Intelligent Design

Chance & Necessity Whackaloons Dropping Like Flies

Spread the love

Zogby poll conducted at the end of January finds 78% of likely US voters favor teaching both strengths and weaknesses of Darwin’s theory of evolution. The same poll conducted in 2006 found 69% favored teaching both sides of the controversy. We’re winning in the public square. Big time.

37 Replies to “Chance & Necessity Whackaloons Dropping Like Flies

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Of course, it is possible to support teaching the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution without necessarily believing that creationism or creation science or Intelligent Design offer credible alternatives. And it has been mentioned before but it bears repetition, the best scientific theories are not decided by popular vote.

  2. 2
    Upright BiPed says:

    scientific theories are not decided by popular vote

    Why this can’t be true…after all ID proponents are constantly reminded of the thwards of scientists who only dance to Darwinism.

    It is, in fact, a pervasive comment from the NCSE on down, repeated by the media machine at every turn.

    Perhaps you are simply mistaken.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    “the best scientific theories are not decided by popular vote.”

    I agree, the best scientific theories are decided by empirical evidence and Darwinian macro evolution has no empirical backing.

    So I am glad that Seversky agrees with us here.

  4. 4
    uoflcard says:

    Darwin was the only theory of evolution. Once it became obvious that some type of evolution had occured, it became accepted as fact. Nevermind that its mechanisms show zero ability to produce what we know exists in biological systems (and continues to lose ground the more we learn; Re: ENCODE project findings)

  5. 5
    Domoman says:

    Seversky,

    Of course, it is possible to support teaching the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution without necessarily believing that creationism or creation science or Intelligent Design offer credible alternatives.

    It does not, by necessity, mean that creationism or ID is true, but showing the weaknesses of neo-Darwinism will show how truly a lousy theory it is (if it could be called a theory).

    Once that idea is established (of neo-Darwinism essentialy getting ROFL stomped), ID or creation are basically a step away. Of course there’s evolutionists who have realized that neo-Darwinism is a failed theory and are looking towards the idea of self-organization, but this also screams of a intelligence. (Who or what put the information into the universe for this to work in the first place?) I also have my own doubts about self-organization (if it can really happen then why aren’t planets littered with life?), but hey, it’s better than the utterly pointless theory of evolution.

  6. 6
    KRiS says:

    But why must we limit ourselves to Evolution? If we are to teach the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, then we need to teach the strengths and weaknesses of every scientific theory that is taught in school. After all, it’s about stronger science education, not just stronger origins education, right? That smacks of religion, and ID is not, I repeat NOT religious in nature. For instance, among other things, we should be teaching that the theory of gravity is incapable of explaining why our universe appears to be expanding at an accelerated rate, so it is therefore a weak theory. We should be teaching that the Big Bang theory cannot explain exactly where the matter and energy necessary for the Big Bang came from, and is therefore a weak theory.

    Basically, any science content in school must (in the interest of better education) include reasons why that science is probably wrong.

  7. 7
    bb says:

    Question:
    Is there a difference between the terms self-organization and spontaneous generation?

  8. 8

    Funny, nice poke in the evolander eye.

    (not that polls or consensus have anything to do with truth).

    Still funny from a culture wars perspective.

  9. 9
    DaveScot says:

    KRiS

    If the weaknesses of general relativity are taught will the defenders of scientific dogma bring out the lawyers to stop it?

  10. 10
    Domoman says:

    DaveScot,

    I’m pretty sure they won’t bring out lawyers. Real theories don’t get in legal trouble. 😛

  11. 11
    Domoman says:

    Actually, let me re-phrase that. Real theories that don’t challenge neo-Darwinism, don’t get in legal trouble.

  12. 12
    Jehu says:

    If the weaknesses of general relativity are taught will the defenders of scientific dogma bring out the lawyers to stop it?

    No, but then general relativity is not the official state religion.

  13. 13
    MTMacPhee says:

    “We’re winning in the public square. Big time.”

    I forget. Is Dover’s Courthouse in the Public Square?

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    “I forget. Is Dover’s Courthouse in the Public Square?”

    Obviously not.

  15. 15
    KRiS says:

    The defenders of good scientific education almost certainly would if you were suggesting that only the strengths and weaknesses of general relativity be taught. The problem with teaching the strengths and weaknesses of only one theory to the exclusion of others is that it gives the false impression that the single theory being considered is the only one with weaknesses, whereas all other theories are considered essentially fact. This is an obvious and rather clumsy attempt to bias the student against that particular theory.

    Now I’m all for teaching the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories as long as you apply the same standard to all theories being presented in class. Then you end up with a situation where the student certainly sees the weaknesses of each theory, but also sees that it is still useful and true to the extent that it still answers many questions, even if it doesn’t (or doesn’t yet) answer every question relating to it. They would see that this applies to evolution just as much as it applies to any other theory. This would inspire actual critical thinking, instead of mere criticism of one theory and blind acceptance of all of the others.

