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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 cloudofstrife (887438) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:29PM (#13984782)
    Wait, so if science isn't the study of explanations for natural phenomena, then what is?

    Even intelligent design is an explanation.
  • 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..."
  • 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.
  • American Taliban (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:30PM (#13984788)
    They are among us.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 One Louder (595430) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:34PM (#13984823)
    Science is the natural explanation of phenomena.

    ID is a supernatural explanation of phenomena.

  • 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."

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • by ahbi (796025) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:35PM (#13984833) Journal
    Why is this not in the Poltics section?
    We all know this is just going to devolve (if it hasn't started there) into an "Christians are stupid."/"Evolution is wrong." forum.

    Was there any new scienctific insight that merits inclusion in the Science section of Slashdot? No?

    Or was is a political act by a political group?

    mmmm.
    Congratulations you got around my filters/preferences for the frontpage.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:35PM (#13984836)
    If you want to stop ID in it's tracks, get the ABET committee (the Higher Education Accreditation Committee) to do one of the following:

    1. Refuse to accept students to ABET accredited college who have been schooled in ID supported school districts.

    2. Allow students from ID supported school districts to attend college, but force them to take college level Biology, Evolutionary studies, and basic science as a pre-req to any degree; be it astrophysics or dance.

    Watch a grass roots revolt happen in those districts as soon as the kids find out they'll have to repeat basic science education, perhaps increasing their overall time in higher ed. Watch ID get kicked out fast!
  • 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 AthenianGadfly (798721) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:36PM (#13984848)
    I'll probably get modded into oblivion for this, and I may indeed be quite wrong, but is there anything wrong with allowing "materials critical of evolution" to be taught? Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there really no scientific basis for any criticism of evolution? Isn't it only fair - and rather scientific - to explain both supporting and critical evidence? I didn't RTFA, so if they're teaching intelligent design in particular, then that's an entirely different situation...
  • Re:Good For Them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mattsucks (541950) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:36PM (#13984849) Homepage
    Seriously though, it's pretty obvious if you study the theory that it really does have a lot of areas where uncertainty reigns.

    So?

    That doesn't mean that an intelligent designer did it. The "God of the Gaps" argument holds no H2O.

    All it means is that there are areas where uncertainly reigns. That's what science is supposed to DO ... clear up our 'areas of uncertainty' with respect to the physical universe.
  • by WhiteWolf666 (145211) <sherwin@@@amiran...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 Absolut187 (816431) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:37PM (#13984862) Homepage
    Schools teaching ID are absolutely doing a disservice to the students who are forced to take this curriculum.


    Since when is public school about service for the students?

    I went to public school for 12 years, and it is closer to an assembly line than a place to foster intellectual development.

    These people pushing ID don't give a crap about learning, they want their kids indoctrinated into their religious cult.

  • Mind-boggling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:38PM (#13984863)

    In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

    What the hell are they thinking? That's not science, that's philosophy. If something is supernatural, it's outside the realm of science by definition.
  • Re:Schools... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hunterx11 (778171) <hunterx11@TOKYOgmail.com minus city> 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 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."
  • 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 Shelled (81123) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:41PM (#13984888)
    Hey, there's two ways to look at this development. The artificial controversy around ID might spur many a student to examine the literature for themselves outside of the classroom and make an attempt at an individual opinion. Independent, informed thought is after all a good goal of education. Note that only the controversy has this effect, dressing religion as pseudo-science and forcing on the young is still wrong. And for those who claim it's not religion, I'll ask again: If not a watered down diety what is the 'I' in ID, space aliens?
  • by xornor (165117) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:41PM (#13984889)
    I was born in kansas educated as an engineer and have been a devout atheist since I could crawl. Ironically my father (raised in kansas) is a molecular geneticist and director at arguably the worlds leading research institute. I can only imagine what may have come of him (and in turn myself) had he been influenced by the people at the reigns of education in kansas today. All I can say is someone needs to take back control out there.
  • by idios cosmos (929647) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:43PM (#13984902)
    If you keep looking long enough, you'll find something if it's there or not. It's called delusion. I mean the Catholic Church can't find a problem with evolution, but hey, some redneck from Bob Jones University does, so lets all start a burnin' books.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:44PM (#13984919)
    Kansas will end up serving as an example for the other states. Any economy these days, be it that of a town, city, state or country, cannot exist without a strong scientific and technical foundation. This sort of action will only serve to deteriorate such a base. While the other states will advance technologically, and will thus propsper, Kansas will not.

    Kansas' economy will not be able to evolve as effectively as those of the other states. It may take some time, but that will be the result of taking a stance against science. There will be an exodus of talent from Kansas, in addition to a lack of new talent being produced from their anti-science school system. It will not become a theocracy, however, because without a solid economy a state fails to function. Thus it may very well become a deserted state.

  • by RamsÚs Morales (13327) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:45PM (#13984920)
    ...but they don't know. And even if they knew, they wouldn't care. That is the problem with faith, being laughed at will reinforce their beliefs.

    I can't beleive that they accepted a new definition for science. The definition is so open that explaining something with supernatural ideas is now valid. I guess that in Kansas dowsers, mediums and astrologists now have the same place as a PhD in physics or biology.

    What is worst, is that people believe that science is a democracy, so this vote will reinforce creationism, giving it more strength among those that were not sure if they should follow creationism.

    This shows once again that what "you know who" once said is true: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
  • I don't get it... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 3bear_ly7 (929648) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:45PM (#13984924)
    It's okay to rewrite the definition of the word "science", but not the definition of "marriage"? All hail the double standard!
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:46PM (#13984925)
    I'll probably get modded into oblivion for this, and I may indeed be quite wrong, but is there anything wrong with allowing "materials critical of evolution" to be taught?
    Not that I can see. The only problem is FINDING anything that is scientific and contradicts evolution.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there really no scientific basis for any criticism of evolution?
    So far there isn't.

    Evolution is the foundation of our current understanding of Biology. Everything from DNA to resistant viruses is predicted by evolution.
    Isn't it only fair - and rather scientific - to explain both supporting and critical evidence?
    Sure. The problem is FINDING anything that is both scientific and critical of evolution.
  • by The Analog Kid (565327) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:47PM (#13984944)
    Intelligent Design is not testible nor falsifiable and should not be taught in a science class, even if it were 100% true.
  • Re:Good For Them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DeathElk (883654) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:47PM (#13984945)
    No, not good for them. The ID debate is merely an extension on religion vs. science, with intelligent design proponents attempting to mould established scientific theory to legitimise their own religious agenda. High school can be an arena for the discussion of scientific principles as an aid to individual learning, however unproven and opinionated versions have no place as a part of the curriculum.
  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062@gmaiMONETl.com minus painter> 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.
  • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:48PM (#13984953)
    Does Kansas really want to become like Utah?

    Let's be honest. Utah is not seen very highly by many Americans and by others. That may be very well due to the excessive role religion plays in every aspect of the state.

    That is not a legacy that Kansas should want to develop for itself.

  • Re:Schools... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mister_tim (653773) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:50PM (#13984977)
    So, if the two theories are being taught side by side, i.e. evolution a well of critiques of the theory, are being taught, where exactly is the problem? What I'm getting at is if you teach in scvhools not just the dominantn theory itself, but alternate viewpoints - aren't you explicitly promoting skills in analaysis and comparison? From my reading, the decision wasn't that only ID could be taught, or that evolution couldn't be taught, but that it was ok to present multiple viewpoints and critiques.
  • This is stupid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro@@@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.)
  • 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.
  • A sad day indeed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Deathanatos (811514) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:54PM (#13985012)
    Incredibly, this got passed. This is horribly wrong, and defeats the point of science.

    Let's review what science is based on. Known facts that have been determined through repeated testing. Things that we know work, and how they work. Science gives humans the knowledge to build building, bridges, fly into space, save human lives, etc.

    And here we are, injecting what supporters fraudulently call the "theory" of intelligent design, into our school classrooms? Last I checked, America's schools weren't fairing so well. We don't need to increase this problem.

    John Bacon, said the move "gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today."
    Say what? We're not getting rid of anything. We're inserting a set of religious beliefs into the science classroom. Science is based on facts that can be tested. You can test evolution. You cannot test ID. ID is a religious belief.

    The way my high school world studies teacher did it, and the method I personally agree with, was with a field trip. We took a day, and the whole class (about fifty of us (And not as in class of 2005, class, as in people in a classroom.)) rode the bus to a Muslim Mosque, a Jewish Synagogue, as well as Hinda and Buddist. At each stop, a person from that place would talk to us about their religion and their beliefs. It was wonderful, and, might I add, very educational. My point is, that is where ID belongs. In Social Studies. It's religion, and people need to get over religion being mentioned in school. It can, and should, be done, just in the right place. And we studied it. Along with the creation stories of many of the cultures on Earth, from Greek to Viking.

    "Wish my teachers had to admit that Evolution isn't as solid as a Mac :)... And I get really annoyed when people pretend that it's water tight..." (-Another slashdotter) Unfortunately, the theory of evolution is that tight. It's a theory. "In scientific usage, theory is not the opposite of fact. Theories are typically ways of explaining why things happen, usually after the fact that they happen is no longer in scientific dispute." People misuse the word theory a lot, and it's common to misunderstand it as the opposite of fact. I think if more people were aware of the meaning of the word theory, and therefore what it means to say "the theory of evolution", there'd be less confusion.

    "It will be marketed by the religious right ... as a huge victory for their side," I'm a Republican, and I should hope I'm religious, and I will not be trumpeting this as a victory of any sort.
  • by schon (31600) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:55PM (#13985017)
    You say that it corruptive of reliigon.

    I'm not the parent poster, but I think it's probably because of the fact that it reduces the power of god.

    Basically, ID says that anything we can't directly observe or understand was made by god.

    As we see more and understand more of how our world works, that means (logically) that god is less and less powerful. Right now (according to ID), god is directly responsible for "X" amount of the world around us, where "X" is everything we don't understand, or haven't observed directly. As we are constantly learning, that means that god is less and less responsible for the world around us, up until the point where we understand everything, and hence god (to quote Douglas Adams) disappears in a puff of logic.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:59PM (#13985065)
    Well, you should read the article for a change.

    What you say is essentially correct, just like communism was essentially a good idea, however, it is bound to be wrongly used by people. (And I hope I haven't invoked some derivative or corollary of Godwin's Law.)

    The people who approved this are using words trying to portray that conventional science as "dogmatic" and "fundamentalist", words which are generally associated with religion than science. Scientists, especially good scientists, should have a healthy dose of skepticism, especially of their own work. The evolution model is always under examination and modification, that is the nature of science, you always try to find a better explanation, rather than holding onto a single idea for hundreds and thousands of years.

    They also use doublespeak like "academic freedom" and "some teachers feeling freer to discuss criticisms of evolution", when it's more likely that the teachers will be censured if they don't speak of ID in science classes because they don't feel comfortable with it. And "Intelligent Design" itself is doublespeak for "Creationism", otherwise why are they not teaching other alternative creation stories from other cultures?

