Darwinism Evolution Intelligent Design science education

“Anti-science”? That happens when anyone questions whatever is marketed as “science.”

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To hear it from Steven Novella at Neurologica Blog:

The fight over science in public education continues, and if anything picked up considerably in 2017. Earlier in the year Nature reported on various state laws designed to water down science education or allow for equal time to be given to unscientific views.

A new Florida bill also includes this problematic language:

Controversial theories and concepts must be taught in a factual, objective, and balanced manner.

This is part of the latest strategy. First, don’t mention any one theory (like evolution) by name. That is likely to trigger a constitutional challenge. Second, make the bill sound like it is promoting something positive, like academic freedom, democracy, or just being fair and balanced.

Being fair and balanced, of course, is not the point of these laws. The point is to provide a pretext or legal cover to challenge the teaching of evolution in science class, or to open the door to teaching creationism. The language may superficially sound benign, but this is the end result of decades of trial and error with the specific goal of weakening the teaching of evolution or inserting the teaching of specific religious views in the public science classroom. Context and history are necessary to understand the true purpose of these bills.

For example – who gets to determine what is “controversial?” And who gets to determine what is “balanced?” More.

Three obvious rejoinders:

1. Asking for facts, fairness, and balance is not a “pretext.” Most parents and teachers really want that.

2. Any approach to evolution that raised religious issues could be challenged on constitutional grounds. There is no shortage of groups willing to take such a case. If Dr. Novella thinks religious teachings in science class are likely, he should encourage the new trend, as they would be easy to expose.

3. “For example – who gets to determine what is ‘controversial?’ And who gets to determine what is ‘balanced?’” How about parents and teachers as opposed to bureaucrats and lobbyists?

It’s amazing, with the state of research as portrayed in science media today, that so many people are so concerned about a public that is beginning to notice and not with the problems themselves. The parents might be wrong but attacking them instead of attacking the problems is not a smart move.

See also: Stake in heart of school Darwinism lesson: Bilaterian nerve cords probably evolved many times Convergence means that, instead of starting out from the fabled Common Ancestor, life forms or parts thereof arrived at the same destinations from multiple origins. That could support either design or structuralism (an underlying pattern, based on physics and chemistry, governs evolution) — but not Darwinism, the only form of evolution known to pop science, according to which it is all random.

New butterfly has 46 chromosomes, like a human, not the expected 68, like a close relative. Remember this when we are told that it is “anti-science” to doubt whatever the current bumf is around Darwinian evolution.

Story of human dispersal across the globe drastically revised. In short, Cool beliefs did not turn out to be hard fact. That’s okay. We all revise our beliefs from time to time.

New Mexico: Science standards changes draw protest

From an expert walled up behind the 30-metre Oblivion Wall, we learn the causes of “science denial” …

and

If this is science, yes we do hate it

10 Replies to ““Anti-science”? That happens when anyone questions whatever is marketed as “science.”

  1. 1
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    For example – who gets to determine what is “controversial?” And who gets to determine what is “balanced?”

    Well, Mr. Novella’s lying and other acts to suppress the truth are pretty big clues that this topic is controversial. But Marxist/Leninists are gonna Marx/Lenin. He’s at war with reality, like all Progressives. What a useful idiot!

  2. 2
    rvb8 says:

    No 3 is jaw droppingly silly.

    Parents and Teachers should decide what is ‘controversial’, and what is ‘balanced’??

    Teachers? Sure, if they’re science teachers they can help in deciding texts, and course work etc.

    But I don’t want parents in shooting distance of curricula decisions, or choosing text books.

    Parents come in all shades, and shapes, and I have found that the experts, and scientists make decisions infinately more sound than parents.

    Parents should be involved in their children’s learning? Fine, no problem! Just keep them well away from the classroom, where their stupendously wacky decisions lead to Dover, and, ‘Of Pandas…’!

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    rvb8,

    You’re a toad. You know that, right?

  4. 4
    EugeneS says:

    Rvb8

    “in shooting distance of curricula decisions”

    This sounds a bit over the top to me. It is a dangerous attitude.

    What about parents being teachers themselves who KNOW what they are talking about or a body of independent teachers acting on their behalf?

    It is not that black and white. Parents who pay for public education should have their say.

    I have always been looking complacently at home education. But now that a new law has been passed in the country where I live to impose teaching stuff I personally don’t want my children in shooting distance of, perhaps it is an option.

  5. 5

    This falls into the category of “shoot the messenger”. One does this when appearances are more important than reality. You know the sort–“we have nothing to fear but fear itself”, “keep calm and carry on”, or my Gary Larson favorite “Alamo T-shirt sale”.
    The good news is that this time period is always mercifully short.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    2. Any approach to evolution that raised religious issues could be challenged on constitutional grounds. There is no shortage of groups willing to take such a case. If Dr. Novella thinks religious teachings in science class are likely, he should encourage the new trend, as they would be easy to expose.

    You would certainly think so. On the other hand…

    According to a 2007 national survey of biology teachers, 13% outright endorse creationism or ID in the classroom, 21% lend credence to creationism or ID as a valid alternative to evolution, and slightly more than that, 22.4% spend at least one hour of instruction time—unconstitutionally—on these non-scientific topics. There are about 3 million students taking high school biology in this country in any given year. So we can conclude that somewhere in the neighborhood of half a million students will be presented with a favorable view of creationism/ID this year in their high school biology classes alone.

    So maybe Dr Novella has a point?

  7. 7
    ET says:

    If they are teaching untestable pseudoscientific nonsense in public schools- which they are if they are teaching evolutionism- then it should be unconstitutional to do so.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Students should start challenging teachers on the merits of evolution by means of genetic drift and natural selection. Make the teachers tell you how to test the claim that those processes produced vision systems- for example. And when the teachers fall all over themselves trying to answer ask them how the concept is scientific seeing how it can’t be tested.

    Students are the people who can stop the indoctrination.

  9. 9
    cmow says:

    My high school sophomore is using Miller and Levine’s Biology textbook right now. I have talked with her about some of my objections to the Evolution chapters, but frankly, even as someone who follows this issue closely, I’ve got more important concerns with her education outside of biology class.

    Like the teacher who assigned her to write an pro/con essay about euthanasia, but explicitly said that using Christian-based arguments against it were not allowed. Or, making sure when she needs to use the girls bathroom, that she is aware that biological boys can use it too, if they identify differently. That was an interesting conversation.

    And I haven’t even gotten to practical teenager concerns like driving, paying for college, boys, etc… I’m fighting a war for the hearts and minds of my children, but the battle against the institution of bad biology curriculum is one that I have passed on.

  10. 10
    JSmith says:

    Cmow

    Like the teacher who assigned her to write an pro/con essay about euthanasia, but explicitly said that using Christian-based arguments against it were not allowed.

    I actually think that this is a good exercise. It forces the student to rely on cold hard logic and rational thought to support a view.

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