  16. 16
    DaveScot says:

    MTMcPhee

    Had Dover been a jury trial I might be tempted to say it was in the public square but it wasn’t so no it’s not. The “public square” was the school district who had the audacity to want to teach both sides of the controversy.

    Do you think the large increase in voter preference for teaching the controversy might be in large part a backlash against Dover? Taking away freedom of speech from voters is usually not well received in the the United States. Essentially what happened in Dover is that a tiny minority told a large majority that they were not allowed to have anything critical about evolution introduced into the public schools where the majority’s children were in attendance. It’s not surprising this would raise even more hackles. It turns criticism of evolution into the proverbial forbidden fruit.

  17. 17
    DaveScot says:

    KRiS

    Perhaps we should then teach that theories are different from facts. For instance, it’s a fact that the earth revolves about the sun. General relativity is a theory which explains the fact. The theory may be wrong or incomplete but the fact is not. That there are many different kinds of living things on the earth all deeply related through shared similarities such as the genetic code is a fact. That they are related because they share a common ancestor and are different because of random mutation and natural selection is a theory which explains the fact. Again the theory may be wrong or incomplete but the fact still remains a fact.

    Practical matters such as time available to teach and importance of the theory to becoming a productive member of society impose limits on how much attention can and should be given to any particular facts and theories. Few people consider the anomalous and/or boundary conditions where general relativity fails to be of great practical import. They do however consider it very important to know that we as individuals and as a whole might not be here as a result of a random dance of atoms as this can lead an individual to believe that life is meaningless and nothing one does really matters because the universe has no purpose to begin with.

    Not everyone is going to agree and that’s where democracy comes into play, at least in principle, in the United States and other ostensibly democratically governed societies. If you believe that an elite few should make the practical decisions of what is taught in public schools and what is not then we have no common ground to discuss this any further. However if you believe in decisions being arrived at through the consensus of majorities of those impacted by the decisions then we have some common ground on which to proceed.

  18. 18
    JackInhofe says:

    DaveScot Post 16:

    Dave – Not to be a nit-picker or anything, but wasn’t there an election in Dover, even before the verdict was announced, where all the Creationist school board members that tried to get religion into the Dover system were voted out?

    So then, it wasn’t really a “tiny minority telling the majority” what to do. And since the establishment clause of the U S constitution guarantees the separation of church and state, clearly the school board acted in an illegal manner, which was confirmed by a judge appointed by George W Bush hisself.

    As a design advocate, I don’t want to have our biases interfere with researching and testing the Science Of Intelligent Design.

  19. 19
    Adel DiBagno says:

    DaveScot [17]

    Perhaps we should then teach that theories are different from facts. For instance, it’s a fact that the earth revolves about the sun.

    Darn right we should teach students how to tell the difference between observations and hypotheses!

    But I don’t think it’s ever been a fact that the earth revolves around the sun. It was a hypothesis during Galileo’s Inquisition trial and I reckon that it remains an hypothesis today – though well-supported by overwhelming empirical evidence.

  20. 20
    KRiS says:

    DaveScot

    Perhaps we should then teach that theories are different from facts.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this approach. I think it’s instructive and would lead to a greater capacity for critical thinking.

    Practical matters such as time available to teach and importance of the theory to becoming a productive member of society impose limits on how much attention can and should be given to any particular facts and theories.

    This is exactly why many people oppose the “strengths and weaknesses” approach to teaching. Given such constraints as you mentioned, teaching the strengths and weaknesses of every theory that crosses the students desk can become prohibitively time consuming. The option of teaching the strengths and weaknesses of only a single theory has the immediate consequence of creating confusion about that theory (which is, of course, the point). Again, this results from the false impression that only that theory has weaknesses while every other theory has only strengths. In addition, this creates immediate controversy because, as you point out, it needs to be decided which theory’s weaknesses are to be taught, and let’s be honest it’s always going to evolution that’s singled out. Even more it will always be for political and/or theological reasons (educational reasons such as “critical thinking” only entail singling out a theory, the choice of which is immaterial).

    The other option is to simply leave the question of strengths and weaknesses for another time and/or place and simply teach the student what the facts are and what the theories say about those facts. This allows the student to approach such questions later on from a position of understanding. Whether or not they are convinced by later debates (or even the initial class), they will at least understand what the theory itself says, which is the point of education at the high school level and below. Not having to choose one theory to single out avoids the type of controversy that the other option necessarily causes because the political/theological questions are not even a consideration when no choice needs to be made. Teaching science becomes simply a matter of explaining what the facts and theories actually are apart from any political or theological concerns.

