Ohio: Here we go again

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Ohio is in the process of considering the Common Core standards to guide public education in a range of disciplines from English language arts to math and science. Ohio’s State Board of Education adopted the Common Core in June of 2010, and local districts have been creating curriculum materials under the Common Core for implementation this year. Now two state legislators, Republican Andy Thompson of Medina and Republican Matt Huffman of Lima have filed a bill, House Bill 597, that would abandon the Common Core and eviscerate those curricula, wasting the work of hundreds of Ohio educators. House Bill 597 also contains a deadly form of anti-science propaganda. It is a lovely example of right wing ignorance of science.

I am not here interested in the general question of whether the Common Core is a good thing for public education, and comments that address that question will be off to the Bathroom Wall as soon as I see them. Rather, I’m focused on House Bill 597’s treatment of science.

According to the bill,

(iii) The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.

That last two are the problem. I draw your attention to this phrase: “…focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes;…”. WTF is science but those processes? Do these two dimbulbs want kids to be taught a list of facts without any mention of how those facts are come by? Do they imagine that science is a cosmic oddity shop stuffed with factoids whose basis in systematic research and evidence is not to be taught? Do they not want their future physicians to know how scientific research is done? Are they uninterested in whether children learn the methods of justifying scientific knowledge claims? Do they want Ohio’s kids to be significantly crippled when it comes to college science courses?

No, I actually don’t believe they do. Or at least, I don’t believe they consciously want to do any of that. Rather, I believe that they’re abysmally ignorant of science, they believe that it really does consist of a bunch of isolated factoids, and they want to have that ignorance propagated in Ohio public schools, actively misleading students about the process of science.

And that ain’t all. The Bill

… prohibit[s] political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.

(I had a “sic” after that one–I don’t understand that last hanging phrase.) Bill author Thompson was quoted by the Columbus Dispatch as saying

In many districts, they may have a different perspective on that [political or religious interpretation], and we want to provide them the flexibility to consider all perspectives, not just on matters of faith or how the Earth came into existence, but also global warming and other topics that are controversial.

And then

Asked if intelligent design – the idea that a higher authority is responsible for life – should be taught alongside evolution, Thompson said, “I think it would be good for them to consider the perspectives of people of faith. That’s legitimate.”

Sure. In science classes let us teach about Cheonjiwang Bonpuli, a Korean creation myth, and Unkulunkulu, a Zulu creation myth, and Dine Bahane’, a Navaho creation myth, and Mbombo, a Kuba creation myth. Perhaps in science class we could teach this Hindu creation myth:

The Shatapatha Brahmana says that in the beginning, Prajapati, the first creator or father of all, was alone in the world. He differentiated himself into two beings, husband and wife. The wife, regarding union with her producer as incest, fled from his embraces assuming various animal disguises. The husband pursued in the form of the male of each animal, and from these unions sprang the various species of beasts (Shatapatha Brahmana, xiv. 4, 2).

Millions of people of faith believe it, and, after all, the House bill’s author does specify “all perspectives.” All those (and many more) are now or were once held by faith by one or another group of people and are perfectly legitimately contained within “all perspectives.”

Regardless of disputes about the Common Core, House Bill 597 is a real science education killer. It opens the floodgates of superstition, allowing any damn fool notion to be taught in public school science classes.

284 Comments

“prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.”

“Asked if intelligent design – the idea that a higher authority is responsible for life – should be taught alongside evolution, Thompson said, “I think it would be good for them to consider the perspectives of people of faith. That’s legitimate.””

Given that “considering the perspective of people of faith” in matters of science constitutes religious interpretation of scientific facts, it seems that Thompson’s statement is in direct contradiction of his own bill.

Maybe the caveat lies in the ambiguous wording of the hanging “in favor of another” phrase. If these words were removed and the statement simply stated ““prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts.”, that would clearly preclude teaching creationism or ID (which Thompson freely admits is a faith-based perspective).

“focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes”

Maybe they don’t mean the ‘scientific process’, i.e. how science is done (the ‘scientific method’), but natural processes that science has discovered, like, oh, the formation of petroleum over many millions of years, or fossilization, or gradual erosion of landforms, or stellar lifecycles, or elemental half-lives, or EVOLUTION. Maybe those are the “scientific processes” they don’t want focused on.

Why is it always Republicans doing this?

(I know, Harold, but I’d like to read, say, Klaus’s explanation of that.)

focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.

Focus on scientific processes, which produce solid scientific knowledge, and there will be no scope for considering political and/or religious interpretations.

Their whole point appears to be to avoid the science issues, which involve process, and to focus on political and religious interpretations, with a disclaimer added to deny same.

Glen Davidson

This is all very weird because the Common Core doesn’t contain science curriculum standards at all! The upcoming Next Generation Science Standards cover the sciences. I believe a totally different group was involved in setting them up. See: http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-[…]ce-standards

Peter B.

Maybe I’m too cynical but I have to disagree with you. IMHO they do.

“…how those facts…” There are great whales. If they want to know where whales came from, they should ask their parents or, perhaps, they envision a situation where the teacher can answer this question they were created and get away with it.

