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Kansas Board of Ed. Adopts Intelligent Design 2136

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the why-do-they-have-to-use-the-word-intelligent dept.
kwietman writes "The Kansas State Board of Education voted 6-4 to allow science students in public schools to hear materials critical of evolution in biology classes. The new curriculum mentions that theories of life arising from similar building-block molecules through purely random processes can be challenged by recent findings in the fossil record and by molecular biology. Not all were happy, however. 'This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that,' said board member Janet Waugh. The new standards will be used in statewide standardized testing; the students are still expected to know 'basic evolutionary principles.' As part of the decision, the Board of Education also went so far as to redefine science itself, saying that it is 'no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.'"
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Kansas Board of Ed. Adopts Intelligent Design

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:27PM (#13984764) Homepage Journal
    So, why is it that the Kansas board of "education" will not allow science and religion to be separately taught? 1) Primarily because they have an agenda that is religiously biased. 2) Because if they allowed a religion class, they would be hard pressed to only teach their version of religion and not also teach Islam, Judaism, Hinduism etc...etc...etc... which these types of people believe would not be acceptable. After all, thinking for yourself is scary.

    Look, before all you ultra right wing whackos start modding me down, you should realize that 1) I am religious and 2) I am also a scientist and see no conflict between religion and science and 3) the Intelligent Design camp are absolutely and completely biased and corruptive of both religion and science. Schools teaching ID are absolutely doing a disservice to the students who are forced to take this curriculum.

    And those in the Kansas government should know that this issue is making Kansas a laughing stock world wide. There is absolutely nothing that you could do to get me to move my family, science or business there. Speaking of business, we are in the initial stages of moving technologies we have developed into the privately funded domain and early estimates are that we are sitting on significantly large markets right out the door with significant expansion likely in a variety of areas. Kansas does not remotely have a chance of attracting businesses like ours given the educational climate required for our work. We need students and employees who are well prepared in the sciences and are capable of thinking independently, and if the school board succeeds in misleading their students, they are of no use to us.

    • by hhawk (26580) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:29PM (#13984784) Homepage Journal
      The issue here is that they redefine science. Truly a sad day.
      • Just goes to show ... the Board of Education will end up doing more damage to the US than any terrorist group could ever have hoped for. "Get 'm while they're young ..."

        ... and it's spreading ... (any errors in translation from the french are my responsibility)

        Montreal, Quebec
        Tuesday, November 8, 2005

        A Ste-Rose resident plans to appeal a ruling by the Canadian government denying his group tax-exempt status. Monsieur Maurice Duplessis, who now insists on going by the name "Chef Boy-R-Dee", has stated that unless the government reverses its decision, his so-called "Pastafarians" will sue the government for infringing their constitutional right to freedom of religion.

        Apparently, M. Duplessis claims that his sister-in-law saw the face of Jesus as she was finishing a plate of spaghetti. She said, jokingly, that they should offer it on eBay. M. Duplessis claims that when he saw the plate, he felt "an epiphany, a revelation", and that a quick search on the internet revealed the Cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

        "They were offering a reward of $1,000,000 if someone could prove that Jesus was not the son of FSM, so I knew that I was not the only one," said M. Duplessis.

        When asked about his new title, he said "I was named after one of the worst premiers in the history of this province; nobody would take me seriously with a name like that. I had another revelation while we were shopping at Provigo - so now I am Boy-R-Dee".

        Apparently, M. Duplessis has had several meetings with supporters, including their first "church service", held in their home. "Think about it - even the Catholic Church acknowledges the central importance of the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, and the communion by eating of the body of Jesus; these are all elements of pastafarianism"

        When asked how many supporters he had, he declined to give an exact figure, saying it was "more than 10, less than 20".

        Government sources had no comment, citing privacy legislation.
        Is there no end to this, [tt]abernac?!?
        • by Soporific (595477) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:40AM (#13987109)
          The flying spaghetti monster does exist. In reality it is a proven fact that after visiting an Italian restaurant and consuming spaghetti, beer, port, anisette, beer and at times tequila the legendary flying spaghetti monster will appear. However its most natural habitat seems to be (oddly enough) the same as the porcelain god's. Its other possible habitats include concrete, tarmac, carpeting and cars. In either case, the flying spaghetti monster usually will return to it's ancestral homelands within 24 hours through a "water disposal system".

