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Anti-science in Tennessee Classrooms

A new law opens the door to teaching creationism and climate change denialism in the state's public schools.

By | April 12, 2012

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, STRNGWRLDFRWL FROM JAPAN

Public school educators in Tennessee can now teach their students the tenets of creationism, intelligent design, and global warming skepticism with impunity, according to opponents of a new law in the state. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declined to either sign or veto the state's so-called "monkey bill," which prohibits public school officials from stopping a teacher who aims to teach alternatives to well-established scientific theories such as evolution and global climate change. As a result, HB 368 became law on Tuesday (April 10).

Proponents of science education had been urging Haslam to veto the bill after Tennessee's state Senate and House of Representatives passed it by a 3-to-1 margin last month.

The new law—which makes Tennessee the second state to open public school doors to the teaching of creationism, intelligent design, and climate change skepticism after Louisiana enacted a similar law 3 years ago—states that educators "shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught." It highlights specific topics that can stir the pot, "including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy."

Opponents of the legislation see red flags in the topics the law singles out. "HB 368 and other bills like it are a permission slip for teachers to bring creationism, climate-change denial, and other non-science into science classrooms," Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in Oakland, California, told Nature.

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Avatar of: p_melanchthon

p_melanchthon

Posts: 3

April 12, 2012

Thank heavens we are beginning to see cracks in the monopoly of the thought police.  It is about time the doors were open and some air let in on the issue of human-caused global warming.  Moreover, the 'theory' of evolution is in contravention of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  In this current generation we are able to see the the human genome's deterioration.  We need to teach people to think creatively and not be slaves to unproven theories.

Avatar of: MrEdmonton

MrEdmonton

Posts: 9

April 12, 2012

 If you think that evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then you do not know what the 2nd law of thermodynamics is.

Avatar of: Shana Cuddy

Shana Cuddy

Posts: 1457

April 12, 2012

The 2nd law of thermodynamics only applies to a closed system, not individually to all parts within a closed system. We constantly see instances of one part of a closed system becoming more orderly, this does not necessarily mean that the closed system as a whole is not increasing in entropy due to other parts of the system adding to that entropy.

According to your flawed understanding of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, cold weather would violate the law, because cold air has less entropy than warm air. Do you also believe that cold weather does not exist and is a conspiracy?

Avatar of: Shana Cuddy

Shana Cuddy

Posts: 1457

April 12, 2012

I find it amusing that you state people should "think creatively and not be slaves," yet you obviously simply copied that bit about the 2nd law of thermodynamics from some creationist website without even looking up what the law even is! If you had taken 5 minutes out of your day to just google what the laws of themodynamics actually are, you would easily see that evolution does not in fact contradict it. But you are so lacking in critical thinking that you just read someone say "evolution contradicts the 2nd law" and accept it as fact and repeat it here without even bothering to find out what the 2nd law even means!  Then you lecture people to "think creatively," when you can't even think for yourself!

Avatar of: Mantismech

Mantismech

Posts: 1

April 12, 2012

Creationism, is it a fact or theory? Wonder if there ever will be Nobel Prize for creation scientist?

Avatar of: Brandt Hardin

Brandt Hardin

Posts: 1

April 12, 2012

This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the
seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument
against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The
Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into
our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd
law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...
with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

Avatar of: Shana Cuddy

Shana Cuddy

Posts: 1457

April 12, 2012

Does anyone else here agree that there is no argument more arrogant and ignorant than "evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics," which has been popping up more and more recently by creationists? First off, it doesn't. But second of all, the laws of thermodynamics are some of the most fundamental principles in physics. To believe that evolution violates the 2nd law means you ACTUALLY BELIEVE that in the last 150 years, no physicists have noticed that evolution violates one of the most basic principles of physics and clued in the biologists or taken a public stance on this. It reflects such a blind hatred and disdain for scientists that such people honestly believe that these physicists can put a man on the moon or invent the atom bomb and the hadron collider, yet nary a one is even aware of the laws of thermodynamics. Nope, according to this train of thought, a Bible literalist like Ken Hovind is far, far more knowledgeable of physics than some rube like Einstein or Hawkings. Thank goodness we have these religious leaders to point out how the most basic principles of physics work, since physicists themselves are apparently incapable of doing so!