    And even more damaging to the education of young people is their redefinition of science, where they are no longer just seeking "natural explanations of phenomena", where just a logical explanation will do.

    "What's wrong with that?" I hear you ask. Well, "natural" is used in a very specific sense, it means the explanations are objective, where as "logical" is subjective, it just has to _feel_ right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:01PM (#13985082)
    I think the point is you learn the scientific point of view from your science class. You can then learn the theological points of view from your church and home. You can get both POVs without learning creationism from a science book.
  • News to me (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:05PM (#13985113) Homepage Journal
    the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.

    What fossil evidence? What molecular biology? Did the school board even review this or did they just take it as given?
  • by FullCircle (643323) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:06PM (#13985119)
    Can the children of Atheists (and other, non-Christians) be excused from science class because of this?

    What about children that claim to be? It is their right.

    If the words "under God" in can get the Pledge of Allegiance banned or reworded and the Ten Commandments, a work of art, can be removed from public places, why not?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:07PM (#13985131)
    Evolution is real and that is how things have come to be (and in the case of humans, some extra-terrestrial interference with our genetics has been thrown into the mix too). However, evolution is not the product of successful random mutations as is commonly believed. The truth is that evolution is guided by an intelligent force.

    Love,
    duneLotus
  • 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 finelinebob (635638) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:10PM (#13985155) Homepage

    There is nothing wrong with allowing "materials critical of evolution" to be taught. There is also nothing wrong with allowing materials critical to Newtonian mechanics, plate tectonics or any other scientific proposition/theory/law. In fact, there is a lot wrong with teaching that such ideas are sacrosanct and above criticism.

    Doing science does not involve verifying the truth of any proposition. Science works within a paradigm of falsification -- we try to demonstrate that a hypothesis cannot be the best explanation of a phenomenon. The inability to demonstrate this, along with the elimination of competing explanations, is what gives any proposition the weight it needs to be accepted as the best current explanation we have of a phenomenon.

    Science is not a search for truths, nor is it a search for the Truth. This is the one biggest aspects of the nature of science that most people simply cannot comprehend, particularly like those on the Kansas State BoE who voted this in. While scientists may feel their work moves us closer to truths or the Truth, science itself is incapable of achieving that. So, by misinterpreting knowledge propositions like evolution as "that which is True", proponents of belief systems like Intelligent Design are guilty of a boundary violation -- they are bringing in rules from a non-scientific means of understanding the world into the realm of science. You want us to teach that evolution has holes in it? Sure thing! Any good bio teacher is already doing so.

    The same problem would be true if things were going in the other direction. There is nothing in science that can prove or disprove the existence of God, no matter what the hyper-rationalistic-atheistic-lunatic-fringe might argue. The existence of a "Being" outside of that which can be experienced is outside of the realm of that which is scientific, and so trying to prove it one way or another is a boundary violation that makes such pursuits non-scientific, no matter how much the pursuer might claim he or she is doing science.

    It all comes down to this, put as childishly as possible: If you want to play our game, you gotta play by our rules. Otherwise, go home. And leave the ball, it's ours. And we don't want to play your game either.

  • 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 donglekey (124433) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:14PM (#13985185) Homepage
    and the Ten Commandments, a work of art, can be removed from public places,

    Who made it and what museum do they keep the original in? I was raised Catholic and that seems rediculous to me.
  • by duncan bayne (544299) <dhgbayne@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:14PM (#13985188) Homepage
    If there were no public education (conceived in Prussia during the late 1800s as an indoctrination system), this would be a non-issue. It's only a problem because the Government has it's tendrils all the way through education, at all levels.

    If education were entirely private & unregulated, parents could simply send their children to schools of their own choice, which taught curricula to their liking. End of problem.
  • by Decaff (42676) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:15PM (#13985193)
    Interesting comment--considering that they are teaching Intelligent Design alongside Evolutionary Theory. Your comment seems to indicate that, by teaching ONLY Evolution, that's how we develop Independent Thinking? Tell one side of a story? Somehow, that seems more like indoctrination to me.

    You are missing the point. These classes are supposed to be science lessons, not philosophy or religion. There are plenty of alternatives ideas to evolution that can be discussed in biology classes, such as the ideas that fossils aren't old and the Earth was created recently. These areas are testable, and examining the data that suggests they are false can be highly educational - students learn about rock strata and radioactive dating.

    Intelligent design is not testable. It is nothing more than a series of statements of incredulity - that because we don't yet understand everything about the evolution of life then there must have been intervention by a 'designer'. This isn't science. Intelligent design might be science if there was some sort of valid consistent test for the existence of a designer, but there isn't. Also, because it is likely there there will always be some area of evolution or of biology that is not fully understood, there will always be some room for someone to say 'that must be designed'. This means that Intelligent Design is never refutable; again, making it meaningless in the context of science.

    Science teaching should include the idea that we are simply currently ignorant about some things. Coming up with untestable, irrefutable explanations to cover that ignorance is dishonest and should not be part of the process.

    Imagine this sort of approach being used in other areas of science (e.g. 'We don't yet fully understand the origin of comets, so aliens or gods must have made them') and the results are silly in the extreme.

  • Re:An Apology (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sasami (158671) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:16PM (#13985206)
    As a Christian, I'd like to apologize for this new addition to the list of the many ways Christianity has wronged the world.

    I am also a Christian, and I second this, with the exception of your terminology. None of the mistakes you list are caused by Christianity but by the church.

    The difference is important, because there are no human institutions that are perfect. The church is no exception, and Jesus said as much ("it is not the healthy who need a doctor").

    Generally speaking, it's no problem for a Christian to accept evolution. Even if some hold that there is a theological conflict (which I do not), it isn't a conflict that interferes with the central message of Christianity: that God created the universe, humans screwed up, and God fixed it -- not metaphorically, but historically in a cataclysmic act of generosity.

    This whole "religion vs. science" debacle is a terrible shame. The dichotomy only exists for people who want it to exist -- not just the Christians engaging in wrongful coercion, but also those who hold tightly to evolution as a (fallacious) weapon against Christianity.

    In truth, there is no conflict. Modern Western science owes its existence to Christian epistemology. The Platonism prevalent throughout the middle ages explicitly denied the possibility of a "scientific method." It was devout believers like Galileo, Copernicus, and Kepler who shook off the pervasive Greek influence and took to heart the notion that a rational God would make a world that can be rationally understood. Today we take that notion for granted, but it's arguably the most important development in all of science.

    --
    Dum de dum.
  • 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 clem.dickey (102292) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:21PM (#13985249)
    I wonder who managed to sneak in the redefinition. I think they did science a favor. I find the redefinition (within Kasnas) preferrable to the fiction that ID is science as defined elsewhere.
  • by Chuckstar (799005) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:21PM (#13985253)
    I don't believe we provide universal education because everyone has a right to an eduction. I believe we provide universal education because it is in everyone's best interest, both economically and civically. Where do you get educated workers for your business if poor people have nowhere to go to get educated? How much easier would it be to influence people's votes if those people have no education?
  • by AlfredNilknarf (929652) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:22PM (#13985256)
    This is the scientific method in action. The scientific method:

    1) Propose a hypothesis
    2) Test hypothesis
    3) Change hypothesis according to test results

    Darwin's Hypothesis - life evolves with time and natural circumstances to become more and more complex.

    Intelligent Design Hypothesis - life shows signs of design and not just adaptation

    The problem I see with the Darwinist proponents is they are not willing to ever get to step #3. When life seems to have made a jump (for example the wing - what possible competitive advantage would a half developed wing have served) there is no change in the hypothesis - it is simply ignored (why not, no other theory is allowed to exist - there can be no other explanation). The proof start to become self-defining - evolution explains the development of the wing because the wing evolved. hmmmmm.

    While many here are making parallels to Galileo and the heliocentric theory - I see a parallel as well -- the Church did not want a competing theory to their own. What is the harm in allowing more than one theory to exist.

  • 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 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 Flower (31351) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:25PM (#13985290) Homepage
    What independent thinking? ID certainly doesn't promote it. It provides the ultimate out in the search for truth. It's too hard right now to explain *this* so the obvious answer is God did it! (And don't even try to claim it is some ambiguous creator that spontaneously created the eye. The second some pagan asserts that it was the Goddess who made it happen you'll see every ID proponent in Kansas heading out to smite that heretic down.)

    ID's greatest sin is that it closes doors to scientific research. If God miraciously intervened and created the eye then there is no reason to try to find an explanation. God did it so leave it alone and don't question it. Obviously if a million believers can't figure it out what could a scientist accomplish? And if this can be done in evolution then why can't it be done in other sciences? The creation of the universe is too complex to really comprehend so all this fluff about researching gravity really doesn't have to be done because we can just attribute the really interesting mysteries to God.

    ID isn't science. It's the same old shit that pioneers in science had to fight against and be abused by centuries ago.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:26PM (#13985297)
    There are a lot of good scientists that live and work in Kansas ...

    Not for long. This sort of anti-scientific sentiment will run out all of the real scientists. As you show, there are many opportunities outside of Kansas. Without a solid scientific and technical base, the economy of Kansas will become irrelevant. And these days no community survives without a solid economy.

  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:26PM (#13985303)

    I'm no fan of what the Kansas Board is doing, but your concern about the sanctity of the "definition of science" is misplaced.

    The difference between Newton and ID is that newton was doing science and ID is poorly wrapped Creationism. His concern is well placed.

  • 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.)
  • The "point" (if there is one) isn't really about whether ID is correct or not. The problem is that it's not a valid, falsifiable, scientific theory. It's just some ID that might explain things that we can't otherwise explain. ID really is no better than the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory, that's the problem.

    If people want to believe in ID, fine (I lean that way myself), but it's ridiculous to let these religious fundamentalist nutjobs screw up the educational system and start redefining the very meaning of "science." But as it stands, there is absolutely no basis for teaching ID as any sort of accepted, favorable, or meaningful theory... all the people saying "if you're going to teach ID, teach FSM" aren't just being fascetious, they have a very valid point.
  • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:29PM (#13985332)
    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.

    Should they teach it as a perfect theory, rather than teach the science of evolution.
    The flaws are where the interesting stuff lies. You know the kooky ideas like relativity that helped fill in the flaws of Newtonian Physics. Sure most of the kids will be lazy and just throw God in the gap, but others might find intrigue into actually trying to figure out why things aren't perfect. You inspire kids by challenging them, so instead of saying "here's evolution, accept it", say "here's evolution, make it work"
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@NoSPaM.mac.com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:31PM (#13985351) Journal
    The funny thing about the controversy is that the people opposed to thinking independently are the ones who insist that a collection of ideas be taught as established fact, no longer subject to critical analysis.

    Looks like you need a bit more stuffing in your straw man there, sunshine.

    ID isn't critical analysis at all. It offers no testable hypotheses, no avenues for further study, allows for no modification of its own precepts in the light of new evidence, etc. Basically, ID in its entirety is nothing more than a very verbose "Nu-uh!" to evolutionary theory.