          ~S
      • by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:10PM (#13985153) Journal
        One group of idiots cannot redefine a word. Unless a very large segment take the new meaning to heart then the word still remains as it is. It's like "cookie", in the US it means all biscuits, in the UK it means a type of biscuit. In Kansas science can mean whatever the hell it likes, but as Dorthy said "I don't think I'm in Kansas any more".
      • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:11PM (#13985163)
        The issue here is that they redefine science
        They also redefine Christianity to Christianity-lite.
      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:16PM (#13985204)
        > The issue here is that they redefine science. Truly a sad day.

        Behe redefined science at the Dover trial, and had to admit under crossexamination that astrology meets his definition of science.
      • by Durandal64 (658649) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:20PM (#13985242)
        Regardless of their decision, the true sadness lies in the idea of what is and isn't science being determined by politicians.
      • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:22PM (#13985262)
        They're only redefining science for themselves. Thus they will live by their fantasy definition, while the rest of the world progresses.

        This may be the best thing to happen for everyone else. Once Kansas becomes the victim of a self-imposed economic failure, even most religious fundamentalists will realize that factual science is a necessity.

    • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:29PM (#13984787)
      That they believe in Creationism. After all, living in Kansas they're probably convinced the world is flat, too...
    • by elfguygmail.com (910009) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:41PM (#13984884) Homepage
      Several religions, including the Vatican, have said that ID has nothing to do with religion. According to them Genesis is a story, telling how the world was supposely made by a higher being, and that only idiots would take it literally. The Vatican actually supports evolution as being compatible with their religion.
      • by RamsÚs Morales (13327) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:58PM (#13985058)
        When I was in school, a Jesuit-run catholic school, one father (priest) explained a group of science/religion-confused girls that the origin of man, and all species, was explained by Evolution, so they should pay attention to the biology prof. (which had a PhD in biology, by the way). He also explained to the girls that Genesis was only a metaphor, with deep theological implications for cristians, but it had nothing to do with the origin of man.

        Of course, for most protestant cristians (as in Kansas), catholics are devil-worshipers, and the pope is Satan himself. So telling this story was just waste of time.

        By the way, I'm atheist, and hold in high regard jesuit priests, for giving me an excellent scientific education, devoid of any supernatural ideas.
  • ID vs. Lamarckianism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) <1.61803phi@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:27PM (#13984765) Homepage
    The Soviet Union found itself similarly at odds with Darwinism; its alternative, however, was not intelligent design, but Lamarckianism [vernonjohns.org]: the idea being that people could will themselves into the Soviet ideal contra naturam.

    There are implications, I believe, for our present American situation: parasitic governments, namely, have something to fear from Darwin; what exactly, remains to be seen.

  • Darwinism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:29PM (#13984783)
    Now it's up to the colleges/universities to teach Kansas schools about natural selection.
    "Going for a science degree, huh? From Kansas, are you? Interesting..."
  • 2006 election (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 (872975) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:30PM (#13984793)
    Just wait till 2006 when the Kansas State Board of Education will have to face the voters on this issue.
    • Re:2006 election (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WhiteBandit (185659) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:34PM (#13984825) Homepage
      Just wait till 2006 when the Kansas State Board of Education will have to face the voters on this issue.

      Oh goody. So then the 4 people who voted against it will be voted out of office, further solidifying this teaching policy.
      • Re:2006 election (Score:5, Informative)

        by CompMD (522020) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:01PM (#13985079)
        Nah, four of the six wacko board members are up for reelection. They are from western Kansas, and that is pretty much what you get from that part of the state.

        The board will never go completely nutjob, there is the KBOE district that includes Topeka and Lawrence that will never turn.
    • Re:2006 election (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Teckla (630646) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:39PM (#13984871)

      Just wait till 2006 when the Kansas State Board of Education will have to face the voters on this issue.

      Yeah, just like George W. Bush had to "face the voters" after his abysmal first term and after starting the debacle in Iraq. The same man who considers Intelligent Design a theory as scientifically as valid as Evolution. Who has publically stated his support for teaching "the other side" (Intelligent Design).

      In case you hadn't noticed, Americans are becoming less and less intelligent as the years go by.

      And now, I must suffer getting voted into oblivion by a million neo-cons. Goodbye, karma.