I feel this argument represents one of the best examples out there for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Avatar of: howarddoughty

howarddoughty

Posts: 11

April 12, 2012

I started visiting the US in 1951 and have travelled to 38 states during too many trips to recall. I also lived, studied and worked in the US (mostly California and Hawai'i) for a time in 1961, 1967-1970 and 2006-2007. I love elements of the American culture from jazz to baseball to literature to the kindness and generosity of many of its (individual) people. My tongue in not in my cheek when I say that most of my best friends really are Americans.

In 1951 and 1961, I was impressed with the comparative wealth and energy everywhere around me. In the late sixties, I was impressed by the integrity of the politically active young. In this new millennium, I am increasingly appalled, but no longer shocked by the almost statutory ignorance exhibited by and incivility shown to other Americans.

Where I once was excited, I have become cynical and occasionally flirt with nihilism when contemplating the fate of the republic and its citizens. Once a dynamic, liberal and progressive society, it has become a sort of Westernized Iran. Perhaps there is truth in the belief that you should study your "enemy" closely, for you will soon be like him.

Where is Stephen Jay Gould when you NEED him?

Avatar of: GDStormo

GDStormo

Posts: 1

April 12, 2012

It is clear that the intent of the legislation is to undermine science teaching. But rather than respond in the predictable way I suggest that NCSE, and others interested in science education, take the challenge head on. It is a sad fact that most elementary through high school science classes (and even many college classes) teach science as if it was a list of facts to memorize rather than a process to obtain knowledge. I think this is an opportunity to devise a curriculum that teaches students how to distinguish science from pseudoscience. There are lots of examples to use, from astrology to creationism to various fads and they could be used to teach the fundamental characteristics of scientific inquiry. Of course I don't expect them to actually adopt such a curriculum (although some schools might) but it would force them to abandon the charade that they want to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective
manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing
scientific theories" but providing them with the real tools to do that.

Avatar of: duporter

duporter

Posts: 4

April 12, 2012

Thanks for this, Bob. It reminds me of the time that the Indiana State Legislature declared pi to be 3. It made the calculations so much easier.

Avatar of: duporter

duporter

Posts: 4

April 12, 2012

Thanks for sharing this, Bob. It reminds me of the time that the Indiana State Legislature decreed that pi equals 3. This made it so much easier to do the math.

Avatar of: duporter

duporter

Posts: 4

April 12, 2012

Thanks for sharing this, Bob. It reminds me of the time that the Indiana State Legislature decreed that pi equals 3. This made it so much easier to do the math.

Avatar of: pretorien

pretorien

Posts: 1

April 12, 2012

I think it is very unfortunate that "creationism" and "climate change denial" are grouped together with implied equivalence in the headlines and discussions surrounding this unfortunate piece of legislation.

Creationism, to me, represents a clear attack on a very well established body of scientific work. The whole issue of climate change, or more particularly the  genesis thereof, has been confounded by questionable science, clear misbehavior, and political meddling.

I believe the scientific community and most particularly those who speak for it should take some pains to distinguish between the two.

Avatar of: MarcWathelet

MarcWathelet

Posts: 2

April 12, 2012

It is amusing to read "teach their students the tenets of creationism, intelligent design, and global warming skepticism with impunity" when I thought skepticism was one of the pillar of the scientific method... 

Global warming skepticism is certainly warranted and shared by many scientists, including prominent ones in the concerned fields. I won't go in the details of the science itself but just the fact that there is very strong evidence of data manipulation and outright fraud justifies a healthy skepticism. So does the medieval warm period, which was recently shown to have been global, with higher temperature than today,  and the world did not come to an end. 

Meanwhile, changes in temperature on earth and other planets can be accounted for by fluctuations in solar activity, imagine that, how crazy!

So who is anti-science? Those who want to punish healthy skepticism? Global climate changes is not a "well-established scientific theory" and should not be put on the same level as evolution theory, which, while it has shortcomings in its explanatory power, remains a very useful theory in biology and qualifies as well-established.

Avatar of: MrEdmonton

MrEdmonton

Posts: 9

April 12, 2012

Ideally what Tennessee teachers should do, given the new law, is to contrast the creationism/intelligent design "theories" with biological evolution and show their students just how badly the creationism ideas fail as science.