“…oddity shop stuffed with factoids…” why not? Their own system is that way. Situation:cite a verse.

“…future physicians…” physicians’ research kills babies for stem cells (see current flap over ALS ice bucket challenge); real healing is from such as naturopaths, homeopaths, coffee beans, magnets, supplements; and physicians, well they want to give children vaccines.

“…learn the methods…” you mean like evidence? Critical thinking?

“…Ohio’s kids…” will be perfectly suited to go to a bible college many of which have science departments that teach truth in science.

OR Since this bill will probably not pass or, if it does, end up being downed by the courts, perhaps they just want to go back to their districts and say “See what I did but they are against us” (and the contributions and votes keep coming in) or, if courts, black robed tyranny.

It is always a win-win situation with these people. Like I said, perhaps I’ve just gotten too cynical from hearing the same thing again and again and again and again.…

Do these two dimbulbs want kids to be taught a list of facts without any mention of how those facts are come by?

Well I’m not sure about the legislators, but I’m guessing at least some of the folks who wrote their bills for them had that thought in mind. AIUI, teaching science factoids with the absolute minimal context needed is pretty much what many private christian schools do. Instead of process, they put in bible quotes.

The text eliminating process reminds me of the Texas’ GOP’s move from a few years back, where they explicitly and officially opposed teaching kids critical thinking. Whether it’s the actual legislators or not, at this point it’s pretty clear to me that yes, there IS a subset of conservative fundamentalists who oppose schools teaching their kids to think deeply about things.

prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another

Ironically, if we did actually prohibit the “religious interpretation of scientific facts” that would be just great.

It means that objective facts could be objective facts, and we could all agree that tested facts have an objective significance that makes them a different thing from random speculaltion, and we wouldn’t have to argue about how disingenuous it is to teach kids to pop up in class and yell “Were you there?” as a method of “objective” inquiry.

But, of course, that’s not what the law is actually about, because the creobots are going to argue again that evolution is actually a religion and therefore Noah should get equal time..

Just Bob said:

Why is it always Republicans doing this?

(I know, Harold, but I’d like to read, say, Klaus’s explanation of that.)

I’ll leave the direct answer to this question to others, at least for now, as requested.

I will briefly note that there was once a fair amount of Republican support for Common Core (for full disclosure I very strongly support providing all American high school students with a minimum common standard). Republican support may have been in opposition to imaginary hippies promoting “alternative” education in things like folklore and ebonics, but at any rate, at first they tended to support Common Core.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/05/[…]-common.html

However, then the Obama administration supported it, so now they have to attack it. The realization that their creationist component is threatened by it may be an independent reason why they attack it now.

It is somewhat on topic to note that the Obama administration is rather poor on the topic of public education as well, just not as bad as science denying Republicans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arne_d[…]blic_Schools. Both parties claim to buy in to the reality denying ideas that poorly performing schools will be improved by punishing them with further removal of resources, that students will benefit by having local schools closed for poor performance even if a better alternative isn’t available, that making teaching a low paid, insecure job will attract better teachers, and, of course, that providing the same amount of money for education but diverting a substantial amount of it to profit-taking middle men for no obvious reason, is a good idea.

The text eliminating process reminds me of the Texas’ GOP’s move from a few years back, where they explicitly and officially opposed teaching kids critical thinking.

And yet the exact same people use the exact term “critical thinking” to refer to science denial, when it suits them.

eric said: ..reminds me of the Texas’ GOP’s move from a few years back, where they explicitly and officially opposed teaching kids critical thinking… there IS a subset of conservative fundamentalists who oppose schools teaching their kids to think deeply about things.

The pity is that in 2014 one of the most important emerging job skills is the very ability to think clearly and critically, a skill that more and more companies are finding is worth explicitly screening for.

I’ve had several colleagues relate their recent job interviews that largely revolved around an evaluation of their critical thinking skills and only peripherally touched their actual technical credentials, just long enough to check the boxes for such-and-such language and X years of experience.

In certain specialties the “Google interview” is now a cliche’, and engineers no longer expect to get grilled on how they’d implement an obscure algorithm but instead expect to be pelted with off-the-wall problems like “you’re the size of a GI-Joe in a room full of cats. How do you survive?”.

This makes perfect sense. In the contemporary tech world it’s not terribly important what tools you know. It’s kind of immaterial since they’re going to be changing in in a year anyway. “Oh, you have 5 years in Objective C? Doesn’t matter, we’ll be going to Swift next week. You’ll love it”. What does really matter is how people are going to deal with the next unknown to arrive.

When you don’t even know what the next problem is going to look like it’s less important that you rank people for some specific canned skill than you screen them for the ability to think critically and solve problems.

And yet we have people like the Texas legislature actively trying to dumb down that very skill.

Sadly, it’ shard to overlook the fact that adherence to hard-line religion has as distinct correlation to damping the critical mindset.

I always relate the story of an incident early in my career when I found myself in a large group of engineers at an established defense contractor in a southern state.

Half the people were straight-laced and religious members of a prominent local mega-church, evangelical among themselves. The second demographically similar group were smart-assed secular, socially liberal, heathens.