    • by Petronius (515525) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:42PM (#13984894)
      They'll be able to experience "survival of the fittest" in Technicolor. muahahahaha.
  • redefined science? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GodHammre (730029) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:30PM (#13984794)
    I find it rather humorous that you can redefine science based on the word of some ignorant administration officials. Their definition brings voodoo, astrology, and hollywood into the realm of science.
  • Hey Kansas! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:30PM (#13984798)
    We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!!!!!

    -- The World

  • by gardyloo (512791) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:31PM (#13984800)
    ...noodly appendages.
  • Thank God (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarcusX (929644) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:31PM (#13984801)
    Thank God we'd never elect a fundamentalist like this to a high government office; the do enough damage in the schoo.... fuck.
  • Schools... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Poromenos1 (830658) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:31PM (#13984803) Homepage
    I think it is quite wrong to teach ID in schools, not because it's a weird theory but because children in school have learned to believe everything they are taught (I know I was) and don't have the critical thinking required to question those things and decide on their own (that comes later, about at the end of highschool/beginning of college). I remember some pretty outrageous things teachers told us (they obviously didn't know any better) that I believed until much later, and it's a sad realisation when you think that if something like this is false, everything else could be, as well.
    • Re:Schools... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hunterx11 (778171) <hunterx11.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:39PM (#13984869) Homepage Journal
      Honestly I'd rather have straight Creationism taught in the schools than Intelligent Design. ID is not a "weird theory" but an attempt to subvert the very meaning of theory itself. This is why it is such an important issue: teaching children lies is not the worst you can do, since they can later discover the truth on their own. But if you intentionally cripple their ability to think critically by doing things such as equivocating pseudoscience with science, they can be handicapped permanently.
  • by Lucidwray (300955) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:31PM (#13984808)
    I have to say that this is truly sad for the students of Kansas. Not only do they have to waste time learning something as stupid as Intelligent Design, but as they move on into College, they will now be the laughing stock of their class...

    poor, poor Kansas.
  • by eobanb (823187) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:32PM (#13984809) Homepage
    Evolution is not random. Mutations are random. Evolution is not just mutation. Evolution is the natural selection of beneficial mutations. The Kansas board of Education is promoting psuedoscience.

    Have you been touched by his noodly appendage?
    • by Eightyford (893696) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:51PM (#13984984) Homepage
      Have you been touched by his noodly appendage?

      Sigh. Yes, sadly I have, but the Cardinal only moved him to a different church as punishment.

      jk
    • Correction. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:52PM (#13984992) Journal
      Evolution is a phenomenon. It can be observed easily, even in something as trivial and obvious as dog breeding.

      Natural selection is a theory that explains why we have the natural species that we do. Sexual selection is a different theory that explains, inter alia, the appearance of species that reproduce sexually.

      Mutation is a theory that explains certain aspects of evolution, and is used in the theory of natural selection.

      All of that aside, we all need somebody to ridicule as yokels. It makes is feel better. Europe has Austria, Australia has New Zealand, and the US has Kansas. It's the natural order of things, and must not be disturbed.
  • by jkauzlar (596349) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:32PM (#13984812) Homepage
    It's times like this I wish someone like Tom Cruise or someone of similar high-profile would step up and demand that Scientology be taught alongside 'intelligent design.' It would show how ridiculous this whole matter is. I should think his request would have to be granted, constitionally.

    "You don't know anything about the origins mankind! I *do*!"

    And the seven-fold path to wisdom needs to be placed next to the ten commandments on public property!

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:24PM (#13985278)
      I intend to. Not Scientology, but the Native American religions. We have a number of reservations here, including the largest in the US. I'll take a trip to meet with any tribal chief that will listen and try to convince them to come to the hearings. Based on the past, I'd say I won't have a hard time convincing them. Hey, if they are going to teach Christianity, they'd better teach the native religions too, and it varies by tribe.

      They'd have a hell of a time squirming out of that one.
  • by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:34PM (#13984824) Homepage
    allow science students in public schools to hear materials critical of evolution in biology classes.

    This is not at issue here. You can have all of the material critial of evolution you want in any biology class anywhere in the United States. Criticism is a fundamental part of the scientific process. What you can't do is then turn around and say "because we don't have a good explanation, God did it."