    -jcr
  • by adrianmonk (890071) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:34PM (#13985377)

    In my humble opinion, schools should teach neither "intelligent design" nor evolution. Instead, what they should teach is that:

    1. It's an age-old question where humans and other living things came from.
    2. Science provides (basically) one answer.
    3. Certain religions provide other answers.
    4. While many people think the religious and scientific answers are compatible, many do not.
    5. This is a controversial subject, and many who take one side look down on those who take the other side.
    6. That different groups believe very different things even though they have roughly the same information available to them illustrates that they take very different approaches to determining what is true. Some people take it as axiomatic that the world operates according to laws, that we can discover explanations for what we see, and that nothing beyond the observable reality exists. Other people take it as axiomatic that something does exist beyond objectively observable reality and that certain information can only be gained by revelation from outside our observable reality.

    Of course, the schools should also go over the mechanics of evolution.

    My point is that schools should not present any point of view on a controversial subject like this as truth. They should present facts, and it is a fact that some people believe evolution is the explanation of the origin of life, so it is fair to teach that and to explain what evolution is. It's also a fact that a lot of people don't believe in evolution, so they should present that fact as well.

    In other words, when it comes to the veracity of evolution and other hotly-disputed topics, schools should be descriptive rather than prescriptive. Teaching, for example, that evolution is a fact and that the fact of evolution means there is no need to believe in God would be improper, because you are telling the students what to believe. And so would teaching evolution in a way that tacitly implies that there is no God. And, so would teaching evolution in a way that tacitly implies that it's inferior to intelligent design. Schools should be telling students what they could believe, not what they should believe.

    Now, having said all that, if the Kansas government really did define science, then they are going way off course, because they are not teaching facts to the students. They are lying to the students about what science is, which is dumb.

  • by NeoOokami (528323) <neowolf.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:36PM (#13985399) Homepage
    I'd disagree there. The difference there is that while fools argued that Newton was dealing with the occult, he was indeed dealing with a natural force and provided scientific observation and understanding. This is something ID is not doing. Science is still science. Newton wasn't ever trying to redefine that, ID people ARE.
  • by stonedonkey (416096) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:41PM (#13985451)
    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.

    Ah, but it's not religiously-biased. The problem with intelligent design is that it's a firmly Judeo-Christian agenda outlined by monotheistic origin mythology.

    And once again, one fact is getting lost in the ether: The theory evolution does not attempt to explain origination. If it did, it would probably be called, well, the Theory of Origination. All the ToE attempts to do is explain -- wait for it -- how species have evolved.

    The fundie right should just admit that their problem isn't with evolution, but that we were very likely descended from tree-swinging banana munchers. That offends them to no end. They'd like to think they came out of the divine crucible just as we are now: full-fledged humans. Not only does this make them look stupid, but it makes the rest of us look stupid for letting this shallow meme insinuate its way into our already embarrassing public education system.

    God help us.

    Heh.
  • by NanoGator (522640) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:43PM (#13985468) Homepage Journal
    "Oh wait-- Slashdot, news for NERDS... I thought this was Slashgod, News for Rubes."

    Um, okay. I'm originally from Kansas and I've largely stayed out of this topic for two reasons:

    1. There have been a LOT of modded up comments with extreme generalizations made about a large group of people. I'm not keen on the idea of announcing I'm from Kansas and having my credibility as a nerd immediately revoked because of assumptions made based on a few people being loud mouthed. And, yes, I'm including your comment along with this Mr. "Has anybody noticed that no Kansas residents have added their comments to this discussion?"

    2. I find it irritating that science is supposed to be about arriving at conclusions through empirical evidence. We're all supposed to be pro-science here, but the despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, the noisy majority around here believes certain ideas are untrue. The hypocracy here makes me want to say some not-so-nice things that wouldn't likely continue as a civilized discussion. Add to that that if I even sound like I'm supporting ID (and that could happen through no mention of ID at all) ... well I'm from Kansas so I must have ridiculous beliefs therefore I'm a hopeless no-brained idiot. Of course, this happens BEFORE any actual discussion about whether or not it should be taught in school, which is really what the topic is about.

    So, no, I'm not about to add my comments on either side of this debate because of loud-mouthed dipshits like you who have basically secured Slashdot so an intelligent discussion on this topic cannot really take place. As it is, I'm going to draw fire over this post even though I haven't actually stated where I stand on this topic. I fully expect a rebuttal here that fails to notice that I'm talking about the behaviour of people on Slashdot, not the actual debate itself.

    So, to answer your original question, I'd recommend not drawing too many conclusions from the apparent lack of feedback from Kansas residents. It would be unscientific.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:47PM (#13985494)
    You idiots put a religious zealot in the whitehouse, and now you complain that he's forcing his beliefs down you thoat. You go what you deserve.
  • by Viking Coder (102287) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:48PM (#13985507)
    You missed the point entirely. Newton couldn't explain gravity, but he could describe it. The predictions were falsifiable. Intelligent Design has none of that.

    Yes, Newton was probably more dissatisfied with his inability to explain gravity than anybody. But falling back on "the only way species could exist today is because an intelligent designer made it that way" is a gigantic step backwards (like saying "the only way the planets could move the way they do is because an intelligent designer made them that way"), and redefining science such that it seems as hokey as the bullshit is truly something to be concerned about - some kids might fall for it, and move further towards believing science is indistinguishable from magic - occult magic. You know, The Devil.
  • by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:51PM (#13985525)
    There is various observed evidence to support the theory of the Big Bang, for instance.

    Maybe. We think we're observing things (like "echos") of the Big Bang but that is far from evidence. Others have said that science should be able to predict things and/or be falsifiable. The Big Bang is neither.

    Direct and indirect evidence is completely lacking for Intelligent Design.

    The Bible is a source of evidence that supports the possibility of intelligent design. Of course, people want to reject it just because it's a religious document even though nothing in the Bible has ever been demonstrated wrong and, time and time again, the Bible has been found to be an accurate about historic events. If the Bible is wrong about God creating the universe, it'd be the first time it has been wrong about anything.

    Yet scientists refuse to even look at it. Truly amazing considering that scientists have been far less accurate over the ages.

    ID is more akin to an interpretation of a myth, than it is to a scientific theory.

    As far as I know, ID doesn't state that a Christian God was the intelligence behind creation. It could be a Christian God, it could be an Islamic God, it could be little green aliens from Alpha Centauri.

    ID is a simple recognition of the fact that science hasn't adequately explained how the universe began, how order came from chaos, and how life began and became more complex. You want to debunk ID? Science has it's work cut out for it.

  • by letxa2000 (215841) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:55PM (#13985573)
    Its wrong because ID says that evolution is impossible due to the complexity of the genetic changes. ID basically says that every life form on Earth was specifically designed and created by God and that no evolution has ever occured.

    No, that's Creationism, not ID.

    ID is not what you think, it is not God tweaking with DNA, ID contends that everything was designed by God with NO EVOLUTION OF ANY KIND.

    Wrong. I suggest you investigate furhter. That's Creationism.

    ID theory is silly in my opinion, God is a farmer, not a micro-manager. I believe in God absolutely, but ID theory is stupid. God planted the seeds, maybe tweaked them, but He let things grow and evolve.

    Sounds like you believe in ID!

  • by msbsod (574856) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:01AM (#13985613)
    Close all universities for all kids from Kansas. Let them life with their Intelligent Design, alone. Let their parents deal with this nonsense. Schools in the US are bad enough. The last thing we need is more waste of time to deal with what is leaving Kansas' schools. All university professors already have to work overtime. Enough is enough. Sorry.
  • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:02AM (#13985616)
    There is no place for Intelligent Design in Science. Intelligent design is trying to push religion into science.

    Want proof.

    Fine, where are the papers on ID that have been accepted to respected conferences. None? Ok.

    Where are the professors speaking up in favor of it. None?

    Ok.

    See, this is the difference between science and a political agenda... science is science, and a political agenda is a political agenda. See? Science is discussed at conferences, by scientists. If your theory isn't peer reviewed, in science, it's not "science." It's a theory that you've posited.

    What these people are doing is wrong. They're trying to make their religion true by calling it science. There's a funny thing about faith. You're just supposed to believe it. If your faith isn't strong enough to stand up to even a basic test, then perhaps you just don't have faith.
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:08AM (#13985658) Homepage
    The problem with intelligent design is that it's a firmly Judeo-Christian agenda outlined by monotheistic origin mythology.

    It's kind of annoying when people throw around the term 'Judeo-Christian.' The two religions are not all that close, and anyway it's usually just used as a synonym for Christian. Certainly in this case, it's mostly Christians that have the agenda of teaching creationism in schools.
  • by big_fat_phony (929662) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:09AM (#13985667)
    But Newton's theory has hard fact in daily life: apples do fall downwards from the tree. What about supernatural beings? Oh I know, because the human beings are very complicated and each body part if very well organized, it must be created by a supreme being. Evidence? The human beings, just look at them!!!
  • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:14AM (#13985701) Homepage
    Except that the Vatican has a long history of compromising key articles of faith to keep the peace. A compromising faith is the folly of much of catholicism, sadly.

    You know, all that stuff about there being no death before Adam & Eve was a big mistake. And of course man can't really be made in God's image since the present day is just a step in a big long evolutionary path. Never mind that Genesis mentions creation in six days while going to great pains to define 'day' as the period of the suns position in the sky, just in case anyone misunderstands what a 'day' might mean. Not to mention the fossil record.

    It's this watering down of basic Christianity that has allowed the really dangerous belief systems to infiltrate (PC-veilied Pantheism in the US and pacific, and Islam in Europe, Africa and the former Soviet countries).

    Think the dark ages were bad? Wait till you see what's around the corner.

  • Fare Wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Safety Cap (253500) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:21AM (#13985757) Homepage Journal

    I'll agree all ideas should be given fair weight.

    Amen, brother!

    Let's start with

    • The earth is flat
    • Aliens taught the ancients [rotten.com] how to do stuff
    • The sun orbits the earth
    • The human body is made up of the four humours [wikipedia.org]
      1. yellow bile
      2. black bile
      3. phlegm
      4. blood
    • Lightning causes babies, and finally
    • Reich's Orgone Box actually works!!!111
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:28AM (#13985814) Journal
    the true sadness lies in the idea of what is and isn't science being determined by politicians

    The true sadness is that Kansas will produce a generation of children who have been taught;

    "Don't bother questioning why things work the way they do. The answer is beyond your understanding."
  • by Pendersempai (625351) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:30AM (#13985831)
    "People who make up definitions of science and then try to rule out rival theories because they are not 'scientific' are usually up to no good."

    This is 100% wrong! The scientific method is not up for debate. The reason people at the time were wrong to condemn Newton's notions of gravity is PRECISELY BECAUSE these people were not using the scientific method, and he was!

    "Part of what is at stake in scientific controversy is what the proper definition of science is."