We all got along well, and everybody respected each other, but professionally, the contrast was striking. The religious guys were excellent engineers who crossed every “t” and dotted every “i” and were very conscientious in their work, but they never thought outside the box. Every time I saw something truly new and innovative pop up, it was always one of the other guys.

As I came to know the various groups around the company I saw the same pattern over and over.

I hate to generalize, and my company might not have been representative, but almost two decades later I’m still struck by the strength of the correlation.

With these conservative states all cutting public education in favor of vouchers for private/parochial schools, including Ohio, something has to be cut from the public schools’ budget. Looks like one easy place is any and all lab work associated with any science class, especially biology. Why bother experimenting or trying to understand the process when all the facts are laid out before you. Kind of like watching Fox Gnus trying to present their version of a “news story.”

Richard: I believe that Common Core is mostly for language and math, not science? The New Generation Science Standards (NGSS), an effort separate from Common Core, is being widely accepted. Even here in regressive Oklahoma NGSS passed (after major lobbying for it) in the last hours of the legislative session and the Governor instructed the Supt. of Education to put it into effect. A bill to deny Common Core was signed into law however. On a good note the usual creationist ‘academic freedom act’ bills were defeated for the 14th year after major lobbying efforts.

One of the most universal characteristics of some of these proselytizing sectarians and their elected politicians is their smug arrogance born of self-imposed ignorance.

Rather than challenging themselves to grow intellectually and come to grips with basic findings and processes of science, they seek to hobble everyone else either by force of law or by infinite layers of stumbling blocks thrown into the learning paths of other people’s children. They want to win by tripping everyone else.

I once met the smug, single-issue sectarian idiot from my own district that was elected to our state legislature in the past. It’s hard to imagine that there was enough neural complexity in his body that could even allow him to walk. All he could do was to repeat memorized political sound bytes whenever he was asked a question about anything; and his only activity while in the state house of representatives was to sponsor or cosponsor bills to teach creationism. Fortunately term limitations finally kicked him out.

Another district, after a brief hiatus that apparently gets around term limits, has since reelected their idiot who cosponsored those bills with our idiot. And I don’t use the term “idiot” lightly. These characters don’t have a clue about anything else.

One can do a Google search on phrases like “How should a Christian study science?”, or “The study of science from a Christian perspective”, or “Why should a Christian study science?”, or “Should a Christian study astronomy?”

You can find opinions from different types of sectarians that directly contradict each other about fundamental questions such as evolution, the origin of life, and the origin and age of the universe. That alone should tell us that the general public is not to blame for the difficulties some of these sectarians have with their beliefs in the presence of science. Sectarians have their churches in which to grapple with those issues.

Before Harold gets in which his much better exposition, the authoritarian personality type does think that science is a collection of facts; the static and unchaining past is privileged above everything else. Therefore no process is necessary, it just leads to wild speculation like global warming and evolution.

I do have some experience, however, in mending broken texts, and I would be very surprised if that last phrase wasn’t meant to read: “and prohibit [one] political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.” The restoration, obviously, yields a sense that leaves the door open for ID and creationism, which is the purpose.

I’ve never understood how creationists manage to embrace technology with such obvious enthusiasm, while having no respect for the processes of basic science. I agree that they think science is a disconnected set of facts. I also wonder where they think the facts come from, and how they think technologists come up with novel applications of science. But they’ll certainly latch on to anything that comes along if it looks useful. Back in the 80s, televangelists could barely contain themselves talking about their jet and their satellites. More recently, I noticed the prominent placement of a MacBook in that ridiculous wooden hammer video for the Ark park.

I can see how creationism could be consistent with certain disciplines if taken in a complete vacuum. You could easily be a mechanical engineer provided you had no curiosity about anything else. You could even be a pure mathematician if you limited your interests to abstractions and didn’t try to make any inferences about the world around you. But anyone with a critical mind informed by today’s scientific evidence is not going to be a creationist, at least not without tremendous levels of cognitive dissonance. It does stand to reason that creationists don’t really want kids to develop an understanding of the process of science or the ability to assess what is actually known to scientists. It makes their position completely untenable.

Richard’s last statement:

Richard Hoppe said:

Regardless of disputes about the Common Core, House Bill 597 is a real science education killer. It opens the floodgates of superstition, allowing any damn fool notion to be taught in public school science classes.

That’s not the only thing it opens a floodgate to. Apparently, neither of these two twits is familiar with Kitzmiller. This is an open invitation to civil action against any school district(s) that uses the language in the bill to teach a creationist perspective; and rest assured, some creationist “science teacher” will interpret the language as a license to do exactly that. More law suits, more money shelled out of the local education budgets, and more students (and real science teachers) getting screwed again.

My wager is the bill will die. I hope I am not proven wrong - this is Ohio, after all, not Louisiana.

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

Do they want Ohio’s kids to be significantly crippled when it comes to college science courses?

No, I actually don’t believe they do. Or at least, I don’t believe they consciously want to do any of that. Rather, I believe that they’re abysmally ignorant of science, they believe that it really does consist of a bunch of isolated factoids, and they want to have that ignorance propagated in Ohio public schools, actively misleading students about the process of science.