    There is nothing wrong with scientifically saying "your explanation is flawed," "that theory doesn't explain all phenomenon," or even "we don't know." But there is a problem, to quote Asimov, with saying that "Dragons must be pushing the moons."

    • by MojoStan (776183) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:50PM (#13984973)
      What you can't do is then turn around and say "because we don't have a good explanation, God did it."

      There is nothing wrong with scientifically saying "your explanation is flawed," "that theory doesn't explain all phenomenon," or even "we don't know." But there is a problem, to quote Asimov, with saying that "Dragons must be pushing the moons."

      Wish I could mod you up. 2500 years ago, Hippocrates (think Hippocratic Oath) promoted a quasi-scientific approach to medicine at a time when superstition and prayer were the dominant treatments. From the first chapter of Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World:

      In a typical passage Hippocrates wrote: "Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things." Instead of acknowledging that in many areas we are ignorant, we have tended to say things like the Universe is permeated with the ineffable. A God of the Gaps is assigned responsibility for what we do not yet understand.
      "God of the Gaps." I always liked that description.
  • by motbob (897343) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:34PM (#13984826)
    Look at that last part again--the board rewrote the definition of science. That's astonishing--and by doing so, the board has admitted outright that "intelligent design" isn't science. If it were, they wouldn't have had to change the definition. They're now saying that science class should include supernatural explanations--everything from leprechauns to poltergeists to the balance of bodily humours is now a legitimate part of Kansas' science curriculum.
  • by cytoman (792326) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:34PM (#13984827)
    The Kansas Board did not adopt Intelligent Design. Instead it did two things:

    1)It said that schools should present evolution as a flawed theory. This has the effect of students looking at evolution and saying "oh, it's not good enough to explain what we see...". A side effect of this is that the students now become more receptive to kooky ideas like Intelligent Design.

    2)It redefined the meaning of science. According to the new definition, science is no longer is limited to searching for natural explanations for natural phenomena.

    These changes are more damaging to education in the long run compared to adopting Intelligent Design alone.
    • by eobanb (823187) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:39PM (#13984870) Homepage
      Exactly. The thing that Christian fundamentalists fear most is children being raised learning that because of evolution, God isn't necessary in any part of the equation of how we came to be. If you remember the whole Creation Science debacle of several years ago, this is just a re-badged attempt, even if not directly saying "since evolution is just a theory, you should believe that God intervened."
    • by c0d3h4x0r (604141) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:17PM (#13985212) Homepage Journal
      2)It redefined the meaning of science. According to the new definition, science is no longer is limited to searching for natural explanations for natural phenomena.

      Excellent! So now student "science" fair projects can be about... well, pretty much anything!

  • by nonother (845183) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:34PM (#13984828)
    The theory of evolution has some holes, and it's most likely not 100% correct, but it's a very good working definition. It's just like our understanding of the atom, we have a decent working definition that has need for improvement but that is not to imply that it isn't mostly true. Instead we don't call it too complicated and offer up a non-scientific theory. It all boils down to the fact that denouncing evolution with non-science is unacceptable in a science setting.
  • An Apology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aprilsound (412645) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:35PM (#13984840) Homepage
    As a Christian, I'd like to apologize for this new addition to the list of the many ways Christianity has wronged the world, including but not limited to:
    • The Crusades
    • Republicans
    • Focus on the Family
    • Galileo and many others (their persecution)
    Seriously, I'm sorry. Please don't think that someone cannot follow Jesus and try to be at peace with the world. Don't mod me funny, I mean it. I'm sorry.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwinNO@SPAMamiran.us> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:37PM (#13984859) Homepage Journal
    I'm happy, because this means that regions in the U.S. (not-Kansas) will have fewer difficulties attracting business than those fundines in Kansas (fundamentalists).

    I'm sad, because as Kansas continues to deterioriate into a rabidly backward and conservative area, more and more destitute as each year goes by, government handouts will be seen as the only way out.

