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Intelligent Design Theory: Science or Religion?

 
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2005 09:27 am
e brown,

Thanks for the kind words. I as well enjoy the challenge and stimulation of the discussion with you and others. Challenge and disagreement are the way in which we all debraid ourselves of foolish ideas and sharpen our own inderstanding. For all of us the usual precursor to being right is being wrong. I can be a bit - energetic - in debate and some interpret that as patronizing or aggressive. That is not my intent, and if it appears that way, please attribute it to my lack of ability to put the right overtones on my expressions.

Setanta is pissed at me for this and I regret it, because I so enjoyed disagreeing with him and valued the interesting arguments and information he offered in response.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 May, 2005 11:01 am
e. brown, I choose not to ignore gunga because there are many new posters and many kids that visit the threads. Kids can be easily inluenced by the methods used by gunga and many of the entrenched Creationists. . Gunga is also from Pa, and I know that theres a nice network of pbbs involved in the Dover case. They use those out of context quotes in waves of presentation . I follow another pbb wherein the ID group "uses" the responses to hone their case upcoming and whenevr I get the chance , I like to rub their noses in the fact that they are lying and misquoting in the "name of God". It pisses em off.

george, as a "recovering" academic also, I still keep my hands in it by teaching , mostly to keep abreast of research and findings, especially in molecular biology and paleo, where the action is almost entirely in the academic end.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 07:37 am
farmerman wrote:
e. brown, I choose not to ignore gunga because there are many new posters and many kids that visit the threads. Kids can be easily inluenced by the methods used by gunga and many of the entrenched Creationists. . Gunga is also from Pa, and I know that theres a nice network of pbbs involved in the Dover case. They use those out of context quotes in waves of presentation . I follow another pbb wherein the ID group "uses" the responses to hone their case upcoming and whenevr I get the chance , I like to rub their noses in the fact that they are lying and misquoting in the "name of God". It pisses em off.
.


Hitler said that a (political) revolution has to start at the top and that's basically correct in the age of the machinegun, since there's no real way to expect the people to rise up and overthrow an organized state in an industrialized nation so long as the military supports the state.

In the case of a scientific revolution, the situation is inverted. Scientific revolutions pretty much have to start at the bottom since the top is completely ossified and locked into dogmatic positions as we note here reading Farmerman's comments. The feeling I have about evolution is that it will die out in America when a teacher or professor can no longer talk about it in front of a classroom without being made to feel that he's in a Rodney Dangerfield movie and, apparently, that day has pretty much come about as we speak.

From what I hear and read, it's pretty much over. A critical mass has been reached at which enough real information is in the hands of America's youth that they can no longer be baffled by the BS of evolutionists or indoctrinated in our public schools. As Phillip Johnson noted in Darwin on Trial:

Quote:

"The Darwinists may have made a serious strategic error in choosing to pursue a campaign of indoctrination in the public schools. Previously, the high-school text books said relatively little about evolution, except that most scientists believe in it, which is hard to dispute. Serious examination of the scientific evidence was postponed until college, and was provided mostly to biology majors and graduate students. Most persons outside the profession had little opportunity to learn how much philosophy was being taught in the name of science, and if they knew what was going on, they had no opportunity to mount an effective challenge.

"The Darwinists themselves have changed that comfortable situation by demanding that the public schools teach a great deal more "about evolution". What they mean is that the public schools should try much harder to persuade students to believe in Darwinism, not that they should present fairly the evidence which is causing Darwinists so much trouble. What goes on in the public schools is the public's business, however, and even creationists are entitled to point out errors and evasions in the textbooks and teaching materials. Invokations of authority may work for awhile, but eventually determined protesters will persuade the public to grant them a fair hearing on the evidence. As many more people outside the fundamentalist camp learn how committed Darwinists are to opposing theism of any sort, and how little support Darwinism finds in the scientific evidence, the Darwinists may wish that they had never left their sanctuary."


As to quoting palaeontologists and other scientists "out of context", that's basically beyond funny. Basically everybody with anything remotely resembling brains and talent and who is basically honest who has ever taken a look at evolution in the last hundred years has denounced it. The evolutionists' claims that anybody posting a list of such quotes is engaging in some nefarious practice of "quote mining", or is somehow or other quoting each and every one of the scientists out of context and dishonestly, is completley laughable.

There's a really simple way to avoid being quoted as saying something; don't say it.