    This is just false. It is easy to define science: it is the advancement (or state of) human knowledge acquired through the scientific method. If you need a definition of the scientific method, any grade school science textbook will give it to you. Empirical falsification of theory and subsequent theorizing is uniquely responsible for the incredible state of technology today. Philosophers' ponderings in their atriums, witch doctors' reasoning from 'first principles,' priest's divine revelations: none of these have yielded any significant and sustained advance in technology EVER. These goddamn rednecks who have decided to redefine science are killing a sacred cow. Science is not whatever you want it to be, it's not a political philosophy, and it's certainly not the expression of religious beliefs in a modern world. It's a single process that has proven throughout history to GET RESULTS. By trying to force it out of the classroom, these imbeciles are doing their children just as much of a disservice as if they replaced mathematics with numerology, astronomy with astrology, or economics with finger-painting.
  • by kwietman (795554) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:36AM (#13985880)
    There's nothing wrong with being critical of evolution or any other theory. There is active debate in the community about the mechanisms of evolution, including Phillip Jay Gould's "punctuated equilibrium" model. what Kansas has done, however, is used the blanket of "criticism" to espouse a belief system that requires supernatural intervention, and required that this supernatural force be included in the teaching of science. I have nothing against teaching religion, philosophy, etc. Just don't teach it in SCIENCE classes. It isn't science, can't be science, has no place next to science. It's religion, no matter what blanket you wrap it in.
  • by Trogre (513942) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:42AM (#13985927) Homepage
    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.

    Except evolution. In my experience proponents of evolution are extremely closed-minded when any evidence or positions are put forward that don't agree 100% with their position. I've seen the most otherwise pleasant and mild-mannered science teacher become quite hostile when challenged on this issue. I'm sure a lot of it can be put down to being sick of uneducated creationists, but to them their faith has become as dogmatic as any fundamentalist religion.

  • by Decameron81 (628548) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:48AM (#13985977)
    "I find it irritating that science is supposed to be about arriving at conclusions through empirical evidence. We're all supposed to be pro-science here, but the despite the lack of evidence to the contrary, the noisy majority around here believes certain ideas are untrue."


    No. The noisy majority believes that the lack of evidence to the contrary does not turn certain ideas into scientific theories, which has nothing to do with truth. For instance I could tell you that elephants can perfectly hide behind flowers when they really want to and you could not prove me wrong. It could be true, but it's not science. This is not an attempt to be unpolite nor sarcastic.

    The mistake you make is to believe that science equals truth, which is a huge and enormous misconception. God could exists, but science can't test it: hence it's not a scientific theory. Does it mean it's not true? No, it just means it's not a scientify theory.

    If you fail to aknowledge this, then you are simply trying to change the objectives of science.
  • by Frobozz0 (247160) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:50AM (#13985991)
    As an atheist, I hold no quam. So many good things have come as a result of level headed religious people that I could never damn an entire religion based on it's zealots.

    Zealots are generally weak minded people who need a guiding force to find purpose in life. People who use religion as a tool to enrich an otherwise rational existence are doing themselves a service. I may not agree with the conclusion but I respect it. I just reach enrichment in different ways.

    So thanks for all the soup kitchens, the homeless shelters, the beautiful architecture, the scholars, the scientists, the teachers, and so forth.

    But, yeah, these Fundamentalist wackos leading the charge in Kansas give your religion a shiner...

  • by Audacious (611811) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:50AM (#13985993) Homepage
    Ok, I have to say, as funny as your comments are, the following:

    Michael Jackson: I'm Bad, so bad, oo-ee, oo-ee, bad.

    So bad => good.

    Bling-bling?

    Junk! (Meaning good as seen/heard on Extreme Make-over.)

    Gay! Meaning happy or homosexual?

    Dike! The tool or????

    My point is - words get redefined all of the time. Sometimes for good reasons, but mostly not for good reasons. As (IMHO) in this particular case. In this case the people in question are simply trying to muddy the waters so true science and (possibly) half-baked science can both be used to teach kids, send people to the moon (they wished!), and so on.

    Lest anyone forget, the words are "the separation of church and state" not "the divorce of church and state". IMHO, the difference is that the church is not to control the way in which the state is operated but is to work with the state to lend guidance when guidance is needed. (That being certain circumstances where there would not normally be guidance as in previous laws passed or common sense measures. This excludes normal day-to-day things and would regulate the church to being called in when things like the end of the world is near.) But it isn't as severe as divorce. If the word divorce had been used, then it would mean no church could be involved with the state at all. That the state would have to be a totally heartless, surrogate of power. (Which does happen from time to time I have to admit!)

    But the state is not divorced from the church - only separate from it. It doesn't mean the state can't, on occasion, listen to the church, or even act upon the church's wishes. (After all, look at Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, and others. There have been many church people who have had a direct influence in how policies (and laws) have been formed here in America for centuries.) So it isn't "All you church people get out of our government," it's "You church people AND EVERYONE ELSE get to have your say in these matters."

    So my outlook is: Don't redefine words (like science) to try to get around the problem, don't force your views on everyone else by stocking the pond with your own fish, and don't pass laws which are going to affect everyone in the state without giving those people the chance to say yea or nay to it. The people who were elected into office were elected not to try slimey, nasty, underhanded tricks to get laws passed - they were elected to represent the needs of everyone in the state. By passing this type of a law, which affects everyone and attempts to force a single methodology onto the populace, without giving everyone a chance to say yes or no to it; is like forcing everyone to be brainwashed like good little Nazis. If you believe in creationism or even Intelligent Design, then put your money where your mouth is and have an honest, open, well thought out and explained vote by the people of Kansas on whether or not they want Intelligent Design or Creationism taught in their schools. If you won't do that, then that clearly shows that the only way you are capable of getting this kind of law passed is to use shyster tricks. And may God have mercy on your soul for having done so.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kaemaril (266849) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:00AM (#13986066)

    So. Nice of you to interject your rambling waffle, but you should really read what he said. He didn't say that evolution was true, he said that - based on scientific knowledge as we know it today - evolution is the scientific theory that most closely matches observable fact.

    And it is.

    Because the bible is not a scientific theory.

    By the way, did you write the Architect's dialogue from the second Matrix film? It's just that the style - meaningless big words - seems eerily familiar. "...as all the other religions fail to completely describe humanity's problem, as I am explaining it now, or if they do explain it" ... do you see the problem with that statement?

    "You (and by you I mean the whole that assumes logic without a 100% self-attesting assumption) need to come up with some way to justify that you have any rightful position to be in the mindset of asking God questions. Without proving your right to ask questions (and might I add that you are not even able to prove your right without assuming logic as before)"

    More nonsensical rambling. Nice. Why should anyone have to prove a "right" to "be in the mindset" to ask questions, incidentally? And how do you do it? Is there an exam? Is it in essay form or multiple choice?

    "'It is the most widely accepted theory by a huge margin.'
    I'd like to mention that being widely accepted does not make a theory true."

    No, that's true. It also doesn't make it false. There's a reason it's so widely accepted, and it's not because evolution is a cool-sounding name. The good thing about a theory is not that it can be proven true, rather that it can predict and provide ways it can be proven false. A theory doesn't stand around saying "I'm true, I'm true" it stands around saying "Here's a way you can prove me false ... now go do it". So far, nobody's managed to quite do that with evolution just yet. Drives some people in Kansas nuts, but there you go.

    "The Bible explains the human dilemma, our need for as self-attesting universal standard in order to base anything on something of more value than opinion. It also provides the way out, a relationship with God. But as we are sinful, this is not possible without an atonement to bring us into right standing with God (perfection cannot live with imperfection). So God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us so that we might live to enjoy God (and thus have not only a universal standard but a universal purpose); and he offers a relationship through his son to all who would ask him for it. So ask him, and get weight and find meaning and purpose to your life."
    Very interesting, but ultimately pointless to the point the OP made. But then, I assume you know that.

  • by Peter La Casse (3992) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:05AM (#13986096) Homepage
    This should not cause sadness. Because of this controversy, people everywhere -- kids and adults -- will be exposed to the idea that science isn't something that can be arbitrarily redefined by a school board. When they hear somebody say "ID is not science, and here's why," they will be exposed to new ideas that they otherwise might never have learned.

    There is no chance that an entire generation of Kansas schoolkids will grow up in a new dark age of scientific misunderstanding. Because of this controversy, science might actually appear interesting to some of them, and that would be good.

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:12AM (#13986126)
    Kansas Board of Ed. Adopts Intelligent Design

    The New Dark Age is almost upon us.

    Hell, in the wake of the Patriot Act, what with privacy violations, National Security Letters, legalized torture of foreign nationals ... the Inquisition is already here.
  • by raoul666 (870362) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .skcor.ip.> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:21AM (#13986174)
    You missed the point. This isn't religion anymore, it's science, because of their crazy-ass definition.
  • by bmgoau (801508) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:29AM (#13986226) Homepage
    What do the students in Kansas Schools think?

    Personally, if i was doing biology in highschool, and the powers that be attempted to pull the wool over my eyes, and try and limit my knowlege by teaching me garbage, i would be fairly unhappy.

    Which also bags the question of what the science teachers think?

    . Surely science classes canot operate without science teachers, i myself would leave in disgust, realising that the occupation i chose as my path is being mocked, and twisted for some egotistical and fundamentalist enjoyment.
  • I submit that Darwinist proponents make it to step 3 all the time. There are at least a couple of camps that argue over things like wings seeming to spontaneously generate in the fossil record. Look up 'punctuated equilibrium' sometime. Actually, I'll do it for you: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] to the rescue.

    In any case, no proper scientist pretends that evolution is a solved problem. We know that it's not, and there are good people working to find out more. However, if you adopt the theory of Intelligent Design, we may as well give up now. We don't understand what's going on, so God (or something) must have done it. When there's an out like that, who needs to study anything?

    ID isn't a theory. You can't test it and you can't falsify it (there's no falsifying case - a matter of faith can't be contested). ID belongs in Church, not in science class. It's telling that they had to REDEFINE the word 'science' to make this whole thing fly. If it were actually science, they wouldn't have done anything.

    Interestingly, science was borne of religion as a way to explain the things that didn't fit with religious teachings. It's the search for how things work and happen. Religion has ever purported itself to be the 'why', but I guess some people got bored of that.
  • by yndrd1984 (730475) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:45AM (#13986298)
    How much easier would it be to influence people's votes if those people have no education?

    Yes, instead let's have politicians choose what material they'll be forced to learn! That will allow them to think independently! /sarcasm

    Where do you get educated workers for your business if poor people have nowhere to go to get educated?

    You could train them. Internships are quite common, other places will pay part (or even all of) your educational expences if it would directly help with the job you're doing (or are going to be doing).

    Just another perspective on the issue. :)

  • by arminw (717974) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:58AM (#13986351)
    ....Don't bother trying to understand why....

    Science is not really concerned with WHY, but with how things work. Evolution is more about origins than about how a liver or whatever works today. Experiments can be done to determine how something works, but nobody has done an experiment to show how an amoeba can be made from the basic elements. Yet the assumption of evolution is that what has so far eluded the best INTELLIGENT scientists has somehow taken place by *any* other imagined processes, except one --- the activity of mind or intelligence.
  • by GunFodder (208805) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:00AM (#13986355)
    We have both Newtonian and Einsteinian math to solve problems in gravity, but we still wave our hands and mumble "gravitons" and "gravity waves" when we discuss the vector of this mysterious force. Obviously gravity is a tougher nut than the other physical forces that we have encountered. It didn't help that Newton actually devote a lot of time to the occult field of alchemy.