    You reap what you sow. As the (some of the) rest of the U.S. watches Kansas deteroriate into nothing, I hope we have the intelligence to leave them in the gutter.
  • by Clover_Kicker (20761) <clover_kicker@yahoo.com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:38PM (#13984866)
    I look forward to an enlightened, civilized discussion about this controversial subject.
  • Big surprise. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by syberanarchy (683968) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:39PM (#13984872) Journal
    Awesome, just awesome. I saw one of these proponents speak on an episode of Penn and Teller: Bullshit!, and his logic (or lack thereof) was amazing. "Wouldn't it be great if the state let the parents sit down with their children and choose as a family what they're going to believe?" Uh, no, simply for the reason that SCIENCE IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. You can't ignore facts just because you don't like them. Of course, given that this is the same Middle America (tm) that still believes there is a PROVEN link between 9/11 and Iraq, and that we've found actual WMDS...
  • by mrchaotica (681592) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:40PM (#13984877)
    It's very simple, really, and it has nothing to do with whether it's "right" or "wrong." ID is not science because it's not provable. Fundamentally, ID says "we can't don't know how this could have happened naturally, so it must have been designed." This is inherently unscientific. If you don't know how something works, all it means is that you don't know how it works! Scientists aren't allowed to make assumptions.

    Besides, even if they did have evidence for ID (as opposed to merely lack of evidence to the contrary, which is all they actually have), it still wouldn't be science, because it explicitly requires an influence that's not bound by natural laws. No experiment can be designed to test the "theory," because the point of it is that it's untestable.

    There might be an "Intelligent Designer," or there may not be. Who knows? But it doesn't matter anyway, because the issue is outside of science!
  • by justanyone (308934) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:44PM (#13984915) Homepage Journal

    As a proud University of Kansas Jayhawk Alumni (1992 Bachelor of Science Computer Science) I have a perspective on this - Not all of Kansas is this conservative.

    There are several isolated centers of liberalism (most notably NOT the oxymoronically named town of Liberal, KS) which include Lawrence, some of Topeka, the Kansas City suburbs, and parts of Wichita. However, the vast majority of the state is very Red.

    This debate highlights several contrasts in Kansas culture. Many small towns resent the power that the bigger population centers hold over Kansas political power, and are more vehemently conservative because of it. They feel they must fight for their views to be heard.

    Another factor here is the ever-more-computer-enhanced jerrymandered redistricting that has been taking place nationwide (most eggregiously in Texas 3+ years ago). As a result, since politicians are more secure in their political bases, they feel free to pander to their most vocal (and most extreme) constituents, since there is no need to appeal to the center. This also selects for more extreme views.

    Lastly, this is a confusing trend in the light of the long Kansas tradition of progressive politics, starting wwwwwaaayy back with the Grange organization, which pushed for social-security-type platforms to support destitute farmers in the 1800's.

    Even more confusing is the last-10-years trend towards confusing conservative social policies (less freedom for the individual to ensure compliance with moral laws) with conservative fiscal and governmental policies (more individual freedoms and less overall government interference). The freedom-to-farm act (an attempt to liberalize the agriculture market and reduce dependence that farmers don't want on subsidies) contrasts strongly with strong corporate farm interests that advocate for greater involvement, which also contrasts with traditional Republican less-government-is-better.

    Also throw in there the strong German-American and now hispanic Catholic elements that, at the recently increasing behest of Rome, are catching on that Intelligent Design is contrary to scriptural meanings, that it confuses the spiritual (some would say 'religious mythical truths') and the scientific truths to the vast detriment of both.

    All in all, things are a bit confused and I suspect that when the voters start pushing for actual policies to solve problems (during the next recession, let's say). I just don't know when they'll figure it out.

  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062@gmail.cPLANCKom minus physicist> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:47PM (#13984946)
    From cnn "In August, President Bush endorsed teaching intelligent design alongside evolution."

    The very top of this country's leadership advocates ID; so begins the slow spiral into a dark age of education and science. Other then voting most of this addle-brained out of office there will be little the plebian society can do to stop this onslaught of dark age metality.

    This *is* a sad day. As one with a very young child soon to start in the school system, the moment any School board in my area begins this debate I will pull her out of public education, as well I will campaign to stop this spread of illogical thought. Maybe it is time to promote the damn Speghetti monster theory of evolution in Kansas since they have opened the door for any crack pot scheme.

    God Save the children of Kansas for their parents surely are lost.
  • This is stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <[tukaro] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:52PM (#13984991) Homepage Journal
    As the son of a pastor, I am very dissappointed in this decision.