The guy who is usually the center of such claims is the late Stephen J. Gould.

I say again, what Gould, Eldredge, and a few others did bears some explanation.

The theory of evolution, Darwin's version of it at least, had lain like a dead hand over the field of paleontology for about a hundred years, and something had to be done. Gould and the others therefore devised a new version of evolution called "Punctuated Equilibria" (punk-eek for short) which amounts to a claim that there can be a theory of evolution WITHOUT intermediate fossils. Gould and the others claimed that all meaningful evolutionary change takes place in isolared small areas, amongst tiny populations of animals. The tiny population develops some genetic advantage and then somehow or other breaks out of the isolated area and outcompetes and replaces other animals which are similar or share the same "niche" it uses, and somehow or other this has happened octillions of times and accounts for our entire biosphere.

Gould claims to resolve two problems with this approach, i.e. the problem of there being no intermediate fossils, and the population genetics problem of the immense time spans it would take to spread any genetic change through a large herd of animals. Supposedly, the tiny groups are too small to leave fossils, and small enough not to take long time spans to pass genetic change around.

Now, granted this makes no more sense than Darwin's version and granted it has its own set of fatal flaws and problems, but this is the semi-official replacement for Darwinism as things now stand.

Gould clearly viewed evolutionists as idiots and figured he'd give them whatever they needed to stop their meddlling in paleontology and preventing himself and others from publishing "scientifically incorrect" kinds of materials. Kind of like the famous story about the Kids show radio announcer in NY in the 30s ("That ought to take care of the little bastards for another day...").

In doing all of this however, Gould and his associates had to attack Darwin and the standard gradualistic version of evolution and in so doing made any number of the kinds of statements which creationists enjoy quoting since they mainly amount to flat claims that Darwinian gradualism is totally unsupported by the fossil record.

The whining evolutionists therefore prevailed upon Gould to spend a certain portion of the rest of his life whining (along with them) that the creationists were all quoting him out of context, were all liars, were all ugly, all had ugly kids, all smelled bad, etc. etc.

Now, the reason that the evoluddites were so urgent in forcing Gould into this idiotic position of demanding his cake to have and eat at the same time is that Gould's new "punctuated equilibria" does not provide any sort of a mechanism for evolutionary change and merely postulates "speciation events", sort of like claiming that a magic wand is involved every time some new kind of animal arises on the planet. And this is after he and others pretty much demolish the standard idea of "mutation and natural selection" being the mechanism of evolution.

Evolutionists therefore found themselves in the untenable position of having to peddle a sort of a smorgasbord of bits and pieces of different theories since no one theory really measures up to any reasonable standards, and they still talk about "mutation and selection" as if there were any validity to the idea, and in their muddled minds, anybody quoting Gould's earlier statements on the subject has to be a misquoter and a liar.

Like I say, it's basically farcical.

Ten years ago I'd not have wanted to bet money on how the evolution/creation war in America was going to go. At this point I'd bet the farm without reservation. The evolutionists are going to lose and, in the real marketplace of ideas amongst intelligent people, they've already lost.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 08:05 am
gungasnake wrote:
Ten years ago I'd not have wanted to bet money on how the evolution/creation war in America was going to go. At this point I'd bet the farm without reservation. The evolutionists are going to lose and, in the real marketplace of ideas amongst intelligent people, they've already lost.


So screams the lonely desperate voice of self-deluded insanity as it's being dragged away by men in white coats (who are probably evil evolutionists... Oooooo).

Watch out Gunga, the evil evolutionists have influenced the vast majority of scientists and clouded their minds (the weak minded fools). The same thing happened back when the Earth was flat and we never recovered from it. If we're not careful this could expand beyond evolution and the process of science and rational thought might start to push aside mysticism and fantasy, and eventually *you'll* be the crazy one, and the last to know.
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 08:39 am
The idea that a scientific revolution should take place at the "bottom" is very sad. Copernicus and Einstein presented their revolutionary ideas to their peers. I would be highly suspicious of a scientist who wages his revolution at the high school level.
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raprap
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 09:58 am
Gunga, the problem comes from the application of the creationist hypothesis as bad science.

If, for instance, the practical science of agriculture accepts creationism as it's basic tenet I fear that it will suffer the same fate as agriculture did with the enforcement of Lamarckian under Stalin.