When they talk about global warming, they can once again demonstrate that the global warming deniers are not making scientific arguments at all, but rather are cherry picking oddities and making ad hiominem arguments about the people doing the real science.

That way Tennesse high school graduates will become the best educated in the country, ready for dealing with the real world.

Oh, if it were only so.

Avatar of: P_Pilate

P_Pilate

Posts: 3

April 12, 2012

Intelligent design and creationism have no scientific foundation unless someone proves the existence of God.  Calling either of these "scientific alternatives" is like me saying a horse has five legs because I feel like including his tail in the mix.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Thank heavens we are beginning to see cracks in the monopoly of the thought police.  It is about time the doors were open and some air let in on the issue of human-caused global warming.  Moreover, the 'theory' of evolution is in contravention of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.  In this current generation we are able to see the the human genome's deterioration.  We need to teach people to think creatively and not be slaves to unproven theories.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

 If you think that evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then you do not know what the 2nd law of thermodynamics is.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

The 2nd law of thermodynamics only applies to a closed system, not individually to all parts within a closed system. We constantly see instances of one part of a closed system becoming more orderly, this does not necessarily mean that the closed system as a whole is not increasing in entropy due to other parts of the system adding to that entropy.

According to your flawed understanding of the 2nd law of thermodynamics, cold weather would violate the law, because cold air has less entropy than warm air. Do you also believe that cold weather does not exist and is a conspiracy?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

I find it amusing that you state people should "think creatively and not be slaves," yet you obviously simply copied that bit about the 2nd law of thermodynamics from some creationist website without even looking up what the law even is! If you had taken 5 minutes out of your day to just google what the laws of themodynamics actually are, you would easily see that evolution does not in fact contradict it. But you are so lacking in critical thinking that you just read someone say "evolution contradicts the 2nd law" and accept it as fact and repeat it here without even bothering to find out what the 2nd law even means!  Then you lecture people to "think creatively," when you can't even think for yourself!

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Creationism, is it a fact or theory? Wonder if there ever will be Nobel Prize for creation scientist?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the
seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument
against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The
Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into
our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd
law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...
with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Does anyone else here agree that there is no argument more arrogant and ignorant than "evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics," which has been popping up more and more recently by creationists? First off, it doesn't. But second of all, the laws of thermodynamics are some of the most fundamental principles in physics. To believe that evolution violates the 2nd law means you ACTUALLY BELIEVE that in the last 150 years, no physicists have noticed that evolution violates one of the most basic principles of physics and clued in the biologists or taken a public stance on this. It reflects such a blind hatred and disdain for scientists that such people honestly believe that these physicists can put a man on the moon or invent the atom bomb and the hadron collider, yet nary a one is even aware of the laws of thermodynamics. Nope, according to this train of thought, a Bible literalist like Ken Hovind is far, far more knowledgeable of physics than some rube like Einstein or Hawkings. Thank goodness we have these religious leaders to point out how the most basic principles of physics work, since physicists themselves are apparently incapable of doing so!

I feel this argument represents one of the best examples out there for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

I started visiting the US in 1951 and have travelled to 38 states during too many trips to recall. I also lived, studied and worked in the US (mostly California and Hawai'i) for a time in 1961, 1967-1970 and 2006-2007. I love elements of the American culture from jazz to baseball to literature to the kindness and generosity of many of its (individual) people. My tongue in not in my cheek when I say that most of my best friends really are Americans.

In 1951 and 1961, I was impressed with the comparative wealth and energy everywhere around me. In the late sixties, I was impressed by the integrity of the politically active young. In this new millennium, I am increasingly appalled, but no longer shocked by the almost statutory ignorance exhibited by and incivility shown to other Americans.

Where I once was excited, I have become cynical and occasionally flirt with nihilism when contemplating the fate of the republic and its citizens. Once a dynamic, liberal and progressive society, it has become a sort of Westernized Iran. Perhaps there is truth in the belief that you should study your "enemy" closely, for you will soon be like him.

