsupial. I’m still laughing.

Gist (you won’t believe this): Marsupials are the same as placental mammals, except for fiddling details of bone structure and reproduction. Some of them are shaped like placental mammals, so that proves it.

So, no problemo. Koalas - which are bears, see, just like all the other bears, ‘cause they look a lot like bears - walked and swam to Australia. From Mt Ararat. And became marsupials because, because, um, well, look how much like bears they are.

Dave Luckett said:

I really do recommend googling Byers + Marsupial. I’m still laughing.

Gist (you won’t believe this): Marsupials are the same as placental mammals, except for fiddling details of bone structure and reproduction. Some of them are shaped like placental mammals, so that proves it.

So, no problemo. Koalas - which are bears, see, just like all the other bears, ‘cause they look a lot like bears - walked and swam to Australia. From Mt Ararat. And became marsupials because, because, um, well, look how much like bears they are.

They’re of the same “kind”?

Because if koalas can “micro”evolve from bears, then what prevents humans from micro-evolving from other mammals?

Robert Byers said:

Miss the point entirely.

Yes you did miss the point entirely.

You also demonstrate that you are an utter idiot, too.

TomS said:

Dave Luckett said:

I really do recommend googling Byers + Marsupial. I’m still laughing.

Gist (you won’t believe this): Marsupials are the same as placental mammals, except for fiddling details of bone structure and reproduction. Some of them are shaped like placental mammals, so that proves it.

So, no problemo. Koalas - which are bears, see, just like all the other bears, ‘cause they look a lot like bears - walked and swam to Australia. From Mt Ararat. And became marsupials because, because, um, well, look how much like bears they are.

They’re of the same “kind”?

Because if koalas can “micro”evolve from bears, then what prevents humans from micro-evolving from other mammals?

Because then that would contradict the Bible.

Robert Byers said: The dates are so wrong in Egypt stuff that anythings possible.

I’m surprised you say that, given that Egyptian records follow the biblical pattern of counting years since prior person (years of reign in the Egyptian case, vice biblical ‘begats’). I was under the impression you fundamentalists thought that was a very accurate system.

The major difference between the two is the presence of independent evidence in the Egyptian case. Stuff like radiocarbon dating and letters between the Egyptian Pharaohs and other rulers which help Egyptologists correct the timeline. No such corrections are possible in the biblical case as there appears to be no independent evidence the stated list of (early) begats ever existed.

eric said:

Robert Byers said: The dates are so wrong in Egypt stuff that anythings possible.

I’m surprised you say that, given that Egyptian records follow the biblical pattern of counting years since prior person (years of reign in the Egyptian case, vice biblical ‘begats’). I was under the impression you fundamentalists thought that was a very accurate system.

It’s wrong because it doesn’t match up with his bigoted interpretation of the Bible.

The major difference between the two is the presence of independent evidence in the Egyptian case. Stuff like radiocarbon dating and letters between the Egyptian Pharaohs and other rulers which help Egyptologists correct the timeline. No such corrections are possible in the biblical case as there appears to be no independent evidence the stated list of (early) begats ever existed.

Remember that we’re dealing with a grown man who willingly conflates the term “dislike” with “illegal” and who thinks that the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the teaching of science in science classrooms, while promoting the teaching of creationism, instead of science, in science classrooms.

Byers, you keep dodging my question. This must be the 5th thread now. WHY CAN’T GOD WRESTLE? Surely your pastor or some fundamentalist website can provide you with a made-up story to explain away the LITERAL story in Genesis, where God can’t get out of Jacob’s grasp, even by cheating with magic, until He “says uncle” by blessing Jacob.

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