Besides, a major fault with the creationist rah rah crowd (in addition to it's basic misunderstanding of the concept of a scientific theory) is that it is accompanied with an enforced dogma in its demand that that evolutionary theory is an atheist creed. This is amazingly closed minded to many faithful as many, if not most, evolutionary scientists also accept a personal faith.

Consequently, IMO creationism remains a religious tenet without scientific merit, As such, it should not be considered in a science classroom other than as a hypothesis that exists without falsification.

BTW Punctuated Evolution as Gould proposed it is accompanied by a massive change in environment--something that would stress the food chain from the top to the bottom and potentially create new niches. This is consistent with observation as, like a vacume, nature abhors an unfilled niche.

Rap
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 04:46 pm
Quote:
There's a really simple way to avoid being quoted as saying something; don't say it.

Its onlythe Creationist sales reps that do the misquoting. They wish to "make a ripping yarn" out of otherwise dry and un enetertaining data. Its easy challenging the various sciences that work in evolution , especially when you have little or no knowledge of mechanistics. Your entire miscasting of "what the late Dr Gould believed" was a laugh provoking bit of yarn spinning. Id taken classes under him and had the pleasure of talkingwith him at gatherings, and he did not, say anything like what you jus pulled out of the brown round.


Quote:
From what I hear and read, it's pretty much over.
Quote:


What have you been reading? and where?



As Phillip Johnson noted in Darwin on Trial:
Quote:

Wow , Phillip Johnson, one of our great scientific minds. He writes a book , so full of half truths and outright BS showing that he neither understands, nor wants to understand, science. Why not read Michael Crichton, at least hes not a trial lawyer

I say again, what Gould, Eldredge, and a few others did bears some explanation.
Quote:

All of which youve stated is just flat wrong . Ive only been working in this field for about 30 years so I guess I have my mind debrided every so often, Gould and Eldredge had posited Puncrtuated Equilibrium as a hypothesis for periods of stasis and then followed by rapid evolution. Most of the error of their hypothesis was sampling data fropm its time. They are only guilty of not having enough brachiopod data from the Marcellus and Mahantango to state that they could see intermediate forms. A number of pubs have resampled the same units and have found that, maybe saltation (the correct term) is just a n artifact of poor sampling. Gould didnt defend his saltation stuff toward the end of his life as he did earlier. He still said it occured but . maybe, not as a rule.

In any fashion, saltation, if it did or did not occur, just provides mechanisms to explain rapid evolution (apparent) without a complete fossil record, and perhaps thats mopre of a stratigraphic , not an evolutionary problem
Evolutionists therefore found themselves in the untenable position of having to peddle a sort of a smorgasbord of bits and pieces of different theories since no one theory really measures up to any reasonable standards, and they still talk about "mutation and selection" as if there were any validity to the idea, and in their muddled minds, anybody quoting Gould's earlier statements on the subject has to be a misquoter and a liar.
Quote:

Thats what I was sorta saying there gunga. However , I didnt come out and call you a liar, your definately a man who has his religion, even though you have no feet in the reality ring. Science will get along without your monumental research and will miss how you reinterprate what other scientists say. By your posts , all you do is call attention to the fraudulent efforts that Creationists use to try to gather some credibility.
Speaking about betting farms, I will betcha the farmthat we will ultimately cream your ID crowd in Dover. Of course, if your a cReationist, then its hard to be an IDer. The ID crowd wants nothing to do with the likes of those who promote "flood geology" . Even they know better.

I guess that , in some fashion , addressing you as someone who knows of what they speak, you are, as e brown said, getting some free credibility that you dont deserve.
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farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 04:56 pm
well, sometimes you I get the post thing right and sometimes I gits it wrong. The reader is urged to figure out the responders comments to the gunga quotes although it appears 180 off.


HERES A GUNGA QUOTE
And this is after he and others pretty much demolish the standard idea of "mutation and natural selection" being the mechanism of evolution.

Im sure you havent done any original resaerch on what Gould had done. He didnt "demolish " anything, in fact the genetic data and subsequent detailed sampling of the same beds from which he and Eldredge developed punctuated equilibrium were found to be loaded with intermediate brachs. I know that this is a quote from Answers in genesis.
Gunga, no scientist worth his credentials just goes and accepts some piece of work without multi replecation and careful scrutiny. You, on the other hand, use the method of "cut and paste" without checking anything. Why do you suppose that is?
wishful thinking?

education, gunga dont need no steenking education.
As long as he got his Answers in Genesis and Dr Sakahir has another mute follower of dubious "facts"
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 04:59 pm
wandeljw wrote:
The idea that a scientific revolution should take place at the "bottom" is very sad. Copernicus and Einstein presented their revolutionary ideas to their peers. I would be highly suspicious of a scientist who wages his revolution at the high school level.


