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Darwin’s defender declares war over adverb in school standards

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Must have been warm down there in January. In South Carolina, according to the Palmetto Post and Courier:

Biology professor Robert T. Dillon’s job teaching genetics and evolution at the College of Charleston has little to do with editing, but he’s found himself chasing three adverbs with a red pen for nearly a decade.

Dillon said in an interview Wednesday that he knows he and his advocacy group, South Carolinians for Science Education, are “sensitive” when it comes to pages 49 and 78 of South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade science standards.

But three adverbs on those pages mean more than they appear to, he said, as they ask students to “critically” analyze topics dealing with climate change and evolution. The standards read simply “analyze” in all of the other standards.

“I just don’t like these three … words!” Dillon said in an interview. “How could that be so hard [to change]? They’re trying to make evolution appear controversial, they’re trying to make it somehow different. Well, it is controversial, but the controversy is political or religious, it’s not scientific. It’s this richly symbolic situation.”

So, his bitch is with “critically”? The Uncommon Descent news desk has been engaged in a decades-long war against his “richly symbolic,” which includes carpet-bombing with red pens.

Apparently, Prof Dillon’s peeve is over “alternative theories of evolution,” which he sees as introducing creationism. Maybe where he lives. In general, however, tell that one to Uchicago James Shapiro,who is pioneering discussions of alternative theories of evolution and taking heat for it—but is not a creationist. The Palmetto State could always catch up.

See from just yesterday, for example: Self-organization theorist publishes new paper on non-Darwinian means of evolution


Origin of life: Is RNA world overlapping with self-organization theory (because it is otherwise impossible?)
The big question in origin of life is really “Can we wring information from matter — shake the bit out of the it?”

Re alternative theories of evolution, train left station some while back.

Hat tip: Slawek Bioslawek

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6 Replies to “Darwin’s defender declares war over adverb in school standards

  1. 1
    OldArmy94 says:

    I agree with the good professor that there should be consistency across the board; simply add the word “critically” to ALL standards of scientific analysis. Unfortunately, Professor Dillon really doesn’t desire for that to occur. He wants simple abject obedience to Darwinism, and there is no need for anything other than acceptance in his mind.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note, it appears the word ‘evolution’ itself is highly superfluous in many papers:

    “In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

    At the 7:00 minute mark of this following video, Dr. Behe gives an example of how evidence is falsely attributed to evolution by using the word ‘evolution’ as a sort of coda in peer-reviewed literature:

    Michael Behe – Life Reeks Of Design – video

    Supplemental notes:

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case. It is difficult enough to study what is happening now. To figure out exactly what happened in evolution is even more difficult. Thus evolutionary achievements can be used as hints to suggest possible lines of research, but it is highly dangerous to trust them too much. It is all too easy to make mistaken inferences unless the process involved is already very well understood.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit (1988)

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Another word in need of ‘critical’ analysis, besides the word ‘evolution’ itself, is the word ‘random’:

    Evolution and the Illusion of Randomness – Talbott – Fall 2011
    Excerpt: In the case of evolution, I picture Dennett and Dawkins filling the blackboard with their vivid descriptions of living, highly regulated, coordinated, integrated, and intensely meaningful biological processes, and then inserting a small, mysterious gap in the middle, along with the words, “Here something random occurs.”
    This “something random” looks every bit as wishful as the appeal to a miracle. It is the central miracle in a gospel of meaninglessness, a “Randomness of the gaps,” demanding an extraordinarily blind faith. At the very least, we have a right to ask, “Can you be a little more explicit here?”

    “It is our contention that if ‘random’ is given a serious and crucial interpretation from a probabilistic point of view, the randomness postulate is highly implausible and that an adequate scientific theory of evolution must await the discovery and elucidation of new natural laws—physical, physico-chemical, and biological.”
    Murray Eden, “Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory,” Mathematical Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Interpretation of Evolution, editors Paul S. Moorhead and Martin M. Kaplan, June 1967, p. 109.

  4. 4
    Robert Byers says:

    Excellent. another dust up on controling conclusions that are taught to kids in schools.
    He is right. It suggests there is not a settled conclusion on evolution and global warming.
    There isn’t according to enough people.
    He is not the boss!
    They are demanding the nations children etc be taught their truth and that Christian doctrines are not true.
    The debate, and the continuing impossibility of a free nation living in a state censored educational system and censoring the wrong things.
    Its our kids and our country.
    South Carolinas creationists respond to this attack.
    They fired first eh?

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    ‘But three adverbs on those pages mean more than they appear to, he said, as they ask students to “critically” analyze topics dealing with climate change and evolution.’

    He’s perhaps just ‘into’ positive thinking, considering that even analysis, ipso facto, portending ‘let the chips fall where they may’, just muddies the water. He presumably just gives the highest marks to the most eloquent tributes to said creeds.

  6. 6
    EvilSnack says:

    A public school classroom consists of twenty to thirty children, who are ignorant of a given topic, being lectured to by the adult at the front of the room.

    Should we be surprised that every crank in creation is trying to dictate what that adult says?

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