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42 Nobel Laureates Oppose Academic Freedom In Louisiana

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An open letter, signed by some 42 Nobel Laureates, has been sent to the Louisiana legislature and to Gov. Bobby Jindal regarding the 2008 Louisiana academic freedom bill, which offers protection to teachers who encourage critical thinking and objective discussion about evolution and other scientific topics.

The statement reads, in part:

Dear Members of the Louisiana Legislature,

As Nobel Laureates in various scientific fields, we urge you to repeal the misnamed and misguided Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA) of 2008. This law creates a pathway for creationism and other forms of non-scientific instruction to be taught in public school science classrooms.

The warning flags many of us raised about this law have now been proven justified. Members of the Livingston Parish School Board recently announced their desire to include creationism in the science curriculum for the 2011-2012 school year. Clearly, the LSEA is well understood by Louisiana school administrators and public officials as having created an avenue to incorporate the teaching of creationism into science curricula in Louisiana schools.

Louisiana’s students deserve to be taught proper science rather than religion presented as science. Science offers testable, and therefore falsifiable, explanations for natural phenomena. Because it requires supernatural explanations of natural phenomena, creationism does not meet these standards. Seventy-two Nobel Laureates addressed these issues in 1987 in an amicus brief in the Edwards vs. Aguillard U.S. Supreme Court case, which originated in Louisiana after the passage of a 1981 creationist law: Read the rest here>>>

The statement, revealingly, does not even so much as quote the Louisiana Science Education Act, which makes it abundantly clear that creationism is not allowed under the law. Instead, they refer to the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling and some other misguided statements from ill-informed school board members. Moreover, a quarter of those who signed the statement also signed a 2005 letter from 39 Nobel Laureates, making it clear — under no uncertain terms — that evolution is “an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

And what subjects, exactly, did the 42 Nobel Laureates earn their prizes in? 17 in physics; 17 in chemistry; and 8 in physiology/medicine.

One wonders, once again, what these people have to fear from a fair and balanced examination of a theory. No other scientific theory is shielded in such a way from criticism and scrutiny. When one looks closely at the science, I think the reason becomes very clear — they don’t have the facts and evidence going for them, and so they resort to this kind of state protection. Otherwise, they might just have to defend it. And we all know where that would lead…