Where is Stephen Jay Gould when you NEED him?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

It is clear that the intent of the legislation is to undermine science teaching. But rather than respond in the predictable way I suggest that NCSE, and others interested in science education, take the challenge head on. It is a sad fact that most elementary through high school science classes (and even many college classes) teach science as if it was a list of facts to memorize rather than a process to obtain knowledge. I think this is an opportunity to devise a curriculum that teaches students how to distinguish science from pseudoscience. There are lots of examples to use, from astrology to creationism to various fads and they could be used to teach the fundamental characteristics of scientific inquiry. Of course I don't expect them to actually adopt such a curriculum (although some schools might) but it would force them to abandon the charade that they want to "help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective
manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing
scientific theories" but providing them with the real tools to do that.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Thanks for this, Bob. It reminds me of the time that the Indiana State Legislature declared pi to be 3. It made the calculations so much easier.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Thanks for sharing this, Bob. It reminds me of the time that the Indiana State Legislature decreed that pi equals 3. This made it so much easier to do the math.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Thanks for sharing this, Bob. It reminds me of the time that the Indiana State Legislature decreed that pi equals 3. This made it so much easier to do the math.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

I think it is very unfortunate that "creationism" and "climate change denial" are grouped together with implied equivalence in the headlines and discussions surrounding this unfortunate piece of legislation.

Creationism, to me, represents a clear attack on a very well established body of scientific work. The whole issue of climate change, or more particularly the  genesis thereof, has been confounded by questionable science, clear misbehavior, and political meddling.

I believe the scientific community and most particularly those who speak for it should take some pains to distinguish between the two.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

It is amusing to read "teach their students the tenets of creationism, intelligent design, and global warming skepticism with impunity" when I thought skepticism was one of the pillar of the scientific method... 

Global warming skepticism is certainly warranted and shared by many scientists, including prominent ones in the concerned fields. I won't go in the details of the science itself but just the fact that there is very strong evidence of data manipulation and outright fraud justifies a healthy skepticism. So does the medieval warm period, which was recently shown to have been global, with higher temperature than today,  and the world did not come to an end. 

Meanwhile, changes in temperature on earth and other planets can be accounted for by fluctuations in solar activity, imagine that, how crazy!

So who is anti-science? Those who want to punish healthy skepticism? Global climate changes is not a "well-established scientific theory" and should not be put on the same level as evolution theory, which, while it has shortcomings in its explanatory power, remains a very useful theory in biology and qualifies as well-established.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Ideally what Tennessee teachers should do, given the new law, is to contrast the creationism/intelligent design "theories" with biological evolution and show their students just how badly the creationism ideas fail as science.

When they talk about global warming, they can once again demonstrate that the global warming deniers are not making scientific arguments at all, but rather are cherry picking oddities and making ad hiominem arguments about the people doing the real science.

That way Tennesse high school graduates will become the best educated in the country, ready for dealing with the real world.

Oh, if it were only so.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 12, 2012

Intelligent design and creationism have no scientific foundation unless someone proves the existence of God.  Calling either of these "scientific alternatives" is like me saying a horse has five legs because I feel like including his tail in the mix.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 13, 2012

It is a shame that The Scientist allows an article be posted that has in the same bag creationism/intelligent design and the skeptics about the much popular "theory" of human made catastrophic global warming. The number of eminent scientists and climatologists (most already retired) that are in a way "deniers", is vast but the working guys keep silent or are vocal for the fabricated "crisis". Governments and NGOs are for it: one for tax money, the other for money to run their operations (some worthwhile). The US government spent about 4 billion US$ on the human genome project and got almost 800 billion US$ in economic output in return for the investment. Also spent about 30 billion US$ on climate-change research. What was the output? Some improvement in weather forecast (we all know how much that is) and computer modeling for the next 50 or 100 years. I am sane enough to avoid trusting such modeling and I prefer to listen to eminent physicist Freeman Dyson about the real power of these simulations. With that amount of money for climate research there is strong incentive to sustain the "climate crisis" among the working guys. The late Michael Crichton compared the "climate crisis" with the eugenics movement that swept through the world since Francis Galton and generated a "consensus" studded with eminent names. Legislation was enacted in America and elsewhere to stop the "genetic crisis": degeneration of the human race by the offspring of mental cases, criminals, etc. Germany took the lead and went a little further - there was a superior race and we have to eliminate not only the crazy and the crippled but also the inferior: jews, blacks, gypsies, etc. Finally the tragedy of the Holocaust brought the intelligentsia to their senses and after the war all eugenists disappeared! We got out of the Little Ice Age by 1850. Before, the world basked in the Medieval Warming. When the next swing of climate hits us (it may be even the start of the next ice age) what will happen to the IPCC-supported "consensus"?