First, you may be 100% right about that. But I think there’s an equally good case for thinking that they do “want Ohio’s kids to be significantly crippled,” and that they do know that science is more than “a bunch of isolated factoids.” That’s because, even if these politicians are no more science literate than a random person on the street - who unfortunately does think that science is merely “a bunch of isolated factoids,” even if he claims to have no problem with evolution - they have not spent every waking hour in their megachurches hearing only feel-good words. Rather they have undoubtedly heard others, including other Republicans, who told them in no uncertain terms that what they claim is dead wrong, and misleading. But they have surely also heard from the strategists, who share their mission to save the world.

Helena Constantine Wrote:

Before Harold gets in which his much better exposition, the authoritarian personality type does think that science is a collection of facts;..

Thanks for noting that these politicians are authoritarians, not just “conservatives” or “Republicans.” There are still many of us who are as far from authoritarian as one can get. Again it may be that many, even most, hopeless authoritarians do believe what you and Richard claim. But very definition of “authoritarian” suggests that they may be faking it “for the cause.” As the link above, which I found 16 years ago, notes, there are different truths for “leaders” and “followers.” The “thought experiment” I have been conducting for 16 years is “What would these activists say and do if they personally had no problem with evolution?” And the answer always comes out “exactly what they’re saying and doing now.”

Keelyn Wrote:

Apparently, neither of these two twits is familiar with Kitzmiller.

If they didn’t at first they do now. But they’re OK with gambling that the judge will be a radical authoritarian like Scalia, and not just a conservative Christian like Jones. But even if they lose, it’s not they who will have to pay the legal bills. Besides, most of their opponents will whine about their “sneaking in God,” not how they’re sticking it to their constituents.

Frank J said:

“What would these activists say and do if they personally had no problem with evolution?”

Nit-picking a little. At first I thought you were equating “personally had no problem” with “believe it is actually true.” I was going to point out that that there are probably people out there who have a problem with evolution, one that is exacerbated by the fact that they understand it well enough to accept it as true.

On the other hand, someone who believes that there are separate truths for leaders and followers could fit the above category, so maybe that was your point. (The Pythagorean mystery approach.)

There might also be people who accept evolution as a correct scientific theory, and wouldn’t really mind if its truth were generally acknowledged, but are happy to use it as the issue du jour to support other causes.

This is less likely to be true of global warming in which the main problem may be public policy that goes against specific (short term) economic interests. The problem is of course made worse by the fact that the consensus of climate scientists is correct, since it cannot be counted on to implode of its own and requires intense lobbying efforts to counter.

callahanpb Wrote:

At first I thought you were equating “personally had no problem” with “believe it is actually true.”

Actually I did mean “believe it is actually true.” But now that you mention it, technically they would still “have a problem with it,” in being afraid that the “masses” would not behave properly if they accepted it.

I’m not talking about people like Ken Ham, who supposedly believe the whole young-earth nonsense (though curiously not the geocentrism). Though they too are astute enough to know that the evidence doesn’t support it, at least “not yet.” Why else would they fall back on scripture when the going gets tough.

No, I’m referring to the ID crowd, and many of their followers who are clued in enough to use their language. They always seem to know what questions to evade so as not to upset the “big tent.” If they really did think that evidence favored a young earth, or even independent origin of “kinds” over billions of years, they know they would have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by stating those claims unequivocally and supporting them on their own merits. With no references to “creation,” “design” to long refuted “weaknesses” of evolution. But they also know that the great majority of people simply do not know that that is how science is done, not by “debate,” which always favors pseudoscience by giving it unearned equal time. That said, I repeat that I’m not sure (yet) if Thompson and Huffman fit this category (like Rick Perry, who famously weaseled out of a simple question on the age of the earth) or if they themselves were just scammed.

callahanpb Wrote:

There might also be people who accept evolution as a correct scientific theory, and wouldn’t really mind if its truth were generally acknowledged, but are happy to use it as the issue du jour to support other causes.

That’s certainly believable too, especially among opportunistic politicians.

Asked if intelligent design – the idea that a higher authority is responsible for life – should be taught alongside evolution, Thompson said, “I think it would be good for them to consider the perspectives of people of faith. That’s legitimate.”

Before someone offers that as evidence that Thomson is just scammed, or worse, “actually believes this or that,” I agree that Thomson apparently did not “read the memo” and thus was not (yet) completely clued in. But there was a time (late 90s) that I too had no clue how devious the ID scam was, and I might have said the exact same thing. And I had fully accepted evolution, and billions of years of common descent, for 30 years before that.

Remember when Jerry Falwell banned country music at Liberty U? He claimed he could listen and enjoy it, but young minds might be corrupted by listening. Authoritarian - yes.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]zWpyVj8bds_Q said:

Remember when Jerry Falwell banned country music at Liberty U? He claimed he could listen and enjoy it, but young minds might be corrupted by listening. Authoritarian - yes.

He finally gets something right, and he’s faulted for it.