    I'm no scientist, and I don't have any deep knowledge of evolution and the proof and theory behind it (at least that hasn't stuck with me from 10th grade biology,) but to my knowledge, evolution has deep scientific background, despite not being a proven fact.

    In an alternative vein, Intelligent Design/Creationism does have a few specs here and there that support it, but not nearly enough that would indicate the theory without some religious notion already in place.

    I am a big contendor of the seperation of church and state. I believe that anyone, religious or otherwise, should be. Why? While Christianity may be the leading religion in America right now, people should think about how it could be if Islam or other religions were the mainstream, and how their beliefs could affect Christians in that kind of world. Just as I don't want to follow their beliefs, I should not try to make them follow mine. This goes with atheism, too.

    If there is another scientifically backed theory that states an alternative progression of life, then it should be taught alongside evolution. Intelligent Design is not that theory, and this "Board of Education" is using personal presumptions and beliefs to affect the education of thousands of children, many of whom will probably go on to perpetuate this.

    And redefining science? That's just ludicrous. Next, they should redefine math to remove all calculus and algebra; this will make it easier for these children to pass standardized tests after going through a lackluster education.

    And people wonder why America is looked down upon these days. Boo to you, Kansas. Boo to you.

    (For the record, I believe in a mix of creationism and evolution; God created stuff, and evolution happened, with God nudging it here and there.)
  • by beforewisdom (729725) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:53PM (#13985007)
    New bumper sticker:

    "If you can read this, you are not from Kansas"
  • by localman (111171) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:27PM (#13985309) Homepage
    Quite seriously: I heard plenty of both evolution and intelligent design growing up, with an agnostic scientific father and a highly religious fundamentalist Christian mother. And like most kids in my situation I chose what made the most political sense at the time. In my case it was fundamentalist Christianity -- that side of the family was much more intense and proactive.

    During school, I denounced evolution regardless of their teachings, and argued with friends, teachers, and my dad's side of the family. But I still learned critical thinking and by the time I was 19 and on my own, I proclaimed myself an athiest and started to grok the evolutionary, organic nature of our world.

    Not that such is the ultimate goal -- go with whatever works for you. But I don't buy that school makes or breaks critical thinkers, and I don't think that hearing conflicting (even idiodic) ideas poisons the mind. Any of the kids in Kansas who are going to believe in ID are going to do so regardless of what the curriculum says. Ditto for evolution.

    And I don't even think the blow to science matters. Education is pretty much a mess anyways. It's not like we ever taught critical thinking in school. Or even basic logic. It's mostly memorization, without even the context to make use of the info. Most people seem to pick up any useful knowledge on their own.

    Cheers.

    (PS - I'm a high school drop out who went on to a fairly successful tech career... my opinion on the matter might be a bit skewed ;) I got lucky. No disrespect to the teachers who bust their humps for insulting pay -- education is a noble goal, it just doesn't seem to be working that well the way we do it now.)
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:34PM (#13985379) Homepage
    The University of California at Berkeley won't accept for credit high school biology courses that teach intelligent design. If you want to get into the life sciences or medicine, get out of Kansas schools.
  • by distantbody (852269) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:53PM (#13985547) Journal
    Taken from http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/ss/stories/s14932 25.htm [abc.net.au]

    Robyn Williams: Professor Derek Denton from the University of Melbourne has just published something of a critique of intelligent design in The Age newspaper, suggesting that some parts of our bodies are so botched that it's an insult to poor old God to hold him responsible.

    Derek Denton: There is obvious evidence against such an idea operating in living creatures. The gut is supported by being enclosed in a big membrane called the peritoneum. The peritoneum is attached to the backbone. This is fine for a four footed animal, however, given an animal with an upright posture, for example us, the gut falls to the bottom of the abdominal cavity. The common outcome may be various types of hernia, prolapse of the uterus and vaginal wall and haemorrhoids.

    The big maxillary sinuses or cavities are behind the cheeks on either side of the face. They have the drainage hole in the top, which is not much of an idea in terms of using gravity to assist drainage of the fluid. Ear, nose and throat specialists sometimes have to knock a hole through the side of the nose near the bottom of the sinus to help drainage of puss. Apart from horses, which have a very small opening, most four-footed animals operating with head down rarely get sinus problems. It would seem that knowledge of gravity has not been a strong point in the repertoire of the intelligent designer.