April 13, 2012

It is a shame that The Scientist allows an article be posted that has in the same bag creationism/intelligent design and the skeptics about the much popular "theory" of human made catastrophic global warming. The number of eminent scientists and climatologists (most already retired) that are in a way "deniers", is vast but the working guys keep silent or are vocal for the fabricated "crisis". Governments and NGOs are for it: one for tax money, the other for money to run their operations (some worthwhile). The US government spent about 4 billion US$ on the human genome project and got almost 800 billion US$ in economic output in return for the investment. Also spent about 30 billion US$ on climate-change research. What was the output? Some improvement in weather forecast (we all know how much that is) and computer modeling for the next 50 or 100 years. I am sane enough to avoid trusting such modeling and I prefer to listen to eminent physicist Freeman Dyson about the real power of these simulations. With that amount of money for climate research there is strong incentive to sustain the "climate crisis" among the working guys. The late Michael Crichton compared the "climate crisis" with the eugenics movement that swept through the world since Francis Galton and generated a "consensus" studded with eminent names. Legislation was enacted in America and elsewhere to stop the "genetic crisis": degeneration of the human race by the offspring of mental cases, criminals, etc. Germany took the lead and went a little further - there was a superior race and we have to eliminate not only the crazy and the crippled but also the inferior: jews, blacks, gypsies, etc. Finally the tragedy of the Holocaust brought the intelligentsia to their senses and after the war all eugenists disappeared! We got out of the Little Ice Age by 1850. Before, the world basked in the Medieval Warming. When the next swing of climate hits us (it may be even the start of the next ice age) what will happen to the IPCC-supported "consensus"?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 13, 2012

I got this comment in late.  I am commenting on the five legged horse because I was interupted when I started and just now was able to finish.  So please bear with me.  It is interesting that people who claim to be “of scienceâ€쳌 discourage investigations using the scientific method to analyze unpopular subjects.  It is like, “what are they afraid of?â€쳌  I know, “money.â€쳌  They are apparently afraid that they will not be funded because of money being spent on investigating a subject they disagree with.  Well, it is good to know that their concerns are “scientific.â€쳌  About the five legged horse, what if there was evidence for the existence of a five legged horse?  Would you want to investigate further?  It depends upon who is being paid to do the investigation.  If it were being done by scientists whose background indicates that they believe that five legged horses may have existed in the past, then they are disqualified because of their preconceived notions.  So, who should do the investigation?  Of course, someone who’s preconceived notions are that five legged horses do not exist, that’s who.  It appears to be the same with subjects such as Intelligent design and the like.
 
The fact is, the more we learn about the DNA molecule, the more we are seeing it as a complex network of interactive components that are highly specific and represent an organized entity that resembles a modern computer operating system in complexity.  In my opinion, to say that such a system arose by random selection of individual components is like saying Microsoft Windows was assembled by a troop of baboons.  On second thought, that might not be a good analogy because I have heard that Microsoft does have a room full of baboons kept just for the purpose of designing some of their more complex programs.  Sometimes when I am particularly frustrated at some of the command structures I encounter in that area, I half-way believe it may be true.
 
Anyway, I am glad that school systems are beginning to have the courage to investigate some of the more controversial areas of science such as Intelligent Design.  If you read about the history of the malaria parasite, you are exposed to what has been described as the limiting edge of evolution.  The parasite can change by random mutation but there is a limit to that change-potential.  However, scientists have not been able to create a system, under controlled conditions, that can overcome even that limited capacity to change.  Their efforts in this regard emulates millions of years of generational change that could be the equivalent to the entire history of an animal like, say a horse for instance.  According to such a limited-change model, it is easy to understand why there are no five legged horses around.  However, according to some scientific advocates, there is no apparent reason why there shouldn’t be any around today.   Surely, there are conditions on earth somewhere that may make having five legs some sort of advantage.   I wonder if there is any grant money available for researching that possibility.