Glen Davidson

Frank J said: But there was a time (late 90s) that I too had no clue how devious the ID scam was, and I might have said the exact same thing. And I had fully accepted evolution, and billions of years of common descent, for 30 years before that.

The first time creationism came to my attention as a political controversy was when Forrest Mims was being considered (and ultimately rejected) for a longterm position writing the Amateur Scientist column in Scientific American (one or two columns did appear). Before that I would have considered it (YEC especially) as a fringe belief along the lines of bigfoot chasing.

I’ll admit I was naive at the time, but I’m not sure how much my position has really changed. I would still prefer to live in a world in which SciAm’s hiring someone to write columns is not mistaken as endorsing their beliefs on other scientific matters. The publishers clearly had the discretion not to hire Mims, but I don’t know that it would have been harmful to treat Mims the way Lehigh treats Behe (granting that Lehigh does not have the same discretion in dealing with Behe).

So I admit we don’t live in the world of my stated preference. Hiring will be mistaken for endorsement. I feel that it should be a sign of strength to say that we can publish correct science by someone who is wrong about many other things, and the correct science stands on its own merits. But I did miss the point that the creationist/ID movement will seize on this to claim that it is actually a sign of weakness, that science (in some fictional collective sense) actually needs creationists like Mims, which it obviously does not.

I’m still a bit divided on this, but I see it more as a political battle than science as usual. In science as usual we could potentially accept peer-reviewed publications from a schizophrenic who is delusional about many things outside the scope of the publication (in mathematics, this literally does happen, though I am not sure about experimental science). When you have a movement that has every intent of using the openness of science against it, there is clearly a justification in being far more careful in examining not just claims, but the context of who is making the claim and what their motives are.

Victor Hutchison said:

Even here in regressive Oklahoma NGSS passed A bill to deny Common Core was signed into law however.

Actually, it was not. The House passed an amendment to the bill (HJR 1099 - accept and approve all permanent rules made by state agencies for the preceding year) rejecting the science standards. This went to the senate for reconciliation, but the senate failed to vote on it, so the UN-AMENDED (original form) bill went to the Governor’s desk, who signed it.

I am currently teaching the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) based on the NGSS in my classes this year.

As a side note, we do not have a test developed for these standards and will most likely revert to the 2010 End of Instruction exam for Biology. I have advised our curriculum director that our students will likely be better off if we adhere to the current OAS rather than try to teach the standards that the test was written for, as the OAS are more rigorous than the PASS objectives.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]zWpyVj8bds_Q said:

Remember when Jerry Falwell banned country music at Liberty U? He claimed he could listen and enjoy it, but young minds might be corrupted by listening. Authoritarian - yes.

Actually I agree with him on that one.

Frank J said:

I’m not talking about people like Ken Ham, who supposedly believe the whole young-earth nonsense (though curiously not the geocentrism). Though they too are astute enough to know that the evidence doesn’t support it, at least “not yet.”

Why else would they fall back on scripture when the going gets tough.

Because that’s all they have. Seriously. They brag about it. Just look at any of their statements of faith. They don’t “fall back on scripture” only “when the going gets tough”. Their first, middle, and last goals are to “prove” that the Bible is the literal truth, and that all of reality must conform to their literal reading of the Bible.

All evidence must be compared against the Bible first. If it agrees with their interpretation of the Bible, it obviously supports the truth of the Bible, thus proving the Bible to be true. If the evidence disagrees with their interpretation of the Bible, then the evidence is obviously flawed (inspired by Satan, corrupted by atheist scientists, honestly misinterpreted by fallible humans, whatever), and so the evidence must be rejected, thus also proving the Bible to be true.

So, they don’t “fall back” on scripture. They go straight to scripture before they do anything else.

Masked Panda: No. Your explanation is incomplete. HJR 1099 (an administrative bill with changes for several agencies) was on the last day of the legislative session. HJR 1099 was reintroduced as an amendment that quickly passed as senators may have been uninformed. In the last two hours the bill then went to the House floor and was not considered. During the last hours Rep. Emily Virgin was emailing me from the House floor about the bill. We were glad when the House did not take up the amendment. The bill may have been ignored in the rush to adjourn or because it was a bad bill. Either way (or both) the bill died. The main opposition in the House committee was that the word ‘climate’ appeared (I listened to the hearing).

As I was getting on the basement elevator on that last day of the session, the Governor also entered. After being introduced to her by a friend, I quickly went into speed lobbying mode NCSS and the reasons it should be adopted. As she got off the elevator Governor Fallin said: “Glad to meet you and I agree” with a thumbs up! This is one time a politician kept their word. I have discussed this with Glenn Branch at NCSE, but he believes an F is justified mainly because the ‘E’ word is missing. In the present political environment evolution and climate change (as well as others) will not be accepted by the Legislature. Time for a change in persons we elect!

The Oklahoma version of NCSS (as do the current PASS standards) does not mention the word ‘evolution,’ simply because it would not pass the Legislature. This is the main reason the Oklahoma science standards received an F from the Fordham Institute and NCSE. HOWEVER, the principles of evolution ARE in the PASS standards. In workshops for teachers Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education cover the details of how they can teach evolution effectively. The class is taught by an experienced science curriculum supervisor in a large district.