Why does getting a prize in some obscure thing make them more to be listened to then ‘scientists” who didn’t get a prize?
I once got a prize for obscurantism. Why is it no one listens to me? Mung
MedsRex Our very lack of familiarity with passages that are so patently foundational, is telling. Somebody worked out what science was about and how it worked, and what its limitations were. They were put in the no 1 and no 2 books by the most eminent modern scientists, by that said scientist, the author. They have vanished down the hole that the conveniently forgotten are flushed into. When someone fishes them up, they are dismissed routinely as "oh that's just KF's rhetorical tactic, to use quotes as though they proved something" -- anti evo and/or ATBC folks, I have seen your dismissals -- while the force of the evidence they bring to the table is dodged. We need to think again, and correct the secularist, ideologised censored version of the history of ideas we have been taught. In the case of Judge Jones as cited above through Wiki, we see the damage that the Orwellian Ministry of Truth can do by converting history into secularist myth. The 42 Nobel Prize winners evidently were not aware of what the chief founding father of modern physics has to say on scientific methods and their limitations. Or, on the links to worldview level thought,a nd the import of those onward issues for society and for our moral self government. And as for the time and place of the remarks, I am ever more suspicious of the political intent involved. For, if this is going to work as a handy tree branch for a high tech media lynching of an outstanding potential US presidential candidate, the whole world has a stake on that, given the importance of the US in international affairs. Someone needs to ask those signatories some very probing questions, on the record. And if they refuse to be asked such questions, then that fact too needs to be reckoned with when we look at the declaration they made. So, Nobel Prize holders [and a certain judge over in Dover, PA], what do you have to say about the gap between your remarks, and the sort of things we may read in Newton? Wallace? Haldane? Lewontin, etc, etc? GEM of TKI kairosfocus
KF @7 & 8: the Newton clips you provided are awe inspiring. They truly deepen my appreciation for the potential within real science to accomplish beautiful things in this world. It does sadden me that I have never read those before. Although I'm pretty well read in many subjects, I have to admit that for many years I operated under the common delusion that only "secular" thinkers have anything important to say. Stated only to point out that the cultural bias you allude to extends far beyond the realms of science. MedsRex
if these prize people matter then why not the whole public? Indeed if they have the right to have their way on origin teachings why not the public? Why do they know better or have better motives/ Why could not they be simply evolutionists wanting to stop any chance of creationism and not really seeing a threat to science teaching? They are clearly saying creationism is not true. Thats their opinion. Is that the official policy of the state. If so is it legal? Why does getting a prize in some obscure thing make them more to be listened to then 'scientists" who didn't get a prize? Why does some ability in some subject give them a greater say then others? They should stick to their subject and leave origin issues alone. if they deal with origin issues then prove they know better then the people. Robert Byers
F/N: Don't over look the timing issue. [Pardon the comment by an overseas onlooker, citizens of the USA; but the name of science must not be abused in the way I underscore below, if it is to retain credibility for the long haul, vital for our civilisation's survival.] The 42 have issued a deceitful but persuasive talking point for the hack media to use in 2011 -- on a law that has been on the books since 2008. So plainly this is in a major part a political move, doubtless designed to scotch the 2012 electoral chances of Bobby Jindall (an Indian American, conservative, very bright and capable Governor with a solid track record) by giving ammunition for a public opinion lynching. kairosfocus
Folks: Did you ever wonder why clips like the above are not instantly familiar to us as educated people? Given the ideological agendas and censorship of science and science education they instantly overturn, no prizes for guessing why. Ever so sadly revealing about the temper and trends of our times. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
H'mm: Let us hear that perfectly wise judge, John E. "Copycat" Jones, III, in his Dover trial verdict, as cited by Wiki immediately following the above clip:
Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena.... While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science. This self-imposed convention of science, which limits inquiry to testable, natural explanations about the natural world, is referred to by philosophers as "methodological naturalism" and is sometimes known as the scientific method. Methodological naturalism is a "ground rule" of science today which requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.[3] ___________ 3] ^ Judge John E. Jones, III Decision of the Court Expert witnesses were John F. Haught, Robert T. Pennock, and Kenneth R. Miller. Links in the original to specific testimony records have been deleted here.
Now, let us put these ever so credible and augustly authoritative experts before the bar of the easily accessible recorded fact in the single greatest work of modern science, Newton's Principia. Let us cite the General Scholium: ___________________ >>. . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler . . . . It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. [i.e accepts the cosmological argument to God.] . . . We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. [That is, implicitly rejects chance, Plato's third alternative and explicitly infers to the Designer of the Cosmos.] But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from. the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy. [Nat Phil, of course, is the older -- and perhaps wiser -- name for especially the physical sciences] >> ____________________ Likewise, Opticks, Query 31 (which defines the generic scientific method as commonly taught in schools) is crisp: _______________ >> . . . it seems probable to me, that God in the Beginning form'd Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable Particles, of such Sizes and Figures, and with such other Properties, and in such Proportion to Space, as most conduced to the End for which he form'd them; and that these primitive Particles being Solids, are incomparably harder than any porous Bodies compounded of them; even so very hard, as never to wear or break in pieces; no ordinary Power being able to divide what God himself made one in the first Creation. While the Particles continue entire, they may compose Bodies of one and the same Nature and Texture in all Ages: But should they wear away, or break in pieces, the Nature of Things depending on them, would be changed. Water and Earth, composed of old worn Particles and Fragments of Particles, would not be of the same Nature and Texture now, with Water and Earth composed of entire Particles in the Beginning. And therefore, that Nature may be lasting, the Changes of corporeal Things are to be placed only in the various Separations and new Associations and Motions of these permanent Particles . . . . Now by the help of [[the laws of motion], all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention'd, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it's unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form'd, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages . . . . As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover'd, and establish'd as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations . . . . And if natural Philosophy in all its Parts, by pursuing this Method, shall at length be perfected, the Bounds of Moral Philosophy will be also enlarged. For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature.>> _______________ The record, from the pen of the leading founder of Modern Science in C17 - 18, could not be more clear. Plainly, Newton was a design, creation oriented – and indeed, Bible- based – theistic thinker, who practised science as thinking God's creative and organising thoughts after him. He also specifically distinguished the origin of the cosmos and its components, from the ongoing operations "for many Ages," laying a foundation for the distinction between origins science and operations science studies. Moreover, in both of his major scientific works, he highlighted that inferring to “the counsel” of an “an intelligent Agent” [[Opticks, Query 31] or “an intelligent and powerful Being” [[Principia, General Scholium] as the source and foundation of the cosmos has significant moral implication, as does the opposite view: holding that the complex, organised world is the product of “a Chaos” of chance circumstances and forces/laws of mechanical necessity. In that context, he saw that it is not only legitimate but important to address worldview foundation issues (which are freighted with implications for how we govern ourselves and develop our civilisation) in the context of addressing origins on the evidence of science. In short, we have most excellent precedent for an integrated, design-oriented overview of origins science and associated issues! It can also be taken that Newton was expertly knowledgeable about the founding era of science, and that his remarks give a more accurate view of the mindset of the founders of modern science than C21 so-called experts. The only serious question on the table is whether these so-called experts were willfully ignorant, or were calculatedly deceitful. Then, we must examine the censorship and indoctrination they would impose on origins science and on science education in light of that plain want of integrity and scholarship. Governor Jindal is right, and the 42 Nobel Prize experts who have plainly timed their missive -- a 2011 reply to a 2008 law -- to try to scotch his prospects for running for president of the US in 2012 by giving talking points for the hack media to commit a public opinion lynching, are not. That sort of abuse of scientific celebrity is a grave disservice to science and to our civilisation. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Let's see: Wiki article, Naturalism (philosophy):
Naturalism is the belief that only natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural ones) operate in the world and that nothing exists beyond the natural world.[1] Natural laws are those we live with daily, for example, it gets dark at night. Natural laws also include the laws of modern science, such as those describing electrons, black holes and DNA. The strict naturalist believes that there are no supernatural agents or events, i.e., that there are only natural objects and events. Philosopher Paul Kurtz notes two senses to naturalism. First, nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles, that is, by mass and energy; physical and chemical properties. Second, all scientific endeavor—all hypotheses and events—is to be explained and tested within methodological naturalism's reference of natural causes and events.[2] Naturalism in Kurtz's first sense, insisting that nature is all there is, is called metaphysical naturalism or philosophical naturalism. In the second sense, methodological naturalism provides assumptions within which to conduct science. Methodological naturalism is a way of acquiring knowledge. It is a distinct system of thought concerned with a cognitive approach to reality, and thus a philosophy of knowledge or epistemology . . . [This is immediately followed by a patently false and misleading quote on the history of science methods since C18, just compare Newton in Opticks, Query 31 [1704] and in the General Scholium to Principia, in the editions in the C18]
Ideological captivity under false colours of science and knowledge. That is what Lewontin acknowledged in the cite linked in 1 above,
To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists, it is self-evident that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality, and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test . . . . It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [[From: “Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. ]
And it is what Philip Johnson aptly rebuked:
For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [[Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them "materialists employing science." And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence. That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) "give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose." . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [[Emphasis added.] [[The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]
Ideological, worldview level question begging indoctrination and censorship are not roads to knowledge and truth. GEM of TKI kairosfocus
Contrary to what the thought police (some of whom are Nobel Laureates) would like the naive public masses to believe, the fact remains that creationism is not necessarily introduced when Darwinism is questioned. Notice in the last paragraph of the letter the very smooth insertion of "biological evolution" in-between the opening sentence of "scientific knowledge" and the concluding sentence's plea for "science". The point of course, is that science and knowledge cannot exist unless it includes "biological evolution" (which is really evo-speak for macroevolution). No, 42 Nobel Laureates on High, we are not that dense. And lastly, the 42 on High say.... "Science offers testable, and therefore falsifiable, explanations for natural phenomena." I agree. Now test naturalism by that same standard. Bantay
Time for a song! 42 nobel laureates have signed, 42 have signed take one down, nope it's a clown, 41 nobel laureates have signed... Joseph
'And what subjects, exactly, did the 42 Nobel Laureates earn their prizes in? 17 in physics; 17 in chemistry; and 8 in physiology/medicine.' What out of all that achievement, not one earned a Nobel for creating life from scratch, or for evolving one species into another species??? “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.” Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and Agnes Babloyantz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28. "Perhaps the most obvious challenge is to demonstrate evolution empirically. There are, arguably, some 2 to 10 million species on earth. The fossil record shows that most species survive somewhere between 3 and 5 million years. In that case, we ought to be seeing small but significant numbers of originations (new species) .. every decade." Keith Stewart Thomson, Professor of Biology and Dean of the Graduate School, Yale University (Nov. -Dec. American Scientist, 1997 pg. 516) “Whatever we may try to do within a given species, we soon reach limits which we cannot break through. A wall exists on every side of each species. That wall is the DNA coding, which permits wide variety within it (within the gene pool, or the genotype of a species)-but no exit through that wall. Darwin's gradualism is bounded by internal constraints, beyond which selection is useless." R. Milner, Encyclopedia of Evolution (1990) Selection and Speciation: Why Darwinism Is False - Jonathan Wells: Excerpt: there are observed instances of secondary speciation — which is not what Darwinism needs — but no observed instances of primary speciation, not even in bacteria. British bacteriologist Alan H. Linton looked for confirmed reports of primary speciation and concluded in 2001: “None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another.” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2009/05/selection_and_speciation_why_d.html bornagain77
These "42 Nobel Laureates" commit the fallacy of appeal to authority. This is the same fallacy the mainstream media committed before the financial crisis struck, when they were telling us that all the "financial experts", read Nobel laureates, affirmed that we would have a "soft landing". The reality is that it was a crash into a mountain for many, many, people. Anyway, I agree with their statement that "Science offers testable, and therefore falsifiable, explanations for natural phenomena" - with a very high degree of certainty I board airplanes confident that I will reach my destination. Flight is testable and has not been falsified. If the plane crashes there is a valid reason for it that does not violate natural law. Evolution - is not testable nor falsifiable, it is just part of a worldview on how to interpret the evidence about origins. For evolution, if the evidence requires millions of years then so be it; if it is a living fossil, then evolution was at a standstill for millions of years; if super-complex life forms suddenly appear in the fossil record, then evolution just happened very fast (punctuated equilibrium anyone). Evolution is wishful thinking, plain storytelling, that makes up explanations as it goes along. aedgar
Cf here on what is really being pushed into the science classrooms, and by whom. kairosfocus

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