  21. 21
    DaveScot says:

    Adel

    The earth orbiting the sun is a direct observation at this point in time. We can see it through, for example, the instrumentation on Mars orbiters. The position of the sun is tracked by the solar panels which have an optimized output when steered directly towards the sun. The communications antenna has optimal signal strength when pointed directly at the earth. The earth is thus directly observed traversing its orbit about the sun. Various other spacecraft make the same observations from different vantage points.

    Observation distinguishes facts from hypotheticals. Of course one may argue epistemology and assert that no obversations are truly trustworthy. If you want to do that you’ll have to do it with someone else.

  22. 22
    DaveScot says:

    KRiS

    Weaknesses ARE taught in many theories including general relativity. I’d be surprised if any modern HS physics textbook doesn’t point out that general relativity doesn’t explain gravity at the quantum scale or that the rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating or any of the few other anomalies. If they don’t they should.

  23. 23
    Adel DiBagno says:

    DaveScot:

    The earth orbiting the sun is a direct observation at this point in time…etc., etc…

    Exactly my point! Observations contribute to the confirmation of hypotheses.

    You might want to get your categories straight if you want to talk science.

  24. 24
    jerry says:

    How does one teach the evolution part of biology. First by saying there is no theory that explains the long term evolution as seen in the fossil record. Second small changes such as fur color, beak sizes or microbe changes can be explained by Darwin’s theory. The textbook and class room should expand on the second issue and ignore the first issue except to describe the fossil record and that there is no theory that works that can explain it.

    No need for strengths and weaknesses unless one wants to say what a theory can predict is its strengths. There should be no mention of Darwin in connection to long term species change and discussion of the origin of life should say there is no hypothesis that has any backing for how it started.

    The instructor could then move on to discuss what is known and important instead of wasting time on a bogus theory. Evolution would then take maybe one or two lessons and the student would be better off by not having to dodge bad science.

  25. 25
    DaveScot says:

    JackInhofe

    The old board was voted out because their actions, some of which were unethical if not illegal, got the school district into an expensive court battle the district could little afford to lose.

  26. 26
    DaveScot says:

    Adel

    Observations are facts. The earth revolving about the sun has been directly observed. It is not a hypothesis as observations are facts not conjectures.

    What part of that don’t you understand? Answer carefully if you wish to post in any of my threads in the future. I don’t tolerate stupidity well.

  27. 27
    Seversky says:

    DaveScot @ 17

    If you believe that an elite few should make the practical decisions of what is taught in public schools and what is not then we have no common ground to discuss this any further.

    No one is arguing that parents should not have a say in what is taught in schools. Obviously, they should. But if the child of one of those parents became ill they would almost certainly take it to a doctor to find out what was wrong and how to treat it. They would not ask a truck-driver or a farmer or Joe the Plumber, even though all those people are knowledgeable in their respective fields. When it comes to a question of expertise, you ask the relevant experts even if they could be characterized as an elite few.

    If you want your child taught the science you ask scientists what good is science. More specifically, if you want your child taught current thinking in biology, you ask biologists.

    If a parent decides on religious grounds that they do not want their child taught the theory of evolution then they should be entitled to withdraw the child from that class. What they should not be able to do insist that the science curriculum be censored to suit their personal religious preferences. Quite apart from the obvious similarity to communist regimes dictating that only politically-correct science be taught in their schools, others may want their children to be taught evolution if that is what those best qualified to judge tell them is the best current thinking.

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    —-seversky:

    —-“No one is arguing that parents should not have a say in what is taught in schools….
    ….
    —–“When it comes to a question of expertise, you ask the relevant experts even if they could be characterized as an elite few.”

    Since these two sentences contradict each other, you need affirm one of them and negate the other. Then we can discuss the merits of the one you choose.

  29. 29
    Seversky says:

    StephenB @ 28

    —-”No one is arguing that parents should not have a say in what is taught in schools….
    ….
    —–”When it comes to a question of expertise, you ask the relevant experts even if they could be characterized as an elite few.”

    Since these two sentences contradict each other, you need affirm one of them and negate the other. Then we can discuss the merits of the one you choose.

    There is no contradiction. It is quite possible to argue that parents should have a say in how a school is run and what is taught as well as contending that they should also seek expert advice in areas where they are not themselves expert. There is no necessary concession of authority in recognizing the limits of one’s own knowledge and in considering and weighing the opinions of those who know more than oneself in a given area of expertise.

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    —–seversky: “There is no necessary concession of authority in recognizing the limits of one’s own knowledge and in considering and weighing the opinions of those who know more than oneself in a given area of expertise.”