Masked Panda: Thanks for doing a good job in your teaching!

Helena Constantine said:

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/[…]zWpyVj8bds_Q said:

Remember when Jerry Falwell banned country music at Liberty U? He claimed he could listen and enjoy it, but young minds might be corrupted by listening. Authoritarian - yes.

What that country music corrupts our youth? Actually I agree with him on that one.

Just Bob said:

Why is it always Republicans doing this?

(I know, Harold, but I’d like to read, say, Klaus’s explanation of that.)

Unfortunately, the Republican Party has many fanatics who want to force their religious beliefs on others, and are often at war with reality. In the US, people basically have a choice between a pro capitalism and Constitution party with a bunch of religious fanatics, and a pro science rabid collectivist fascist party. There is no pro science, pro capitalism, pro Constitution party.

Mike Elzinga said:

njdowrick said:

He has made no effort to address the horrendous mess caused by the anisotropic synchrony convention that he adopts and I really don’t think that he cares. It is madness to suggest that God has chosen such a reference frame for the writing of Genesis.

If Lisle wants the stars to all have appeared on day 4, then Lisle knows damned well what “speed” means in his scheme; it is infinite toward Earth and c/2 away; no matter the Earth’s position.

The two paragraphs I highlighted directly contradict each other. If light travels at infinite speed toward an object and c/2 away, no matter WHERE in space, then what does “direction relative to the observer” even mean?

This kind of crap is not unusual with ID/creationists; especially YECs. I have been watching it for something like 50 years now, and the stuff they come up with is always bizarre; sectarian dogma first; all else bent and broken to fit. There is never any consistency in what they make up; it is all expediency in the service of apologetics.

I don’t think they even know or care how muddled they are. They are just trying to preserve their preconceptions about their sectarian readings of their holy book. It’s driven by fear of burning for eternity.

Yeah. That is really weird. So if I shine a light on Venus, it leaves earth at infinite speed, and gets to Venus at 1/2C?

boggle.

OK, one last thought tonight.

Imagine astronomers in a space station. The craft is in the same orbit as Earth, but it’s advanced (or retarded) 6 months, so it’s always on the other side of the sun (like the old Gerry Anderson Sci-Fi Film, Doppleganger).

The important thing is that it keeps the same distance from the Earth throughout it’s orbit, so it’s “Lisle clock” runs at a constant speed relative to Earth Clocks. It will run slower than Earth Clocks by a certain ratio, but that ratio is constant and can be calculated, consequently an “Earth equivalent” clock can be synthesized, much like the clocks on GPS satellites are corrected by a teeny little percentage.

The baseline time is set when a line between Earth and the spaceship is tangent to a line from the sun to Jupiter.

In “normal” physics, light takes about 8 minutes to travel the distance between Earth and the sun in either direction. Take this as our baseline C.

Now imagine the moment when the space station, Jupiter and the Earth are all in a line.

In the case where the Earth is nearest Jupiter, Jupiter’s clock is obligingly running 8 minutes fast, so with the instant time-of flight for the light to the Earth, Jupiter’s moons appear from here with just the right timing.

But light that flies past Earth has to climb out of the “Lisle relativity framework well” so it’s now traveling at the “Earth outbound” speed of 1/2C and it hurtles on into the void where it will get to the spaceship in 32 more minutes (2 AU’s @ 1/2C).

Under classic physics, the spaceship would expect to see the events on Jupiter 16 minutes later than Earth (2 AU’s @ C), so observers there will notice Jupiter is running 16 minutes late on their “Earth Clock”.

Now go forward 6 months, The three are now back in line. Now the spaceship is closer to Jupiter, but it’s in line with Earth. Since Jupiter is now 2AU from Earth, events there are obligingly moving 8 minutes slow.

But light from Jupiter to Earth is moving at infinity, and since the space station is in line with Earth, both Earth and the space station will “see” events on Jupiter at the same time.

Both will clock the Jovian moons at -8 minutes.

Observers on Earth see a 16 minute difference in timing from one side of the orbit to the other, while observers on the space station see a 24 minute difference.

More importantly, the observers on the space station see a difference that is “lopsided”, +8 minutes on one side of the orbit, -16 minutes on the other.

stevaroni said:

I’m sure that there might, in a mathematical sense, be some possible relativistic framework that allows for that, but I’m willing to wager that the math would have a complexity that would make “ordinary” relativity look like Kindergarten math homework.

It somehow really, really bothers me that there’s no way to show that there’s no “there” there.

There is a way; and ID/creationists have no clue why that makes it so easy to spot their shenanigans.

There are much deeper patterns in the mathematical physics of our universe than what Lisle and other YECs are aware of.

We have discovered that mathematical transformations of events from one reference frame to another cannot be just any arbitrary mappings we choose to make up to fit our whims.