If you were talking about a rational scientific theory you'd be closer to being right. In the case of an entrenched ideological doctrine like evolution, you're wrong. The revolution has begun from the bottom and it will succeed.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 05:03 pm
gungasnake wrote:
wandeljw wrote:
The idea that a scientific revolution should take place at the "bottom" is very sad. Copernicus and Einstein presented their revolutionary ideas to their peers. I would be highly suspicious of a scientist who wages his revolution at the high school level.


If you were talking about a rational scientific theory you'd be closer to being right. In the case of an entrenched ideological doctrine like evolution, you're wrong. The revolution has begun from the bottom and it will succeed.

Evolution consists 99% of the simple and obviously true ideas that:

1. Genes which confer a survival advantage come to dominate the gene pool over long periods of time. Genes which confer a disadvantage tend to die out.
2. New traits are introduced from time to time by the mechanism of mutation.

That's it, folks. Not very sinister. Someone tell me how that is not true. You can see it right in your face with any creature that has very short generations, e.g. bacterial adaptation to medicines.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 06:56 pm
Quote:
The revolution has begun from the bottom and it will succeed.

Youve already lost. Creationist teaching has already been adjudicated by the Supreme Court. This new one is all about Intelligent Design, and intelligent design proponents mostly agree that evolution is THE mechanism of change among species.
Cheesh, you dont even know what dog youre fighting gunga. Every argument youve posed has been against evolution, either youre gonna have to switch sides or get smarter fast.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 07:22 pm
georgeob1 wrote:
e brown,

Setanta is pissed at me for this and I regret it, because I so enjoyed disagreeing with him and valued the interesting arguments and information he offered in response.


You overestimate the importance of my reaction to you. I don't intend to accept condescension from you, nor do i spend a moment of my time away from this forum in consideration of what transpires here. Without being a judgment on the quality of your posts here, something which i will reserve, in overall terms of my life, and my outlook, this is all tempest in a teapot stuff.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 08:14 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
Evolution consists 99% of the simple and obviously true ideas that:

1. Genes which confer a survival advantage come to dominate the gene pool over long periods of time. Genes which confer a disadvantage tend to die out.
2. New traits are introduced from time to time by the mechanism of mutation.

That's it, folks. Not very sinister. Someone tell me how that is not true. You can see it right in your face with any creature that has very short generations, e.g. bacterial adaptation to medicines.


You'll get no argument from me on those points Brandon. But it's pretty obvious that it's the "implications" of those points which have the creationists in a panic. Creationists don't have a problem with small changes and variation. They have a problem with the possibility of those small changes accumulating and resulting in large changes, because a process like that doesn't match up with a literal interpretation of the Bible. And since the Bible is their basis for reality, they reject anything which doesn't match up with their interpretation of the Bible.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 09:51 pm
rosborne979 wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
Evolution consists 99% of the simple and obviously true ideas that:

1. Genes which confer a survival advantage come to dominate the gene pool over long periods of time. Genes which confer a disadvantage tend to die out.
2. New traits are introduced from time to time by the mechanism of mutation.

That's it, folks. Not very sinister. Someone tell me how that is not true. You can see it right in your face with any creature that has very short generations, e.g. bacterial adaptation to medicines.


You'll get no argument from me on those points Brandon....


That's sad. It means neither one of you knows anything about biology or evolutionism.

Number one, natural selection (item 1 in the little two-point demonstration of ignorance above) is a destructive process and not a constructive one. It is an agency of stasis and not change. You could no more create a new kind of animal with natural selection than you could create a building with a wrecking ball.

Two, in the real world, the normal term for mutation is "birth defect".

In real life, mutations all have names, such as Down Syndrome, Tay-Sachs disease, cri-du-chat syndrome, polyploidy, Turner syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Jacob syndrome, etc. etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum. None of those things are good for anybody.

Ever notice the women going door to door collecting money for the Mothers' March of Dimes?

Ever notice that they are ALWAYS collecting money for research to PREVENT mutations and never for research to CAUSE them? Think there might be a reason for that?