Avatar of: rhampton4129

rhampton4129

Posts: 1

April 13, 2012

As a biologist and christian, it is refreshing to see that teachers will now be able to inform their students on more than one perspective. This can only enhance their critical thinking skills giving them the ability to decide what they beleive once they reach adulthood. Afterall, science is based on theory and not fact and evolution is a theory that does have flaws. 

Avatar of: RichardPatrock

RichardPatrock

Posts: 52

April 13, 2012

Everything has some scientific basis; it is just that many ideas can be dispensed with in short order. I have no problem with using creationism in schools as an alternative theory for the beginning of life but I can see where it will be very easy to get in trouble with parents, churches and the administration.  What happens when students think the teacher is belittling their beliefs when dissecting the core assumptions and 'facts' of creationism?  That is the real issue here.  You should see the looks that I've gotten from university students when I show the experiments that Redi, Pasteur and others have used to demonstrate that life does not begin but is a continuous process.  I don't even have to connect this to 'life does not begin at conception' to give some of these students a reason to squirm.  If you do this early enough, they will think you are p-ssing on their core beliefs.  Inject any real discussion on the biology of the bible and you are tipping over the proverbial apple cart.

Avatar of: __ology

__ology

Posts: 1457

April 13, 2012

We scientists need to be more vocal and inform the public what the difference is between an idea, a scientific theory, scientific fact and imagination or faith. We need to face this topic head on and make sure future generations are not confused by these ID or creationist "science" teachings. It's like playing Cowboys and Indians as a kid and thinking it was an equal fight, but then you grow up and
realize the Indians never had a chance.

The validity of science is not up for discussion. It is a rigorous discipline described by math. Intellectual Design and Creationism does not meet the criteria.

Avatar of: Nils Jansma

Nils Jansma

Posts: 1457

April 13, 2012

I got this comment in late.  I am commenting on the five legged horse because I was interupted when I started and just now was able to finish.  So please bear with me.  It is interesting that people who claim to be “of scienceâ€쳌 discourage investigations using the scientific method to analyze unpopular subjects.  It is like, “what are they afraid of?â€쳌  I know, “money.â€쳌  They are apparently afraid that they will not be funded because of money being spent on investigating a subject they disagree with.  Well, it is good to know that their concerns are “scientific.â€쳌  About the five legged horse, what if there was evidence for the existence of a five legged horse?  Would you want to investigate further?  It depends upon who is being paid to do the investigation.  If it were being done by scientists whose background indicates that they believe that five legged horses may have existed in the past, then they are disqualified because of their preconceived notions.  So, who should do the investigation?  Of course, someone who’s preconceived notions are that five legged horses do not exist, that’s who.  It appears to be the same with subjects such as Intelligent design and the like.
 
The fact is, the more we learn about the DNA molecule, the more we are seeing it as a complex network of interactive components that are highly specific and represent an organized entity that resembles a modern computer operating system in complexity.  In my opinion, to say that such a system arose by random selection of individual components is like saying Microsoft Windows was assembled by a troop of baboons.  On second thought, that might not be a good analogy because I have heard that Microsoft does have a room full of baboons kept just for the purpose of designing some of their more complex programs.  Sometimes when I am particularly frustrated at some of the command structures I encounter in that area, I half-way believe it may be true.
 
Anyway, I am glad that school systems are beginning to have the courage to investigate some of the more controversial areas of science such as Intelligent Design.  If you read about the history of the malaria parasite, you are exposed to what has been described as the limiting edge of evolution.  The parasite can change by random mutation but there is a limit to that change-potential.  However, scientists have not been able to create a system, under controlled conditions, that can overcome even that limited capacity to change.  Their efforts in this regard emulates millions of years of generational change that could be the equivalent to the entire history of an animal like, say a horse for instance.  According to such a limited-change model, it is easy to understand why there are no five legged horses around.  However, according to some scientific advocates, there is no apparent reason why there shouldn’t be any around today.   Surely, there are conditions on earth somewhere that may make having five legs some sort of advantage.   I wonder if there is any grant money available for researching that possibility.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 13, 2012

As a biologist and christian, it is refreshing to see that teachers will now be able to inform their students on more than one perspective. This can only enhance their critical thinking skills giving them the ability to decide what they beleive once they reach adulthood. Afterall, science is based on theory and not fact and evolution is a theory that does have flaws. 