As I mentioned above, the transformations of Special Relativity form what is called a mathematical group called the Lorentz group; they have a well-defined set of properties that allow transformations to be followed by one another to produce another transformation that is part of the same set of transformations. In mathematical terms, the set of transformations is closed under successive applications of transformations (“multiplication”). The transformations have inverses, meaning that they are one-to-one mappings of variables from one reference frame to another. The transformations work in both directions; they are “bijective” with the a reverse transformation undoing the forward.

More interestingly, there are profound symmetries in the theory of Special Relativity that lead to conserved quantities called four-vectors. This means that all observers will agree on the value of these quantities no matter which inertial frame they are in.

Symmetries in the mathematical laws of physics are profoundly important; for every symmetry in a mathematical expression - e.g., such as a Lagrangian - there is a conservation law. “Broken symmetries” lead to observable experimental consequences; something is not conserved. Making the speed of light different in different directions leads to experimental consequences like pseudo-forces.

Bizarre asymmetries, such as having light travel at infinite speed toward each and every point in space and c/2 away from each and every point, is one of the more pathological kinds or “theories” that YECs have come up with. This is a “theory” in which nothing is the same from one reference frame to another. The symmetries in this “theory” aren’t just “broken,” they are completely pulverized into a hodge-podge of arbitrary effects that we never see.

One of the most important lessons of relativity theory is that the symmetries in that theory constrain our search for more encompassing theories to the symmetries and structure of relativity theory. You can’t build a broader theory of the universe without the symmetries contained in relativity. Nature simply doesn’t allow it; this is what we know about Nature so far. This is very deep knowledge about how the universe works.

One might accuse Lisle of throwing all that accumulated knowledge out the window, but that would require his being conscious of all that knowledge. From what I have observed of ID/creationists over the years, I have come to the conclusion that their knowledge of basic science is extremely superficial at best and completely wrong most of the time; and that includes their PhDs.

Being celebrities within their sectarian world is what these characters are after. They use their pseudoscience to take whacks at “atheists and materialists” in order to get cheers of adulation from their audiences. They don’t give a damn about the science.

stevaroni said:

In the case of the Jovian moons, since the light travels to Earth instantly in Lisle’s universe, we see the moons of Jupiter as they’re doing their thing. If they speed up and slow down it can’t be some weird uber-macro manifestation of the Doppler effect*, since the time of flight is always zero.

If light travels from Jupiter to Earth infinitely fast we will see the moons of Jupiter doing what they are doing at that same instant. But “same instant” in the coordinate system that Lisle is using means “51 minutes ago” in the coordinate system that you and I are using (taking Jupiter to be 51 light-minutes away). Lisle’s coordinate transformation redefines simultaneity so that everything turns out in the same way.

stevaroni said: In the case of the Jovian moons, since the light travels to Earth instantly in Lisle’s universe, we see the moons of Jupiter as they’re doing their thing. If they speed up and slow down it can’t be some weird uber-macro manifestation of the Doppler effect*, since the time of flight is always zero.

With infinite velocity towards the observer, its difficult to even understand why a (photonic) doppler effect exists. In non-Lisle physics, we say it happens because the relative motion of the source* impacts the frequency of the photon we observe. But AIUI, Lisle has disconnected photon frequency from its motion. So why would a doppler effect even happen? How can the weather service track storm front velocity if it doesn’t change the frequency of the microwave pulse?

*For very far objects the stretching of spacetime as the photon travels through it will also contribute. Cosmological redshift is irrelevant to storm fronts and even the Earth-Jupiter example though, so let’s ignore it for now.

All of which demonstrate the frankly phenomenal property of every single celestial object having a local clock that varies in direct proportion to it’s distance from the Earth.

Yes, well, this is a creationist model for creationist consumption. I doubt the intended audience will think less of it if it puts the Earth in a privileged cosmological position.

I’m sure that there might, in a mathematical sense, be some possible relativistic framework that allows for that, but I’m willing to wager that the math would have a complexity that would make “ordinary” relativity look like Kindergarten math homework.

Yes. To me, that makes it an inferior model. For theories, better and worse is not just about what answers it gives, but also the time and energy needed to be expended to get that answer. It’s why Newton gets used in a lot more cases than fully relativistic calculations, because its better from the ‘energy expended’ perspective.

bigdakine said:

Mike Elzinga said: The two paragraphs I highlighted directly contradict each other. If light travels at infinite speed toward an object and c/2 away, no matter WHERE in space, then what does “direction relative to the observer” even mean?

Yeah. That is really weird. So if I shine a light on Venus, it leaves earth at infinite speed, and gets to Venus at 1/2C?

Imagine a guy at Venus with a mirror. You shoot a laser to him. I think the model is supposed to say: to the observer on Earth, the laser travels to Venus at 1/2c and back from Venus at infinite velociy (or, it appears that way in the Earth frame of reference). To the Venusian holding the mirror, the laser travels to Venus at infinite velocity and back to Earth at 1/2c (or, it appears that way in the Venusian frame of reference).

AIUI, when David says Lisle “has Einstein on his side,” he’s not saying that Lisle’s math matches Einstein, he’s saying that relativistic physics already accepts that such frame-dependent changes to apparent velocity occur. Yeah my Earth-Venus example sounds wierd, and its not exactly the same wierdness as standard relativistic physics. But the concept of different people observing the same phenomena differently IS the same sort of wierd we’ve been dealing with for 109 years.