I mean, when you think about it, evolution is basically the birth defect theory as to how our biosphere got here.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 10:05 pm
Like I say, I believe Evolution will die out in America when a certain critical mass is reached and a teacher or professor can no longer talk about it in a classroom without seeing eyes roll back, hearing snickering in the room, and generally being made to feel that he's in a Rodney Dangerfield movie (I don't get no respect...). Again, from most of what I hear and read, that day has pretty much arrived.

There are four things the average person needs to know about evolution:

1. It's junk science, which has been massively disproven over the last century.

2. As junk science goes, it's dangerous junk science. It was the major philosophical corner stone of naziism, communism, and the various eugenics programs in western countries.

3. It is utterly incompatible with Christianity or any other meaningful religion.

4. It is part and parcel of certain agendas which may or may not be of any use to you; individual mileage may vary.

Thus as to the legitimacy of starting the revolution against this sort of deep-rooted but mistaken general paradigm, I think you have to compare it to the de-nazification of Germany after WW-II was over. Worrying about the younger generation first is certainly legitimate under such circumstances.

As to the question of the revolution starting in the high schools, some of you might want to consider the following:


http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0503/p01s04-legn.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0503/csmimg/p12a.jpg

Quote:

Some science teachers say they're encountering fresh resistance to the topic of evolution - and it's coming from their students.

Nearly 30 years of teaching evolution in Kansas has taught Brad Williamson to expect resistance, but even this veteran of the trenches now has his work cut out for him when students raise their hands.

That's because critics of Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection are equipping families with books, DVDs, and a list of "10 questions to ask your biology teacher."

The intent is to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of students as to the veracity of Darwin's theory of evolution.

The result is a climate that makes biology class tougher to teach. Some teachers say class time is now wasted on questions that are not science-based. Others say the increasingly charged atmosphere has simply forced them to work harder to find ways to skirt controversy.

On Thursday, the Science Hearings Committee of the Kansas State Board of Education begins hearings to reopen questions on the teaching of evolution in state schools.

The Kansas board has a famously zigzag record with respect to evolution. In 1999, it acted to remove most references to evolution from the state's science standards. The next year, a new - and less conservative - board reaffirmed evolution as a key concept that Kansas students must learn.

Now, however, conservatives are in the majority on the board again and have raised the question of whether science classes in Kansas schools need to include more information about alternatives to Darwin's theory.

But those alternatives, some science teachers report, are already making their way into the classroom - by way of their students.

In a certain sense, stiff resistance on the part of some US students to the theory of evolution should come as no surprise.

Even after decades of debate, Americans remain deeply ambivalent about the notion that the theory of natural selection can explain creation and its genesis.

A Gallup poll late last year showed that only 28 percent of Americans accept the theory of evolution, while 48 percent adhere to creationism - the belief that an intelligent being is responsible for the creation of the earth and its inhabitants.

But if reluctance to accept evolution is not new, the ways in which students are resisting its teachings are changing.

"The argument was always in the past the monkey-ancestor deal," says Mr. Williamson, who teaches at Olathe East High School. "Today there are many more arguments that kids bring to class, a whole fleet of arguments, and they're all drawn out of the efforts by different groups, like the intelligent design [proponents]."

It creates an uncomfortable atmosphere in the classroom, Williamson says - one that he doesn't like. "I don't want to ever be in a confrontational mode with those kids ... I find it disheartening as a teacher."

Williamson and his Kansas colleagues aren't alone. An informal survey released in April from the National Science Teachers Association found that 31 percent of the 1,050 respondents said they feel pressure to include "creationism, intelligent design, or other nonscientific alternatives to evolution in their science classroom."

These findings confirm the experience of Gerry Wheeler, the group's executive director, who says that about half the teachers he talks to tell him they feel ideological pressure when they teach evolution.

And according to the survey, while 20 percent of the teachers say the pressure comes from parents, 22 percent say it comes primarily from students.

In this climate, science teachers say they must find new methods to defuse what has become a politically and emotionally charged atmosphere in the classroom. But in some cases doing so also means learning to handle well-organized efforts to raise doubts about Darwin's theory.

Darwin's detractors say their goal is more science, not less, in evolution discussions.

The Seattle-based Discovery Institute distributes a DVD, "Icons of Evolution," that encourages viewers to doubt Darwinian theory.

One example from related promotional literature: "Why don't textbooks discuss the 'Cambrian explosion,' in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor - thus contradicting the evolutionary tree of life?"