    The issue is, it seems to me, whether or not the parent may refuse to concede that authority on the grounds that the alleged expert is not really an expert at all. Let’s say I am a parent. After finding out that 95.8% of evolutionary biologists are agnostic/atheist,(a well-documented fact), I become concerned that one of these “experts” will teach my child that design is an illusion. Let’s also assume that, regardless of my own level of education, I have good reasons to believe that design is real and I would prefer to shape my child’s education around that principle. Do I have a say in whether this so-called expert undercuts my efforts to shape my childs education?

  31. 31
    DaveScot says:

    Seversky

    re; who makes curriculum decisions

    you ask the relevant experts even if they could be characterized as an elite few

    That’s one option. It’s not a law. Also, when experts disagree, what do you then do? In this case experts disagree about about certain aspects of organic evolution. In my opinion the registered voters in the school district should make these decisions or elect representatives to make them. People have a right to make their own decisions and that necessarily includes making decisions that others might view as poor decisions.

  32. 32
    Seversky says:

    It is reasonable to accept that parents should have the final say in the welfare – which includes education – of their children. The only exception should be where a child’s well-being and rights are being demonstrably harmed by its parents. If, to take an extreme example, a child were being locked in a small room for most of the day and only being allowed out for meals or to go to the bathroom or to perform menial housekeeping chores for the mother then society has a duty to intervene on behalf of the child. And it would be no defense for the parents to claim that they were acting in accordance with the tenets of their faith.

    What is good science can only be decided by scientists. Who else is competent? On the specific question of intelligent design, if the majority of biologists agree that it has not yet established itself as a theory in the scientific sense of the word then that is all that should be taught, nothing more and nothing less. Teachers should not introduce their personal beliefs whichever way they lean.

    What is taught in schools should be decided by a legislature on the recommendations of a committee deputed to investigate the matter in detail. If you are going to have a public school system which attempts to ensure that all children receive the same basic education regardless of faith or race or wealth then there has to be a basic or core curriculum and standards of achievement that are common to all.

    If parents want to opt out of the the public school system on religious or other grounds then they should be free to do so, but it should be on the understanding that if they want their children to earn the qualifications required by employers or for access to further education they will have to meet the established standards. That aside, there is nothing to prevent parents teaching their children pretty much whatever they like, outside school, so long as they stay within the law.

  33. 33
    DaveScot says:

    Seversky

    What is good science can only be decided by scientists. Who else is competent?

    fox:henhouse

  34. 34
    jerry says:

    “What is good science can only be decided by scientists. Who else is competent? On the specific question of intelligent design, if the majority of biologists agree that it has not yet established itself as a theory in the scientific sense of the word then that is all that should be taught, nothing more and nothing less. Teachers should not introduce their personal beliefs whichever way they lean.”

    The argument from authority. The only fall back that those who support Darwin have. Those who use it condemn the thing they defend as bogus.

    Thank you Seversky for helping us here make our case. That is why we love people like you here.

  35. 35
    jerry says:

    “If parents want to opt out of the the public school system on religious or other grounds then they should be free to do so, but it should be on the understanding that if they want their children to earn the qualifications required by employers or for access to further education they will have to meet the established standards”

    What utter hypocrisy. Do you know how expensive it is to run a school these days? Where I live the average per child expenditure approaches $20,000 a year in the public schools and the private schools charge near that much for the elite and the Catholic schools have to charge over $5,000 for grade school and much higher for high school.

    What a pathetically stupid comment. Such a comment only comes from someone with an oppressive agenda. Someone who wants to impose uniformity on the people and one who does not care what others think.

    Again thank you Seversky for your comments. You make it so much easier when you speak your thoughts.

  36. 36
    Seversky says:

    Jerry @ 34

    The argument from authority. The only fall back that those who support Darwin have. Those who use it condemn the thing they defend as bogus.

    You seem to have missed my comment on another thread concerning the alleged fallacy of the argument from authority:

    …it should be noted that the fallacy is more accurately stated as an appeal to inappropriate authority.

    On a question in the field of biology, for example, it is perfectly proper to cite the opinions of professional biologists and argue that they carry greater weight than those of non-biologists, even if they are professional scientists other fields such as quantum mechanics. By the same argument, we would take Barry Arrington’s opinion on a question of law as being more authoritative than that of Joe the Plumber, for example.

  37. 37
    jerry says:

    Seversky,

    There is an old saying. When you are in a hole, quit digging. But you seem to want to bury yourself.

    We have had evolutionary biologists who have come here and people who have a degree in evolutionary biology and they cannot defend Darwin. So I ask you why?

    But keep digging, it makes our job easier.

    By the way the appeal to authority has always been an appeal to appropriate authority. I never thought Judge Jones was an appropriate authority but nearly every Darwinist does. You just keep the wrong company.

    We have a lot of shovel ready projects for you to do in case you don’t bury yourself alive.

Leave a Reply