    I think that education does overemphasize the "facts" of science and history at the expense of the process. I had a few classes in college that really opened my eyes to the holes in our knowledge of these fields. But we won't fix these holes by just waving our hands and mumbling "intelligent design". In fact ID is the EXACT equivalent of saying "we don't know how this works". That's not an explanation; it's a placeholder for further work. Our educational system just needs to work harder on saying "we're never really sure how everything works, but here's our best explanation so far."
  • by plover (150551) * on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:01AM (#13986359) Homepage Journal
    What do the students in Kansas Schools think?

    Well, that's where the truly heinous damage is done by this disgusting act. If you're taught from birth that God made you out of clay, you're going to believe that the evolution part of the class is the "garbage". Now the kids simply won't question it because they're hearing it in church AND they're hearing it at home. Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.

    You can bet that mom and pop have prayed the gospel right into Junior Sixpack from birth through puberty. He doesn't stand a chance at independent thought so he will never question it; and anyone who does question it is a heathen commie democrat -- quick, pray for their souls.

  • by haluness (219661) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:05AM (#13986385)
    Control of education is something that should squarely fall under the control of politicians and the political process.

    On what basis are politician supposed to decide whats a proper science curriculum (assuming that they were not scientists before getting elected). I would think that they take the advice of scientists. So why not just let scientists decide what science should be taught in the first place?
  • by pugugly (152978) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:31AM (#13986516)
    The problem is just that - Evolution *has* been caught on tape. And then you dismissed it "I'm not talking about microevolution", because it wasn't what you wanted to see.

    And no - you can't falsify intelligent design, because the way the question is formed makes it unfalsifiable.
    Project: Prove that no intelligent being had a hand in the creation or evolution of life.

    Can't be done - it's a textbook example of proving a negative - logically insoluble. The only way you can prove a negative is by empirical evidence - I don't *know* that we're not actually being held down by thousands of tiny invisible fairies flapping their wings, but I *do* know that things in a vacuum fall done at the same rate, and flapping wings can't help you fly in vacuum, so I consider this theory disproven, so empirically I can prove that no fairies meeting this description are causing the illusion of gravity.

    Intelligent Design has no such empirical test - the theory that we're being pulled down by tiny invisible fairies is in fact a scientific theory in a way that I.D. isn't, because I can design a test to disprove it. Go through enough iterations of my testing the theory, and modifying the theory to fit the new test (They're unbreathing fairies, with tiny 'lil rubberbands holding them down), and we'll find that eventually I have 'fairies' that look astonishingly like gravitons. Personally, Physics is easier than stubbornly staying with the fairies theory, but the nature of the scientific method means I will, after many iterations, home in on the same truths.

    Not all Truths are reachable in this fashion. Godel's theorem would seem to me to indicate that there are truths unreachable through any scientific method, just like there are unreachable truths in any other axiomatic method.

    But if Intelligent design is in that range, then it doesn't belong in a science course by definition. The very fact that Intelligent design is being put forward as an alternative to the falsifiable and scientific theory of evolution seems to indicate that it's not among that rarified group of unscientific things that still happen to be true.

    Anything else is just sloppy thinking.
  • by MrOuija_AK (918277) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:41AM (#13986575)
    Taken from The Abstract Factory
    http://abstractfactory.blogspot.com/2005/10/only-d ebate-on-intelligent-design-that.html [blogspot.com]

    The only debate on Intelligent Design that is worthy of its subject

    Moderator: We're here today to debate the hot new topic, evolution versus Intelligent Des---

    (Scientist pulls out baseball bat.)

    Moderator: Hey, what are you doing?

    (Scientist breaks Intelligent Design advocate's kneecap.)

    Intelligent Design advocate: YEAAARRRRGGGHHHH! YOU BROKE MY KNEECAP!

    Scientist: Perhaps it only appears that I broke your kneecap. Certainly, all the evidence points to the hypothesis I broke your kneecap. For example, your kneecap is broken; it appears to be a fresh wound; and I am holding a baseball bat, which is spattered with your blood. However, a mere preponderance of evidence doesn't mean anything. Perhaps your kneecap was designed that way. Certainly, there are some features of the current situation that are inexplicable according to the "naturalistic" explanation you have just advanced, such as the exact contours of the excruciating pain that you are experiencing right now.

    Intelligent Design advocate: AAAAH! THE PAIN!

    Scientist: Frankly, I personally find it completely implausible that the random actions of a scientist such as myself could cause pain of this particular kind. I have no precise explanation for why I find this hypothesis implausible --- it just is. Your knee must have been designed that way!

    Intelligent Design advocate: YOU BASTARD! YOU KNOW YOU DID IT!

    Scientist: I surely do not. How can we know anything for certain? Frankly, I think we should expose people to all points of view. Furthermore, you should really re-examine whether your hypothesis is scientific at all: the breaking of your kneecap happened in the past, so we can't rewind and run it over again, like a laboratory experiment. Even if we could, it wouldn't prove that I broke your kneecap the previous time. Plus, let's not even get into the fact that the entire universe might have just popped into existence right before I said this sentence, with all the evidence of my alleged kneecap-breaking already pre-formed.

    Intelligent Design advocate: That's a load of bullshit sophistry! Get me a doctor and a lawyer, not necessarily in that order, and we'll see how that plays in court!

    Scientist (turning to audience): And so we see, ladies and gentlemen, when push comes to shove, advocates of Intelligent Design do not actually believe any of the arguments that they profess to believe. When it comes to matters that hit home, they prefer evidence, the scientific method, testable hypotheses, and naturalistic explanations. In fact, they strongly privilege naturalistic explanations over supernatural hocus-pocus or metaphysical wankery. It is only within the reality-distortion field of their ideological crusade that they give credence to the flimsy, ridiculous arguments which we so commonly see on display. I must confess, it kind of felt good, for once, to be the one spouting free-form bullshit; it's so terribly easy and relaxing, compared to marshaling rigorous arguments backed up by empirical evidence. But I fear that if I were to continue, then it would be habit-forming, and bad for my soul. Therefore, I bid you adieu.

    UPDATE (22 Oct.): If you're a creationist or IDiot [0], and you're suddenly possessed by the urge to comment on this post, please don't bother. I know what you're going to say. When I was an undergrad, I read talk.origins for a while, and I have seen every single creationist argument under the sun. I spent many an hour watching people knowledgeable about evolution debating creationists: patiently debunking the same tired arguments over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, responding in good faith to arguments that
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:49AM (#13986614)
    but I think that all ideas should be given fair weight

    The key statement here is "fair weight". Yes, all theories should be given fair weight. That is not to say they should be given equal weight. There are lots of ideas out there that we do not have time to teach to school children. We must use, thus, some pruning process to decide what are the most useful ideas to teach to children. While exposure to the beliefs of intelligent-design folks could be useful, it's hardly useful enough to warrent getting into an already crammed cirriculum. We live in a country where students aren't taught, in school, about basic logic. If they are lucky, they are tought how to construct a logical argument, but usually, they aren't taught that either. They aren't taught philosophy, or international politics, or even European history (so they have no idea where 90% of their country's basic culture comes from). In the face of all these far more important things that they are not taught, I can't say I have any remorse about ID remaining off the cirriculum.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:50AM (#13986627) Homepage
    Is Evolution testable? Is it falsifiable?

    Yes. And in 150 years, it has been changed somewhat by data that comes in -- but surprisingly not as much as you'd think, given our poor state of biological knowledge in the 19th century. We barely understood the concept of the cell when the theory was first published, yet now even our ability to sequence the entire genome of a species and design our own custom lifeforms has not provided any information that contradicts evolution.

    Evolution predicts many things, such as what fossil forms will exist at certain layers and in certain areas, it predicts that certain organisms must exist and what their specific characteristics are, even though nobody has ever seen one (and later, such organisms have been found exactly where they were predicted to be!). It also states that many combinations of things will NOT EVER be found, and if any organism with that combination was ever found the theory would have to be completely discarded.

    Evolution predicted that there would be some fundamental but durable biological mechanism for inhereting traits, but also some way in which those passed-on traits would be unpredictably changed from time to time. 75 years later, we discovered DNA and found all about the variety of things that can cause mutations.

    There is nothing in ID that is predictive, and nothing that can disprove it. It just says "and this place where we aren't sure what happened, it was an intelligent supernatural force". It uses scientific-sounding phrases like "irreducable complexity", but it all boils down to the God of the Gaps.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:03AM (#13986688) Journal
    In fact, astrology may be more deserving of the title "scientific theory" than intelligent design. At least astrology provides testable predictions.
  • Re:Fare Wait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edunbar93 (141167) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:06AM (#13986707)
    The sun orbits the earth

    It's worth noting that the Kansas board of education would probably find it ideologically expedient to go back to this theory, since after all, the universe was clearly created entirely for the benefit of the earth, which was clearly created entirely for the benefit of creating mankind. It says so in Genesis, you know.

    So don't tempt fate by mentioning this to them.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:07AM (#13986711)
    > I'll probably get modded into oblivion for this, and I may indeed be quite wrong, but is there anything wrong with allowing "materials critical of evolution" to be taught? Correct me if I'm wrong, but is there really no scientific basis for any criticism of evolution? Isn't it only fair - and rather scientific - to explain both supporting and critical evidence?

    Those are good questions.

    Criticism of evolution? There's an enormous amount of debate about the details, but among biologists only a kook denies that evolution happens and is central to biology and the history of life on earth.

    Teach the criticisms? Nit-picks are more appropriate for grad students in the field, who actually understand the issues. We don't teach grade schoolers the problems reconciling GR and QM, and we certainly don't invoke those problems to cast doubts on the theories or on science in general.

    A theory that isn't very solid shouldn't be taught in grade school at all. And when introducing theories that are solid, the introductees don't have nearly enough knowledge to make informed decisions about areas of controversy.

    Heck, their teachers probably don't know enough to weigh in on the controversies.
  • by Pendersempai (625351) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:25AM (#13986803)
    It's true, we make tweaks to the scientific method from time to time. Double blind tests are now nearly necessary, which wasn't always the case. There are (very recently) some experiments in which the researcher artificially masks the data that he collects with random offsets (which can later be removed) so that developing trends cannot influence his lab technique. But I don't think these tweaks imply that the scientific method is "up for debate" any more than increasingly demanding standards of rigor in mathematical proof over the years suggest that mathematical certainty is "up for debate."
  • by zerocool^ (112121) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:30AM (#13986835) Homepage Journal

    some kids might fall for it, and move further towards believing science is indistinguishable from magic - occult magic. You know, The Devil.

    You, my friend, are exactly on top of this matter - you've hit the proverbial nail on the head.

    Why do fundamentalist christians dislike Sci-Fi and Fantasy? Why the outcry against the Lord of the Rings, against Harry Potter, against Dungeons and Dragons?

