Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Automatons — Marching to the Tune of the “Science” Establishment

arroba Email

On another forum, ID colleague John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network posted the following letter concerning the recent actions of the Kansas State Board of Education. With his kind permission I reproduce it here for the edification of UD readers. The behind-the-scenes details are rather disturbing. It is clear to me that the anti-ID crowd is in defensive meltdown mode.

Before reading John’s letter check out Phillip Johnson’s rather prophetic words from Darwin On Trial, first published in 1991:

Darwinian evolution with its blind watchmaker thesis makes me think of a great battleship on the ocean of reality. Its sides are heavily armored with philosophical barriers to criticism, and its decks are stacked with big rhetorical guns ready to intimidate any would-be attackers. In appearance, it is as impregnable as the Soviet Union seemed to be only a few years ago. But the ship has sprung a metaphysical leak, and the more perceptive of the ship’s officers have begun to sense that all the ship’s firepower cannot save it if the leak is not plugged.

John’s Letter:

The scary thing about the action of the Kansas Board yesterday [February 13, 2007] to replace very objective origins science standards with a purely materialistic model, was the complete lack of willingness to consider even the most reasonable alternative proposals and requests.

The six Liberal Board members acted almost as automatons marching to the tune played by the science establishment.

The four conservatives made a series of proposed amendments that would soften the otherwise hard core materialism contained in the new standards. All were summarily rejected. The existing standards define the mission of science education as an enterprise whose goal is to help students make “informed and reasoned decision.” The materialistic standards that were proposed delete the phrase “informed and” so that the new standards are focused only on aiding students to make reasoned decisions. The problem is that a reasoned decision can be horribly wrong if it is not properly informed. Many purchasers of Enron stock made reasoned decisions.

The Liberal board members could think of no reason to vote against Willard’s proposal so they called on Jack Krebs, the point man for “mainstream science.” He said the phrase “informed and” was not in the mainstream proposal and therefore it was not on the table for discussion. Hence, the deletion of “informed and” was adopted by a vote of six to four. This is incredible given the purpose of public education “to inform.” Now the mission of Kansas education is to indoctrinate.

I have now been in this business full time for about seven years. What is really scary is that public education is being dictated to by institutions of science. The message is that publicly elected officials are not scientifically literate and therefore they should not question the “recommendations” of the science establishment. They should just adopt them without question. They are not proposals that are up for negotiation. They are to be accepted as is. They are not really recommendations at all. They are dictates. They are like an “offer you can’t refuse.” If you refuse, you get whacked. This was made clear in the proceedings yesterday.

Why is this a concern? It is a concern because the religion of Humanism turns to “modern science” as the source of knowledge upon which we are to make all of the decisions about the purpose of life. Thus if science says there is global warming, then that is not to be questioned. If science does not question evolution, a fundamental tenet of Humanism, then it is not the office of the state to question this conclusion.

The silver lining in the Kansas decision is that it is very black and white. It is perhaps the best example of governmental endorsement of the key tenet of non-theistic religion that one could ask for. It provides a very large target to shoot at.

You should be proud of the Ken Willard, Steve Abrams, Kathy Martin and John Bacon. They had done their homework and they articulated well the objections to the changes. They made a great record yesterday and that is all we could ask for under the circumstances. Everyone should put their hands together for these courageous leaders who are committed to public education for the pubic rather than public education that seeks to promote a new religion.

John Calvert
Feb 14, 2007

See the IDnet news release here.

[...] John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network. The scary thing about the action of the Kansas Board yesterday [February 13, 2007] to replace very objective origins science standards with a purely materialistic model, was the complete lack of willingness to consider even the most reasonable alternative proposals and requests. [...] Darwiniana » Marching to the tune…
What the parents should do is make all teachers be required to have read and understood Novum Organum before getting certified. :-) LIV --Men become attached to certain particular sciences and speculations, either because they fancy themselves the authors and inventors thereof, or because they have bestowed the greatest pains upon them and become most habituated to them. LVI. . .This, however, turns to the great injury of the sciences and philosophy, since these affectations of antiquity and novelty are the humors of partisans rather than judgments; . . . LX --The idols imposed by words on the understanding are of two kinds. They are either names of things which do not exist (for as there are things left unnamed through lack of observation, so likewise are there names which result from fantastic suppositions and to which nothing in reality corresponds), or they are names of things which exist, but yet confused and ill-defined LXIII. . .For he had come to his conclusion before; he did not consult experience, as he should have done, for the purpose of framing his decisions and axioms, but having first determined the question according to his will, he then resorts to experience, and bending her into conformity with his placets, leads her about like a captive in a procession. LXVI--. ..Again, when man contemplates nature working freely, he meets with different species of things, of animals, of plants, of minerals; whence he readily passes into the opinion that there are in nature certain primary forms which nature intends to educe, and that the remaining variety proceeds from hindrances and aberrations of nature in the fulfillment of her work, or from the collision of different species and the transplanting of one into another. . . AND LXX -- But in the true course of experience, and in carrying it on to the effecting of new works, the divine wisdom and order must be our pattern. Now God on the first day of creation created light only, giving to that work an entire day, in which no material substance was created. So must we likewise from experience of every kind first endeavor to discover true causes and axioms; and seek for experiments of Light, not for experiments of Fruit. AND (the last paragraph) LII (book 2) For man by the fall fell at the same time from his state of innocency and from his dominion over creation. Both of these losses however can even in this life be in some part repaired; the former by religion and faith, the latter by arts and sciences. For creation was not by the curse made altogether and forever a rebel, but in virtue of that charter "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread," it is now by various labors (not certainly by disputations or idle magical ceremonies, but by various labors) at length and in some measure subdued to the supplying of man with bread, that is, to the uses of human life. tribune7
Nice. Well as I suggested, the citizens of Kansas should get together and teach their kids the philosophy and history of science so that they will be able to meet this challenge head on. Teach them about scientific realism, scientific anti-realism, the underdetermination problem, the problems with induction, where falsificationism goes wrong, etc Then let the kids educate the teachers ;) Jason Rennie
From the adopted standards; There are no scientific truths in an absolute sense. Scientific explanations are probabilistic. The statistical view of nature is evident implicitly or explicitly when stating scientific predictions of phenomena or explaining the likelihood of events in actual situations. Probability is the relative certainty (or uncertainty) that individuals can assign to selected events (happening or not happening) in a specified space or time. open-endedness of science is its greatest strength, scientific explanations about the world can be modified or abandoned in favor of new explanations if empirical evidence so warrants. Rather than developing "new" theories however, the current explosion of knowledge has greatly expanded the basic and well-accepted principles from physics, chemistry, earth sciences, and biological sciences. Scientists recognize that there will always be new frontiers of science. p13 cells are the basic unit of life, and cells come from other cells p59 genetic material carries coded information. p60 ( Why did they remove? The sequence of the nucleotide bases within genes is not dictated by any known chemical or physical law.) p96 The theory of biological evolution explains how gradual changes of characteristics of organisms over many generations resulted in variations among populations and species. (Why did they remove? explains proposed scientific explanations of the origin of life as well as scientific criticisms of those explanations.) The core theories of science have a high degree of reliability within the limits to which they have been tested and their scope of applicability. p126 The appeal to authority as a valid explanation does not meet the requirements of science. p12 simple true statement should be the goal of science, not the starting place p128 There are plenty of windows to bring in ID into the school discussions from this list! idnet.com.au

Leave a Reply