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 13, 2012

Everything has some scientific basis; it is just that many ideas can be dispensed with in short order. I have no problem with using creationism in schools as an alternative theory for the beginning of life but I can see where it will be very easy to get in trouble with parents, churches and the administration.  What happens when students think the teacher is belittling their beliefs when dissecting the core assumptions and 'facts' of creationism?  That is the real issue here.  You should see the looks that I've gotten from university students when I show the experiments that Redi, Pasteur and others have used to demonstrate that life does not begin but is a continuous process.  I don't even have to connect this to 'life does not begin at conception' to give some of these students a reason to squirm.  If you do this early enough, they will think you are p-ssing on their core beliefs.  Inject any real discussion on the biology of the bible and you are tipping over the proverbial apple cart.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 13, 2012

We scientists need to be more vocal and inform the public what the difference is between an idea, a scientific theory, scientific fact and imagination or faith. We need to face this topic head on and make sure future generations are not confused by these ID or creationist "science" teachings. It's like playing Cowboys and Indians as a kid and thinking it was an equal fight, but then you grow up and
realize the Indians never had a chance.

The validity of science is not up for discussion. It is a rigorous discipline described by math. Intellectual Design and Creationism does not meet the criteria.

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Posts: 0

April 14, 2012

Special creation is to be taught in the classroom then? I might not mind so much if all of the myths and fictions that address special creation were to be taught. After all Hummingbird's magic ball of clay, the one he brought from the world below ours in order to make our world, has as much plausibility as the creation myth that opens the Book of Genesis, and if you taught them all you could avoid charges of religious discrimination.....

Avatar of: aliceandthecat

aliceandthecat

Posts: 2

April 14, 2012

Special creation is to be taught in the classroom then? I might not mind so much if all of the myths and fictions that address special creation were to be taught. After all Hummingbird's magic ball of clay, the one he brought from the world below ours in order to make our world, has as much plausibility as the creation myth that opens the Book of Genesis, and if you taught them all you could avoid charges of religious discrimination.....

Avatar of: Belinda Lawrence

Belinda Lawrence

Posts: 2

April 15, 2012

I consider myself a budding scientist and find it difficult to believe that human beings and their activities are not causing some impacts on the our climate and environment. To say that the current trend of warming is probably because of a "little ice age" is naive. This phenomena is just too complex to t the least quickly label ati and move aside and at the most, be able to conduct a simple, viable 'test' to support or deny this 'hypothesis'.

 Sorry, but Michael Crichton's book left me rather frustrated and frankly wondering what happened to Crichton's sense of 'science'. His other books were truly amazing.

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Posts: 0

April 15, 2012

I consider myself a budding scientist and find it difficult to believe that human beings and their activities are not causing some impacts on the our climate and environment. To say that the current trend of warming is probably because of a "little ice age" is naive. This phenomena is just too complex to t the least quickly label ati and move aside and at the most, be able to conduct a simple, viable 'test' to support or deny this 'hypothesis'.

 Sorry, but Michael Crichton's book left me rather frustrated and frankly wondering what happened to Crichton's sense of 'science'. His other books were truly amazing.

Avatar of: Ung-Jin Kim

Ung-Jin Kim

Posts: 1457

April 16, 2012

What a country.

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Posts: 0

April 16, 2012

What a country.

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Posts: 0

April 20, 2012

How true.

Hummingbird, huh?  Don't know that one.  Sounds way too pacific, though.  Probably no smiting or fighting or killing in the name of God.  Never catch on.

Avatar of: P_Pilate

P_Pilate

Posts: 3

April 20, 2012

How true.

Hummingbird, huh?  Don't know that one.  Sounds way too pacific, though.  Probably no smiting or fighting or killing in the name of God.  Never catch on.

Avatar of: Nathan Lichti

Nathan Lichti

Posts: 1

April 20, 2012

horses could have 5 legs, if you think evolution....   haha, "thats like saying humans came from monkeys" just because they half look like us.

Avatar of: Mark Riggle

Mark Riggle

Posts: 6

April 20, 2012

 Exactly the thoughts I was having.  I found it insulting of the article's authors to put creationism and global warming in the same category.

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P_Pilate

Posts: 3

April 20, 2012

My offer still stands.  Intelligent Design and Creationism both begin with the assumption that there is a God.  Prove God exists, and we can consider them scientific theories.