    Two reasons:

    1.) Inability to tell fact from fiction.
    This derives directly from the fact that their core belief system - the bible - contains things that by any measure are "magic". Water into wine. Rising from the dead. Turning to a pillar of salt. Parting the red sea. Flaming swords guarding the garden of eden. Visions and prophecies and ... oh my! Unfortunately, to deny these things as false is to deny their very legitimacy as a religion; while to accept them as truth is to invite the possibility that other magic exists. Normal people know there aren't elves and wizards and little boys with glasses fighting trolls in the bathrooms at school; but the Fundamentalist Christians are plagued by a nagging sense of "If Magic 'A' exists, Magic 'B' might exist", which brings me to my 2nd point:

    2.) These things are a competing product.
    If magic exists, and only magic in this book is good magic, then everything else must be bad magic; and bad magic can only be attributed to "the Devil". Yes, Christians, there is a global satanic conspiracy - we want your kids to watch Harry Potter, because it will lead them to the Occult, it will make them curious about casting their own spells, and before you know it, they'll be levitating cars and leading hoardes of undead to disrupt your pot-luck picnics. Either that, or it's an amusing work of fiction, which tickles the imagination.

    They've done such a good job throwing DnD, Harry Potter, and everything else under the bus. It's a politically correct climate that they can try to do it with science, now, too. If they can lable "evolution" as "bad magic"... think how far it will put the rest of us back.

    Ah, but here... here, they're intruding on my religion. My god is the scientific method. I rely on facts, collected, verified, and reproducible. I don't deal in myths or untestable conjectures; I deal in science.

    You won't tread on my religion.

    ~Will
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:42AM (#13986887)
    I see a huge amount of fear here as well, on your side. You clearly state things that are incorrect or based on faulty knowledge. Why are you hiding behind your ignorance?
  • by unapersson (38207) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:50AM (#13986929) Homepage
    "In fact ID is the EXACT equivalent of saying "we don't know how this works"."

    In which case, it doesn't belong in a science class as it doesn't progress anything. There's just as much evidence for the flying spagetti monster.
  • A bad idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:05AM (#13986984) Journal
    If education were entirely private & unregulated, parents could simply send their children to schools of their own choice, which taught curricula to their liking.
    If this were the case, I could only wonder how many more young earth creationists would be in the Bible Belt now.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:08AM (#13986999) Journal
    I am a creationist, and, I hope, a thinking man as well.
    It just doesn't work that way, sorry. Rational thinking and creationism go together no better than rational thinking and young earth, geocentrism, or flat earth.
  • by evought (709897) <evought AT pobox DOT com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:33AM (#13987082) Homepage Journal

    I think the attitude you have is the simplest way of discrediting it, while many other theories need to be disproven with an alternative, like if I were to show you proof that every species you know was created by a traveling race of intelligent beings, it would throw evolution right out the window. I can't simply prove that evolution doesn't happen, because I would have to test it for an infinite period of time to be sure.

    You need to understand exactly what a theory is, from a philosophical perspective. If I wanted to, I could claim that nothing, not even your own knowledge of yourself, is real knowledge, because it is based on observations you make as a human, which are subject to error. You're taking a similarly radical position when you claim that ID is not falsifiable. In this case you do the best you can to come to a rational conclusion, and many of the foundational questions in science have been answered with weak arguments. You go ask a true skeptic about either of the two topics and he/she will tell you there are two many unknowns at this point, to come to a solid conclusion, whichever side you take. There are a lot of good books on the subject, The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview, The Spark of Life: Darwin and the Primeval Soup, I've read the latter and recommend it, the former is next on my hit list.

    First of all, evolution is falsifiable. It was one of several competing theories where evolution won out because it explained more and was not proven incorrect. Evolution has three basic statements:

    1. Variation exists.
    2. Genetic traits are inherited.
    3. Natural selection selects which individuals pass on traits

    Any of those statements is falsifiable. You can demonstrate that all individuals are functionally identical (variation does not exist), that they do not pass on their traits to offspring, or that premature death of an individual has no effect on traits passed to the next generation. Before we knew as much as we currently do about biology, any of those negatives might have been a sensible statement. Now that we can see mechanisms of inheritance in action, evolution is very hard to counter. Over time, it has gone from a predictive theory or guess to more of a simple description of what we see happen. Contrast Lamarkianism:

    1. Individuals aquire traits through events that happen to them.
    2. Aquired traits are inherited.

    This is also a falsifiable alternative to evolution. The first statement is obviously true, but the second statement, that individuals can pass aquired traits on to their offspring, has been demonstrated as false. If a mouse gets its tail cut off, this has no effect on the length of its offsprings' tails. What is Intelligent Design's falsifiable statement?

    Now, note that the statements about evolution above do not say anything about where life came from or how it happened. You can infer from watching evolution in action and looking at common gene sequences that life has a common origin, but this is not required by evolution. If we discover that space aliens created cats (I live with cats; this is believable ;-) ), it does not derail evolution, it merely asserts that cats came from different stock.

    Now, as to your statement that knowledge is not real and therefore any theory is as good as another, science deals with this very nicely: Occams Razor and the Doctrine of Utility. Put together, it comes down to this: one theory is better than another if it affords the most utility (explains and predicts the most) with the fewest assumptions. Science aknowledges that assumptions come in somewhere. Now, lets look at ID. It has one non-falsifiable statement, that (all) life was created by an intelligent agent. Great. What does that explain or predict? Absolutely nothing. Does knowing that life was designed tell you more about how frogs work? No. Does it tell you whether there is potential

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:37AM (#13987098)
    They know that the survival of the human race is important, that one human person, whether old and used up or conceived last week, is more valuable than a hundred planets full of other species

    Great. We haven't even found intelligent life on other planets yet and already the Klan are targetting them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:47AM (#13987130)
    LOL. Yeah right.

    Why would they blame themselves when they have their endless supply of single mothers, feminists, gay people, liberals, immigrants, animal liberationists, greenies etc etc to blame all of societies ills on.

    I'm one (or more) of the above and currently being blamned by them for everything from AIDS to 911, the bad economy and any other natural disastors that pops up along the way.

    Good luck with that anyway matie.
  • by condensate (739026) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:55AM (#13987162)
    While this is a truly sad decision, nature essentially remains untouched by it. Whether politicians aim for higher votes, or people cannot cope with the idea of our ancestors being just apes and carbon based lifeforms as such, rather than a designed species of their own does not really matter in the big picture. Also, science or not science is a question best addressed in the academic community, which spreads all over the world, where in some sane places discussions of that kind are safely locked away in lunatic asylums. Have a little confidence guys. The upshot is just that in Kansas, there won't be any great science for the next few years.
  • by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @05:30AM (#13987257) Homepage

    Frankly, that is the biggest pile of garbage I have ever heard. Well second to the school board decision of course.

    While you are to be acknowledged for your beliefs, you are also to be castigated for them! Do you really think that one human life is worth all the other organisms of a species on all the other planets?

    This is how wars start. Except, on our planet, we used to base it on race. Would you honestly tell me that to save one human life, you would exterminate an entire planet of life somewhere else?

    You are the problem. Not the solution.

    Lets see what your own words have said to such an end.... quoting from one of your posts;

    I always thought "dark matter" was a kind of special pleading, an appeal to magic in the face of the unknown.

    So I ask you, why is the appeal to magic any different in what you are saying? The majority of the universe is an unknown, yet you fill it up with magic. Worse yet, its not even your magic, its stuff thats been passed around for 2000 years. A Long time, but hardly all of human history.

    As for me, I am able to accept that people are born homosexual and that there is nothing 'wrong with them'. I am also able to accept the fact that some people are born 'religious', and while self-defeating, there is nothing wrong with them either. In the end, reality always wins. Whether it is dark matter being found to be a bad explination, or your concepts of 'created' and 'value'. Both fallacies exist only in your mind.

    To address your worry that others are 'spouting off', you would be best to realize that rational people will fight the darkness of religion every step of the way. The opposition to that thought process is not going to go away. Because many of us WERE brought up that way, and we have grown up to see the reality, not the myth. All this will do is further polarize this country, and it NEEDS to. It needs to be shown that rationality will prevail over 'belief'. And it will, although we may not live to see it. But rest assured, either the human race will go extinct, or the fallacies that are being 'accepted' will be shown to be smoke and mirrors. A modern day version of the 'celestial spheres'. I for one will fight against ANYONE who believes that a whole planet should be wiped out to save one human being. Your insecurity of death, ends at you. If you would kill off an unlimited amount of life to make one person live a little bit longer, then you are the problem. And should be dealt with accordingly.

    You are free to believe anyhting you want. But lets draw the line at trying to dictate the world of reality. Because you say something is true, does not mean that it is. You think independent thought can not be trained out of a person? I would like to hear your social explanation of what happened to allow the nazi party to come to power in Germany. I would love to hear you talk to people who lived through it and see your reaction when they say "We all thought there was nothing spectacular going on, it wasnt even a big deal then.", or how it is looked at as a dark spot in their history, because they realize that almost the entire nation made a collective error in judgement. Its called 'groupthink' and it is a very studied aspect of human nature. So while rational thought might not 'go away' it certainly can take large leaves of absence.

  • by Xrikcus (207545) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @05:31AM (#13987260)
    > If you're going to be honest, you have to admit that there are huge gaps in evolution going all the way back to the Big Bang.

    That kind of honesty is strange. Indeed there are huge gaps in evolution going all the way to the big bang... not least because evolution has nothing to do with the big bang and so the theory only starts dealing with anything billions of years later.

    > Until you have incontrovertable proof of evolution from start to finish, you have to allow for alternate theories, even if you personally believe them to be unreliable

    Correct. The key word there is theories.
  • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @05:57AM (#13987333)
    Barring unforseen vectors, radioactive carbon simply does not add itself to the system.

    We should also point out that radioactive carbon is completely irrelevant on an evolutionary timescale. Carbon dating only works on a timescale up to tens of thousands of years; it's great for putting dates on Saxon spears and Egyptian burial masks and mummies and maybe even mammoths, but is completely useless if you're dealing with a T. rex.

    This is, of course, a common mistake among the creationist crowd. I suppose it comes of the mindset in which six thousand years is the entire history of the world...

    BTW, /. editors: can we put a link to talkorigins.org in the summary of any future articles on this subject? The 'common creationist mistakes' page would do quite nicely. It would save having to repeat the same explanations over and over again...

  • by systemBuilder (305288) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:00AM (#13987341) Homepage
    The last time they did this, if i remember correctly, was in the year 800. it marked the beginning of 1000 years of mental darkness on this planet, ending in the renaissance. we will have people transcribing web pages onto vellum and hiding them in monasteries. let's hope that the next renaissance comes sooner than the last one did *sigh* ...
  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:04AM (#13987353) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about the other poster, but for my part I was thought from an early age to question everything, but that at present evolution is the only theory we have that explains the known facts. You don't need to indoctrinate people with evolution - teach them the basic principles of the scientific method and they'll be well equipped to make the local minister cry in agony if he tries to feed them any bullshit, and will easily understand the different between a scientific theory and blind faith.
  • You can bet that mom and pop have prayed the gospel right into Junior Sixpack from birth through puberty.