Such questions too often get routinely dismissed from the classroom, says senior fellow John West, adding that teachers who advance such questions can be rebuked - or worse.

"Teachers should not be pressured or intimidated," says Mr. West, "but what about all the teachers who are being intimidated and in some cases losing their jobs because they simply want to present a few scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory?"

But Mr. Wheeler says the criticisms West raises lack empirical evidence and don't belong in the science classroom.

"The questions scientists are wrestling with are not the same ones these people are claiming to be wrestling with," Wheeler says. "It's an effort to sabotage quality science education. There is a well-funded effort to get religion into the science classroom [through strategic questioning], and that's not fair to our students."

A troubled history Teaching that humans evolved by a process of natural selection has long stirred passionate debate, captured most famously in the Tennessee v. John Scopes trial of 1925.

Today, even as Kansas braces for another review of the question, parents in Dover, Pa., are suing their local school board for requiring last year that evolution be taught alongside the theory that humankind owes its origins to an "intelligent designer."

In this charged atmosphere, teachers who have experienced pressure are sometimes hesitant to discuss it for fear of stirring a local hornets' nest. One Oklahoma teacher, for instance, canceled his plans to be interviewed for this story, saying, "The school would like to avoid any media, good or bad, on such an emotionally charged subject."

Others believe they've learned how to successfully navigate units on evolution.

In the mountain town of Bancroft, Idaho (pop. 460), Ralph Peterson teaches all the science classes at North Gem High School. Most of his students are Mormons, as is he.

When teaching evolution at school, he says, he sticks to a clear but simple divide between religion and science. "I teach the limits of science," Mr. Peterson says. "Science does not discuss the existence of God because that's outside the realm of science." He says he gets virtually no resistance from his students when he approaches the topic this way.

In Skokie, Ill., Lisa Nimz faces a more religiously diverse classroom and a different kind of challenge. A teaching colleague, whom she respects and doesn't want to offend, is an evolution critic and is often in her classroom when the subject is taught.

In deference to her colleague's beliefs, she says she now introduces the topic of evolution with a disclaimer.

"I preface it with this idea, that I am not a spiritual provider and would never try to be," Ms. Nimz says. "And so I am trying not ... to feel any disrespect for their religion. And I think she feels that she can live with that."

A job that gets harder The path has been a rougher one for John Wachholz, a biology teacher at Salina (Kansas) High School Central. When evolution comes up, students tune out: "They'll put their heads on their desks and pretend they don't hear a word you say."

To show he's not an enemy of faith, he sometimes tells them he's a choir member and the son of a Lutheran pastor. But resistance is nevertheless getting stronger as he prepares to retire this spring.

"I see the same thing I saw five years ago, except now students think they're informed without having ever really read anything" on evolution or intelligent design, Mr. Wachholz says. "Because it's been discussed in the home and other places, they think they know, [and] they're more outspoken.... They'll say, 'I don't believe a word you're saying.' "

As teachers struggle to fend off strategic questions - which some believe are intended to cloak evolution in a cloud of doubt - critics of Darwin's theory sense an irony of history. In their view, those who once championed teacher John Scopes's right to question religious dogma are now unwilling to let a new set of established ideas be challenged.

"What you have is the Scopes trial turned on its head because you have school boards saying you can't say anything critical about Darwin," says Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman on the "Icons of Evolution" DVD.

But to many teachers, "teaching the controversy" means letting ideologues manufacture controversy where there is none. And that, they say, could set a disastrous precedent in education.

"In some ways I think civilization is at stake because it's about how we view our world," Nimz says. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692, for example, were possible, she says, because evidence wasn't necessary to guide a course of action.

"When there's no empirical evidence, some very serious things can happen," she says. "If we can't look around at what is really there and try to put something logical and intelligent together from that without our fears getting in the way, then I think that we're doomed."

What some students are asking their biology teachers Critics of evolution are supplying students with prepared questions on such topics as:

• The origins of life. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how life's building blocks may have formed on Earth - when conditions on the early Earth were probably nothing like those used in the experiment, and the origin of life remains a mystery?

• Darwin's tree of life. Why don't textbooks discuss the "Cambrian explosion," in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor - thus contradicting the evolutionary tree of life?

• Vertebrate embryos. Why do textbooks use drawings of similarities in vertebrate embryos as evidence for common ancestry - even though biologists have known for over a century that vertebrate embryos are not most similar in their early stages, and the drawings are faked?