I have no problem including them in a school curriculum, but as part of a Comparative Religion class, not a science class.

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Posts: 0

April 20, 2012

horses could have 5 legs, if you think evolution....   haha, "thats like saying humans came from monkeys" just because they half look like us.

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Posts: 0

April 20, 2012

 Exactly the thoughts I was having.  I found it insulting of the article's authors to put creationism and global warming in the same category.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

April 20, 2012

My offer still stands.  Intelligent Design and Creationism both begin with the assumption that there is a God.  Prove God exists, and we can consider them scientific theories.

I have no problem including them in a school curriculum, but as part of a Comparative Religion class, not a science class.

Avatar of: chosen cheng

chosen cheng

Posts: 1

April 25, 2012

Why is the law anti-science? There is no such thing as  "settled science", right?. Recently we were exposed to the possibility that Einstein's theoretical limit of the speed of light would be breached by a sub atomic particle. Turned out to be a faulty cable, etc...  There are certainly alternative climate theories out there and lots of weaknesses with the predictive capability of current climate models. Why not talk about them if the goal of education is to educate and not indoctrinate. 

With regard to Intelligent design, it is not really a scientific theory. It is a plausible cause-effect mechanism for explaining creation, but is untestable with today's technology. Maybe in the future our technology will advance to where it can be a testable theory.  Note that the theory of evolution is really about the origin of species anyway and does not claim to be a theory of creation. These are different realms and science is helping us better understand a small part of the picture. Religious scientists do exist.So teachers could just discuss different bases of knowledge built on premises and logic and critical thinking. And the discussion would be highly educational for students on how the current scientific method itself has "evolved" and how scientific theory about the natural world and personal beliefs about the supernatural world can quite appropriately co-exist in an educated person's worldview. 

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Posts: 0

April 25, 2012

Why is the law anti-science? There is no such thing as  "settled science", right?. Recently we were exposed to the possibility that Einstein's theoretical limit of the speed of light would be breached by a sub atomic particle. Turned out to be a faulty cable, etc...  There are certainly alternative climate theories out there and lots of weaknesses with the predictive capability of current climate models. Why not talk about them if the goal of education is to educate and not indoctrinate. 

With regard to Intelligent design, it is not really a scientific theory. It is a plausible cause-effect mechanism for explaining creation, but is untestable with today's technology. Maybe in the future our technology will advance to where it can be a testable theory.  Note that the theory of evolution is really about the origin of species anyway and does not claim to be a theory of creation. These are different realms and science is helping us better understand a small part of the picture. Religious scientists do exist.So teachers could just discuss different bases of knowledge built on premises and logic and critical thinking. And the discussion would be highly educational for students on how the current scientific method itself has "evolved" and how scientific theory about the natural world and personal beliefs about the supernatural world can quite appropriately co-exist in an educated person's worldview. 

Avatar of: king23smy

king23smy

Posts: 1

March 22, 2013

so called "intelligent design" simply has no place in a class. There is a reason why evolution has endured and is taught and printed in spite of theist and pastors grinding their teeth and protesting. It is supported by evidence. Intelligent designs has no more then twisted mythology to support its faith based claims

June 21, 2013

I live in the "backwards" south and I can tell you that teaching children that they are animals in class and then yelling at the jock because he was beating up the eggheaded, pencil necked, nerd in the hallway is confusing to them!  

"Wait, you just told me I evolved up from an ape through survival of the fittest!  I show you I am more fit!"  

"No little Johnny, you must be respectful of weaker geekier kids!"

The schools here teach two different things: "All men (races) were CREATED equal" in your social studies and history classes, and the opposite opinion in the "science" classroom that you are a meaningless blob of tissue fighting it out using whatever means necessary to pass your genes along.    If all men are not equal, then races are evolving at differnt speeds and this makes you a racist!  You can't have it both ways!  

My daughter's "science" book here in Tennessee covered the "evolution" of the first cell in two sentences, saying they don't really know how it happened, that there is no fossil record, etc.  But then they gone on at length about how a  moth changed color!    The more knowledge we gain through true reasearch and exploration, the more it all points to a creator.  And you don't need religion to teach that.  Why so scared to have the obvious pointed out?!!!

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