    I'm of the firm belief that people simply shouldn't be allowed to do this. A child is completely dependant on its parents for just about everything. An unscrupulous person can get a child to believe just about anything. You could get a child to believe the world was doughnut shaped and made by the great pastry chef in the sky. Essentially, this is what most religions more or less actually do.

    The tradgedy here, is that when a child is indoctrinated in this way, it is more or less permanent. Forever more, for the rest of their lives, that person will believe what are essentially complete fantasies. Gods creating the eartg in seven day or out of their dreams. People seeing angels or coming back from the dead. Gods and Godesses battling on earth through human proxy. It's terrible.

    Not only that, but a considerable amount of doublethink will be required on the part of that person to maintain these incredible beliefs. This will in turn lead to a very cognitively dissonant person who secretly, even to themselves, realises that it's all hogwash anyway, but is so insecure about it that they torment themselves into believing it. Whenever I see a religious person, I see a tortured soul.

    I view religion like I view gun control. There may be some spurious benefits, but overall, religion has far more cons than pros and we'd be better off without it. Religion promotes intolerance, bigotry, tribalism, ignorence, hatred, sexism, etc, etc, etc. Some people argue it promotes love and kindness, but from what I've seen, this appears to be a purely random event. What's worst of all, being religious means obeying the will of unelected clergy, and anethema to any democratic society.

    To indoctriate your children into such a nonsensible and divisive thing as a religion, I personally view as a morally repugnant act. Let them choose when they reach majority if they wish to join you or not. But to essentially yoke their minds forever to the will of someone else is something which cannot be viewed as anything but wrong.

    We're supposed to have freedom of religion. But where is a child's freedom from religion?
  • by fluffy666 (582573) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:36AM (#13987430)

    Darwin's "slow gradual change" is still taught in schools, which the fossil record doesn't (probably) support (with some tolerance being granted from a very spotty fossil record). If you want to yell about something, yell about that.

    I would be interested if you were capable of going into more detail on this. Bear in mind you are talking to a qualified geologist. I think the above is deliberately deceptive, or very ignorant.

    The point where ID better koshers with observations than life as a collection of random processes

    You've lost me here (or are deliberately constructing a strawman). Evolution is not 'a collection of random processes'.

    There's an unaccountably low amount of vestigal processes, especially in processes that would have no competitive advantage

    Interesting. How many 'vestigal processes' does evolution predict? Where is this prediction made (references, please) so that we can have an 'unaccountable low' number of such processes? Or are you simply making things up so support a conclusion you have already arrived at?

    If you claim that biochemical pathways are well designed, here is a question for you:

    Ribulose is the enzyme complex used by plants for fixing Carbon Dioxide for sugar synthesis. It is, to put it mildly, extremely important for life on this planet. Yet it has a massive design flaw - it is poisioned by oxygen! Oxygen causes it to run backwards, burning the very sugars a plant is trying to make. This makes sense from the viewpoint of evolution; photosynthesis evolved when there was no atmospheric oxygen, so it was not a problem, and now the ecological niche for photosynthesis is filled; a better solution has no space to evolve. Yet a designer could 'drop in' a complete new pathway at any time; the conspicuous failure of this to happen being a problem for ID, usually dealt with by sidestepping or ignoring.

    It's interesting that you would want to ask medical students, who are typically taught huge volumes of facts without much underlying theory (for entirely pragmatic reasons; medicine to biology is basically engineering to physics), instead of palentologists or biologists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:40AM (#13987449)

    You were taught from birth that evolution is the truth, right?


    The salient point here is that evolution is the truth, or don't you think we should be making preparations in case the Asian bird-flu evolves into a form which can be passed between humans? What's more the (post-Darwinian) Theory of Evolution is the best explanation we have of evolution to date.


    Moreover the creation stories in the Bible are not only contradict each other, but are demonstrably false. The universe is in fact older than 5000 years. As far as Intelligent Design(tm) is concerned it is founded upon a error of not recognizing that complexity argues for evolution, not against it. IDers see complexity and simply throw their hands in the air and abandon reason. These matters are not simply questions of individual opinion which people are free to hold or not hold, that is just pluralism gone mad.



    The simply fact here is that these kids are being lied to. The window of truth that science classes once held open for them is being closed.

  • by Walkiry (698192) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:51AM (#13987481) Homepage
    >Intelligent Design is the claim that punctuated equilibrium is mathematically unlikely without a designer.

    This is also false. The idea that the only way a "design" would appear is through intelligence because the chances of all those random mutations combined is very small is the same kind of mistake made when people claim that only intelligence could design a functional gene because the chances of certain protein sequence are 20^X (where X is the length).

    That "design" wasn't the only possible solution to the natural selection pressure. Indeed, anything giving an advantage would have a good chance of survival given natural selection, but it happened to be the current (bird lung|upside down bat|blood clotting|whatever other ID example) instead of any other alternative that could have appeared and be selected if it was good enough.

    The "mathematically unlikely" scenario is a no-go.
  • by dreamer-of-rules (794070) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:14AM (#13987562)
    Sorry, it's been happening for several years already, like the breakup of the Antartic ice.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:23AM (#13987801)
    All of that sounds very open and democratic, and I completely agree that opportunity for input must be provided for the general public, politicians, and whoever else has an interest (and, who isn't interested in an issue as important as education?). It can't *ONLY* be determined by scientists. However, that principle has limits. If you went to trade school, who sets the curriculum for what gets taught in plumbing or welding classes? Plumbers and welders. If you went to divinity school, who sets the curriculum for what is taught? Priests. If you went to university and took a degree in English, who sets the curriculum? Instructors in the English department. It is the NORM for people trained in the relevant field to determine -- to a very large degree -- what will be taught. Exclusively? No. And science is anything but a priesthood when it comes to evaluating ideas (though some people try to draw an analogy, an argument from authority does not get much mileage in science unless there is evidence behind it, and the opinion of even the greatest authority can be critiqued and negated).

    It is foolish to neglect the advice of the vast majority of scientists and redefine science, and place undue emphasis on the problems (or mistakenly perceived problems) of a particular theory in science class, while being grossly inconsistent with such treatment for other scientific theories, or other classes. Where, for example, are the numerous questions and puzzles about the theory of gravitation? And are students told in their physics labs to make sure that when considering an explanation involving Newton's laws of motion, that they also consider the possibility of a supernatural process? Are those presented in the physics curriculum? The issue does not apply only to science classes. For example, is attention given to holocaust revisionists in history class, in defiance of virtually all competent historians? Is that "alternative theory" of history given attention?

    No, this isn't about responding to the desires of an electorate, it is using that laudable principle to completely subsume a rational basis for setting a curriculum -- i.e. completely ignoring the contrary advice of innumerable experts in the relevant field, for the sake of a specific political agenda. This is something that hasn't really happened extensively in biology since the days of Lysenko [wikipedia.org], and here it is again, slowly gaining ground in the good ol US of A. It's amazing.

    Yes, scientists don't always have a clear idea of what they are doing, in a philosophical sense. So what? That does not change the situation any more than it would for plumbers, welders, or historians, or any teaching curriculum in those subjects. It's a red herring. None of those subjects specifically acknowledge supernatural processes in their procedures either, even though they could be there in reality. It is potentially implicit in everything, which is why it isn't necessary to explicitly bring it up.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:31AM (#13987836)
    The problem there, though, is that if your firm belief is that God is the ruler of the Universe and little Johnny won't go to heaven if he doesn't believe, then not only are you teaching what you believe to be the truth, but you're doing little Johnny a big favour.

    I agree that children should not be indoctrinated and should find what they believe to be right.. the problem is that religious parents are unlikely to see it that way in many cases.
  • by indifferent children (842621) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:44AM (#13987897)
    But is the issue with religion or with people?

    The flaw that exists to be exploited is in people. The tool most often and visciously used to exploit that flaw has been religion.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -Voltaire

  • by RichardX (457979) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:47AM (#13987918) Homepage
    If we can't duplicate with intent that which is theorized to occur through purely random processes, then that should tell you all you need to know right there. The next thing someone is gonna say is that their AMD64 X2 CPU came about via "natural selection". Get your head of your ass and read the first part of Psalms 14:1,

    You appear to be very confused.

    Microprocessors do not reproduce. They do not grow. They are inanimate objects. They are very different to living organisms.
    Also, you appear to have a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of evolution. It is not a random process, it is a highly directed process using filtered randomisation. As an analogy (not to evolution, to filtered randomisation), fill a box with balls. Cut small holes in the bottom, and shake randomly.. what do you find? the small ones drop out. Wow! Isn't that amazing! A completely undirected random process of shaking the balls in a box caused them to seperate themselves into collections of big and small. Must be the work of God!

    Now, on to your biblical reference:

    Psalms 14:1: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

    I see. And you accept everything the bible says as true, do you? Putting aside your circular reasoning ("It's true because it says it's true") I assume then that you also stand by the following:

    Psalms 137:9 - "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones"

    Killed anyone for breaking the Sabbath recently? I'm sure it can't be THAT hard to find someone who works on Sunday, just try your local mall or shops, and as a good Christian, it's your duty according to...

    Exodus 31:14 - "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people."

    That's the great thing about the bible. It'd damns itself.. as Penn & Teller said, I wish more people would read the damn bible. We need more atheists.

    Of course, you might think I'm quote mining, picking up a few isolated things here and there, but there's plenty [skepticsan...dbible.com] more [skepticsan...dbible.com] where [skepticsan...dbible.com] those [skepticsan...dbible.com] came [skepticsan...dbible.com] from [skepticsan...dbible.com]

    And before I hear any complaints about using the Skeptic's Annontated Bible, it's merely an ordinary King James Version with some annotations at the side.
  • by Soruk (225361) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:14AM (#13988049) Homepage
    We haven't even found intelligent life on other planets...

    Sometimes I wonder if there's any intelligent life on this planet, the GP post being a case in point.
  • by Steeltoe (98226) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:18AM (#13988073) Homepage
    If you have faith in human nature and nurture human value, that's spirituality to me. It doesn't matter what you believe or disbelieve really. Why should it? In a few years, both of us will have a different set of beliefs than we have now anyways.

    "Religion" and "Spirituality" can be thought of covering two different terms: If you think of a banana. It has a protective skin, which you can't eat. Now, that is the outer appearance of the banana. Without it, you might not want the banana itself..

    Religion is like that outer layer. It consists of all things changing: traditions, symbols, scriptures, places, people. These are outer appearances to protect the inside, and to build a framework in which to interact with the inside.

    While spirituality is the banana. It is the only thing really edible, and is what is coveted by everybody, wether they know it or not. It is love, it is all things good. It is playfulness, joy and abundant happiness, not really serious at all, not the way we can be anyways. It is all that is never changing, permanent knowledge, innate knowledge in human nature. We are always searching for it, in things, in relationships, in valuables, in status, everywhere but where it really is! If I only get this... and this...