• The archaeopteryx. Why do textbooks portray this fossil as the missing link between dinosaurs and modern birds - even though modern birds are probably not descended from it, and its supposed ancestors do not appear until millions of years after it?

• Peppered moths. Why do textbooks use pictures of peppered moths camouflaged on tree trunks as evidence for natural selection - when biologists have known since the 1980s that the moths don't normally rest on tree trunks, and all the pictures have been staged?

• Darwin's finches. Why do textbooks claim that beak changes in Galapagos finches during a severe drought can explain the origin of species by natural selection - even though the changes were reversed after the drought ended, and no net evolution occurred?

• Mutant fruit flies. Why do textbooks use fruit flies with an extra pair of wings as evidence that DNA mutations can supply raw materials for evolution - even though the extra wings have no muscles and these disabled mutants cannot survive outside the laboratory?

• Human origins. Why are artists' drawings of apelike humans used to justify materialistic claims that we are just animals and our existence is a mere accident - when fossil experts cannot even agree on who our supposed ancestors were or what they looked like?

• Evolution as a fact. Why are students told that Darwin's theory of evolution is a scientific fact - even though many of its claims are based on misrepresentations of the facts?

Source: Discovery Institute
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 10:09 pm
farmerman wrote:
This new one is all about Intelligent Design, and intelligent design proponents mostly agree that evolution is THE mechanism of change among species.




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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 10:09 pm
No, as a matter of fact, gunga, most mutations are benign, conferring neither advantage nor disadvantage. Of course, there is no need to classify the insignificant missense mutations that are constantly being introduced into genomes because they have no effect. Over time, though, the accumulation of such practically insignificant mutations generates diversity in a population. Perhaps developmental events get timed slightly differently, some individuals end up with different length limbs or different body size than others. If unexploited niches become available, some individuals may be better suited than others to exploit them, individuals who at one time were a small part of the population gain a competitive advantage by being suited for the new niche.

Cichlids (fish) in Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi appear to have undergone spectacular diversification in a geological blink of an eye in just such a manner.
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 10:23 pm
patiodog wrote:
No, as a matter of fact, gunga, most mutations are benign, conferring neither advantage nor disadvantage. Of course, there is no need to classify the insignificant missense mutations that are constantly being introduced into genomes because they have no effect. Over time, though, the accumulation of such practically insignificant mutations generates diversity in a population. Perhaps developmental events get timed slightly differently, some individuals end up with different length limbs or different body size than others. If unexploited niches become available, some individuals may be better suited than others to exploit them, individuals who at one time were a small part of the population gain a competitive advantage by being suited for the new niche.

Cichlids (fish) in Lake Victoria and Lake Malawi appear to have undergone spectacular diversification in a geological blink of an eye in just such a manner.


There are several reasons for eliminating that sort of consideration as an agency of macroevolution.

One, there is no support for it in the fossil record as Gould and Eldridge and others have noted.

Two, the amount of time it takes to spread ANY genetic change, good, bad, or indifferent, through any large group of animals is absolutely prohibitive (the famous Haldane Dilemma from population genetics).

Three the enbtire question of whether or not there even is such a thing as a "beneficial mutation" is highly problematical.

Four, even if there was such a thing as "beneficial mutation", there would be several thousand or several million harmful ones for every beneficial one and they would overwhelm it.

Five, even if a beneficial mutation were to take place, it would only lead to microevolution and not macroevolution.

There are a number of others, but those will do for starters. One and two were all Gould and his associates needed to comprehend that some sort of a totally new variation of the doctrine was required.
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raprap
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 May, 2005 11:58 pm
Gunjasnake has nailed it

ID is not science, its religion.

Under the supposition
Quote:
3. It (sic Evolution) is utterly incompatible with Christianity or any other meaningful religion.

then ID is compatible with, and is as a result, a Religion.

Now hand me some of that Ganja Gunja, if I'm going to accept religion wholeheartedly as science, I'll have to be stoned.

Rap
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ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 May, 2005 05:29 am
Please stop arguing with Gunga.

He has openly suggested using the Christian Bible as a science textbook. This argument will not go any further than that.

You don't need to worry that anyone is going to be fooled. Ignore him and you give him less of a platform.

Arguing with Gunga screws up the more interesting nuanced discussion on this topic.
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