There is no way around it; you just cannot avoid the dynamics. Anything that depends on c, or on v/c, or on v2/c2 is going to be screwed up by Lisle’s scheme. This includes the well-tested Lorentz transformations, the Doppler shifts, and E = mc2.

The time dilation of the decay rates of high speed particles such as mesons has been tested so thoroughly that there are no exceptions. This is routine physics in particle accelerators.

Lisle’s “theory” cannot explain why cyclotrons and other particle accelerators have to be designed according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, otherwise they don’t work.

Even more fun is this old movie from MIT by W. Bertozzi demonstrating the ultimate speed of particles. The movie seems “quaint” today, but it is a pretty clear demonstration of the relationship of speed to energy for relativistic particles.

No ID/creationist “theory,” especially that of Lisle, can explain what is going on in these experiments.

eric said:

AIUI, when David says Lisle “has Einstein on his side,” he’s not saying that Lisle’s math matches Einstein, he’s saying that relativistic physics already accepts that such frame-dependent changes to apparent velocity occur.

I feel safe in saying that at an even more general level Lisle does not have Einstein on his side.

…at least if you assume Einstein ever really said “the only physical theories that we are willing to accept are the beautiful ones.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_beauty.

Changing the reference frame for no reason other than to match an interpretation of the Bible that was unavailable at the time it was written is not how you come up with a beautiful theory. If Lisle’s approach made the math more tractable, that would be intriguing, though not definitive. As far as I understand, though, it has the exactly opposite effect. So what really is the point?

Caveat 1: Of course, the argument from beauty is not well-founded, but I am confident that Einstein had an inclination towards it, as do many mathematicians. Having Einstein on your side doesn’t necessarily mean you are correct, and I am not suggesting this.

Caveat 2: Arguing from whether Einstein is on your side in spirit (not just in particulars) is about as pointless as arguing whether the Bible is on your side.

Another issue I’ve just thought about is the cosmological horizon. Under current physics, stars further than about 13 Gpc from us are expanding away from us faster than c. Light emitted from those stars will never, even in principle, reach Earth. But under Lisle’s model, there shouldn’t be any cosmological horizon. And so his model has no answer to Olber’s paradox, the problem that bothered many early astronomers: if light can reach us from all the stars there are, and there are a lot of stars, why is the sky mostly black?

The mainstream model answers that question quite nicely: light can’t reach us from all the stars there are, because only 13B years have passed and so starlight beyond that 13B lightyear horizon hasn’t reached us yet. According to Lisle’s theory, it should all be reaching us. And, I will add, this has nothing to do with two-way speed, since there are objects near the boundary of these horizons for which no two-way photon exchange is possible, even in theory.

eric said:

Another issue I’ve just thought about is the cosmological horizon. Under current physics, stars further than about 13 Gpc from us are expanding away from us faster than c. Light emitted from those stars will never, even in principle, reach Earth. But under Lisle’s model, there shouldn’t be any cosmological horizon. And so his model has no answer to Olber’s paradox, the problem that bothered many early astronomers: if light can reach us from all the stars there are, and there are a lot of stars, why is the sky mostly black?

The mainstream model answers that question quite nicely: light can’t reach us from all the stars there are, because only 13B years have passed and so starlight beyond that 13B lightyear horizon hasn’t reached us yet. According to Lisle’s theory, it should all be reaching us. And, I will add, this has nothing to do with two-way speed, since there are objects near the boundary of these horizons for which no two-way photon exchange is possible, even in theory.

I hadn’t thought of this. More generally, how does Lisle explain cosmological redshift? Has God just happened to create galaxies with a recession speed proportional to their distance?

njdowrick said:

I hadn’t thought of this. More generally, how does Lisle explain cosmological redshift? Has God just happened to create galaxies with a recession speed proportional to their distance?

[YEC ad hoc patch] Since Lisle’s “theory” cannot produce red shifts - v/c is zero for all v in his scheme - the deity imprinted the appearance of red shifts on the light coming from distant stars. [/YEC ad hoc patch]

Then there’s this new chip that serendipitously appeared in my e-mail in-box tonight.

Don’t tell Lisle, but it’s a complete time-of-flight IR distance sensor on one 8mm wide chip.

Waddya think Michaelson and Morely would have to say about that?

stevaroni said:

Then there’s this new chip that serendipitously appeared in my e-mail in-box tonight.

Don’t tell Lisle, but it’s a complete time-of-flight IR distance sensor on one 8mm wide chip.

Waddya think Michaelson and Morely would have to say about that?

The YEC version has light going out at speed c/2 and returning at infinite speed. However, it doesn’t compensate for the cover glass because the index of refraction is undefined.

david.starling.macmillan said:

Pay dirt.

I posted a tongue-in-cheek hypothesis at jasonlisle.com following your comment, but I see you have responded to it. Are you really “sure Dr. Lisle would be able to do the necessary math”?

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on August 23, 2014 12:31 PM.

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