    The digestive system of grass and herbage eating animals includes a large organ next to the secum, the vermiform appendix in which cellulose is digested. In the human it's rudimentary, it gets matter caught in it, becomes inflamed sometimes causing sever peritonitis and death. Why the intelligent designer put it in at all is conjectural, unless in fact it is an evolutionary remnant from an earlier beneficial function.

    One of the marvels of backboned animals is the eye. Indeed, Dr William Paley, a clergyman, whose writings were used to challenge Darwin considered it as the shining example of intelligent design. Paley likened the situation to that of finding a watch abandoned in an open field: it must have a maker who formed it for a purpose. The eye might be compared with a designed instrument such as a telescope, he concludes, 'that there is precisely the same proof that the eye was made for vision as there is that the telescope was made for assisting it'. That is the eye must have had a designer just as the telescope had.

    In considering the eye as the marvel, there are facts now known which were not known in Paley's time, about 1801. In our eye and of all other vertebrates the optic nerve carries over a million fibres each leading from a cell in the retina. It is part of a system receiving data from about 125 million photocells. Whereas it would seem a designer would point the photo cells towards the source of light with the wires leading back to the brain, it would be poor design to have the photo cells pointing away from the light with their nerve processes departing on the side nearest the light. This is what happens in all vertebrate eyes, the wires or nerve processes have to travel across the surface of the retina to a place where they all go through a hole, creating what is called the blind spot, to form the optic nerve. The design principle is really not very good. The extremely interesting fact is that with the octopus the wires from the photocells don't point to the light but do indeed go backwards. The octopus eye in this respect is a better-designed effort by the putative intelligent designer than the eye of mammals. How did this come about?

    Well, Ernst Mayr, the great Harvard biologist argued that photo receptors in some form evolved independently some 40 to 60 times in animals ranging from worms, molluscs to vertebrates. In the octopus eye it is formed by an infolding of the surface cells on the head, which become thickened to form eye components and it i
  • An Atheist's chuckle (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frobozz0 (247160) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:39AM (#13985904)

    I have to say, to an Atheist like myself, all religions pretty much sounds like a chorus of stupidity. At some point a person indocrinated many otherwise rational people with a crazy notion-- in every part of your life but ONE, you will use rational thought to critically think. Why? It's so unbelievably obvious that religion is a good way to be in tune with your fellow man, and a terrible way to describe the empirical world. Faith, in this context, is another word for "lazy."

    The difference between Atheists and religious fundamentalists is that it's a rare day you find an athiest pushing their point of view on another person. I don't care what you think. I *want* you to think what you feel is right, and I want you to leave me the F alone. Fundamentalists (not speaking of level headed religious people) insist on making everyone else believe what they believe. They will lie, steal, and cheat their way at any cost under the belief they are working for a great good. This country was founded on freedom of speech, religion (or lack of), and diversity. Live and let live. Sadly, this mentality was driven into them in one of two ways: as a small child or in a time of weakness. In both cases these are times in people's lives when they are vulnerable to suggestion. Sounds abhorrent to me.

    At it's core, Fundamentalists dig their heels in about Evolution because it challenges the single most important principal in their worlds-- humans are at the center. We're created in god's image, and "he" is the creator of us. (Yes not all religions, but let's go with this in the context of the Kansas situation.) So, if we're not all that special, where do fundamentalists find their purpose? Their entire worlds come crashing down. Nothing seems more "secular" to me than thinking you're the only unique speck of life in the universe. The sad twist is that people like myself, who believe in Science as a way to understand our conditions of existence, rarely think our place and the world around it is any less special. It's amazing! It's wonderful. We're wonderful. And we should damn well let our neighbor think what they want. That goes for anything shy of inflicting bodily harm on another. I don't think teaching the evolution of humans counts as bodily harm, do you? How about we keep Religion at home, where the Bible thumping Fundamentalists are supposed to be indoctrinating their children with creation myths.

    So now we sit and watch Kansas, a state my Aunt and Uncle live in, become the laughing stock of the developed WORLD. I just sit back and think on all the other recent evangelical religion based events that have been so similar, and backfired so badly. Now we can add one more to that endless list. This is the new Monkey trial, folks. It will take some time, but this won't last for long. Reason will prevail.

    And if you don't agree with me-- fine. I want you to think for yourself. Just keep Religion at home, please.

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