    What is really funny, is that many people have thrown away the banana and are holding on to the skin! They even argue about which skin is the best!

    But this is not to say the banana-skin is worthless. You need to have a banana-skin to interact with the banana. It is just that when you put more value on the outer layers, which are always changing anyways, you tend to drop into conflict, self-defence and creating separation instead of unity. But the purpose of the skin is just to hold the banana itself!

    This inner banana is the same, wether you are rich, poor, stupid, intelligent or whatever. This is why we enjoy unity so much, at the valuable opportunity that we experience it, because we are really all the same banana! ;-)

    In programming terms I guess you can call Religion, God's API, although it is through humans it gets built so it doesn't always work as expected ;-)
  • by Decaff (42676) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:18AM (#13988076)
    I've raised my kids to know they are Created, not simply overevolved pond scum. The how of our getting here is not so important as the why of it.

    I never understand why Creationists keep insisting that they know how God did things.

    How do you know that evolution by natural selection was not God's intended way of creating life? If God designed us as 'overevolved pond scum' who are you do disagree?

    I don't believe that God was involved, but if He was, it seems incredibly arrogant to insist that you have special knowledge as to how he did it.

    Also, If your children know this, why put them into science classes where there is supposed to be debate and discussion of alternatives?

    We're here to do the right thing and to help those around us.

    And this relates to the debate how? Anyone with a reasonable understanding of evolution knows that altruistic behaviour does not conflict with natural selection in any way.

    They know that their children and their ideas are how they will be judged. Independent thought is a requirement, and can't be trained out of a person anyway.

    Independent thought? You mean like them knowing that they are Created? How independent is that?

    So take care when spouting off about things you don't understand.

    Indeed.
  • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@nOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:27AM (#13988134) Journal
    The concept that everything which exists is the product of an intelligent creator used to be the only belief in town. It was rejected by thinkers because it provided a single answer instead of raising more questions.

    That's the difference, you see. Religion provides answers, and in the case of Christianity, one answer. Science, on the other hand, gives us new questions. The most common criticism religious people make of the theory of evolution is that it's not true because it doesn't give you one nice clean answer.

    The reason it doesn't is that it was never intended to. A theory is a framework which uses past observations to ask new questions. Sometimes scientists try to predict the answers, but it's the questions that matter.

    That's why ID isn't science. All it is, is one answer and no more questions, so it's religion. There's nothing wrong with that, religion is valuable to people who need that answer, but to pretend it is something it's not is dirty, and it's crooked, and that is against the spirit of Christianity. It should be rejected by all true Christians and all true scientists.
  • by bhiestand (157373) * on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:40AM (#13988219) Journal
    But is the issue with religion or with people? Couldn't any mindless group be convinced to do evil? Some prime non-religion based examples I can think of are the Nazis, the Republicans, and Microsoft.

    Well, let's see:
    Nazis - ein folk, ein reich, ein fuhrer (one people, one..empire?, one leader)
    Republicans - one religion, one viewpoint, one country
    Microsoft - well, shit, I don't remember this one, but it WAS an official microsoft saying. Something like 'one people, one company, one solution'

    and, of course, Christianity:
    one god, one book, one way [of life]

    So how are these different? The Nazis utilized religion just as much as any other faith-based movement. The republicans wouldn't be in power if they hadn't turned politics into a religious issue. Microsoft, well, how can they NOT be a religion? They actually BELIEVE that stuff about innovation, and that requires finely-honed doublethink. Only a religion can produce that kind of skill.
  • by notbob (73229) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:44AM (#13988239) Homepage
    Religion is a necessary evil.

    Religion is societal control.

    If you're weak minded enough to fall into the lines of following religion, then it is a good thing because it gives you a structured environment because you're incapable of making decisions yourself.

    This is what Islamic Radical pray on, people of not the brightest minds and are highly influentiable due to the violence they've already seen can be coaxed into becoming human bombs.

    Like it or not but the vast majority of humans are essentially cattle, non self-deterministic people of the masses that require structure and being told without question what to believe. People can and are on a daily basis trained by those who are smarter / more corrupting then they are, look at Hitler in the past, he basically goose stepped the army till they couldn't think anymore and it was just "natural" to them. Even though it is a completely insane way of marching, it was effective in control.

    People like to conform, while I agree with the poster in that people shouldn't be allowed to force their kids into this brainwashing, I also must disagree as I see some of the values the church teaches being benficial.

    For back reference, I went through 12 years of my life in private Roman Catholic Schools. Am I religious? No. I was distant from my parents and only my mother was religious and I questioned every bit of it from day one. The generosity that our churches taught us as kids and some of the basic morals we're good to see re-inforced, look at the "10 commandments", they're all things that society as a whole does not agree with in general.
  • by teromajusa (445906) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:46AM (#13988728)
    You are free to believe anyhting you want. But lets draw the line at trying to dictate the world of reality.

    You're asking the impossible. If someone see a difference between their beliefs and reality, in what sense do they believe? Do you see the differences between your beliefs and reality? Or do you believe that you don't have beliefs?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:51AM (#13988774)
    evolution is the truth

    Wrong. Evolution is a "theory". A theory is NOT truth.

    Theory of Evolution is the best explanation we have of evolution to date

    Right.

    You might say it's the current truth. While science provides many theories and explanations, new discoveries and observations change these theories. Science evolves as we experiment and challenge the currently accepted theories.

    While I don't believe that ID should be taught in science class, I do believe that it should be taught. In fact, I wouldn't mind if ID was mentioned in science class as an untested theory that challenges evolution. Teaching both encourages critical thinking. At best it allows students to learn both sides and make their own decision on what they believe. Hopefully, they choose to believe the theory based on scientific evidence. At worst, students will blindly believe one or the other, or possibly not understand either.

    Moreover the creation stories in the Bible are not only contradict each other, but are demonstrably false

    What stories are you talking about?

    The universe is in fact older than 5000 years

    Where in the bible does it state that the universe is 5000 years old?
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:09AM (#13988928) Homepage Journal
    As for me, I am able to accept that people are born homosexual

    I can't accept that!
    I can consider it, as an hypothesis, but I will NOT simply accept it outright, without any kind of proof. No thanks.

    If we're gonna be talking about the scientific method, someone saying "I've been like this as long as I remember" is not proof of a congenital trait. Do you remember all of the significant developmental anecdotes of your first two, three years of life? You don't have to stone people for having sex with people of the same gender, but you don't have to buy all of their claims about how they came about being that way either. Middle ground, dude.

    Maybe they were born that way, maybe they were exposed to hormones at an early age that affected their devellopment, we don't know.
  • by gaurzilla (665469) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:22AM (#13989028)
    Q > Where are the missing solar neutrinos?

    A > Well, maybe my model is wrong.
    A > Uh... yeah .. god did it.

    You decide which one of these makes you sound incredibly stupid.
  • by Surt (22457) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:42AM (#13989174) Homepage Journal
    What I love about this: there aren't any observable non-natural occurences in the universe. Either something occurs in the universe (is natural) or it doesn't. If it doesn't, odds are we won't have observed it.
  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:50AM (#13989237)
    ID is not the exact equivalent of "we don't know how this works": it is the equivalent of "we can't know how this works". The first is a statement of our ignorance and an invitation to further exploration, the latter is a statement of limitation, and an incentive to refrain from exploration.

    That is why ID is dangerous.
  • by Scrameustache (459504) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:16PM (#13989460) Homepage Journal
    It's kind of annoying when people throw around the term 'Judeo-Christian.' The two religions are not all that close, and anyway it's usually just used as a synonym for Christian.
    Judeo-Christian [webster.com]
    Pronunciation: jü-"dA-O-'kris-ch&n, -'krish- also "jü-dE-O- or jü-"dE-O-
    Function: adjective
    Etymology: Latin Judaeus Jew -- more at JEW
    : having historical roots in both Judaism and Christianity
    Islam is also a judeo-christian religion.
  • by artdodge (9053) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:56PM (#13989849) Homepage
    How much easier would it be to influence people's votes if those people have no education?

    How can it be any easier than it is now? Politicians control the curriculum. Politicians control the textbook choices. Politicians control what teachers are and are not allowed to say (do not offend the majority orthodoxy). Politicians control what students are and are not allowed to say (remember all of the post-Columbine harassment of disillusioned kids? yesterday's story [slashdot.org] about student blogs being censored?).

    Of course, I've ranted about this before. [everything2.com]

  • by Shaper_pmp (825142) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:15PM (#13989995)
    Yay! A large and disparate collection of writings written over 2000 years ago, first assembled some 300 years after they were written, and selectively edited, deleted and organised into a single volume by a large collection of ordinary people, translated from a language that doesn't even share an alphabet with yours, into a book that exists in half-a-dozen differing versions, and you take the literal interpretation of one passage of one of these variations as literal truth?

    Basic Common Sense 101? My friend, you fail it.

    Just in case that doesn't convince you (because it won't), a quick question:

    If Genesis is the literal and complete truth in every detail[1], who did Cain and Abel have kids with?

    Come on - who did they fuck? Couldn't have been Eve, could it? And if God had created other people it's not detailed in Genesis, is it? And if you allow for a second for the much-translated Genesis story to not be the actual, complete, unadulterated word of God... what's wrong with assuming it's all a metaphor? Or that God "created" humanity through evolution, then took the "first two" of them into the garden of eden?

    Sorry chum - your dogma isn't even internally consistent, and so collapses under the weight of its own BS.

    [1] Which, given there are two differing versions in the modern Bible, pretty much proves your "literal, complete" answer wrong anyway...
  • Kwitcherbellyachin (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Asklepius M.D. (877835) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:18PM (#13990028)
    We all know the expression..."opinions are like ********, we all have one and they all stink." What we don't all have is the chutzpah to act on our opinions. How many of us are willing to go the extra mile and homeschool our kids? How many spend time every night teaching perspective and objectivity to our children by discussing current events and topics other than those presented on ESPN or ET? "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Gandhi. Kwitcherbellyachin and act! Start that generation of "educated" voters in your own home! Quit relying on others to do your job as a parent! Take responsibility for the world and quit saying how "somebody should do something." Discussion /= action. Destruction /= improvement. Take a page from Nike and "just do it." Make the change in your own life, and build something that will compete with these inane "public" policies. /rant. (mod me, shape me, anyway you want me - long as you read me - it's alright)
  • by gg3po (724025) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:51PM (#13990288)
    How much easier would it be to influence people's votes if those people have no education?

    Point taken, but it's easier still to influence their votes if they have an education and *I* control that "education".

  • by Jagasian (129329) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:04PM (#13990875)
    Not all Truths are reachable in this fashion. Godel's theorem would seem to me to indicate that there are truths unreachable through any scientific method, just like there are unreachable truths in any other axiomatic method.


    This is an incorrect interpretation of Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. They basically state that any sufficiently powerful, fixed system of formal logic cannot prove certain propositions to be true or false. For such propositions, you will need a more powerful proof system, but even that system will have propositions that cannot be proven true or false. While this has implications on mathematics, the implications on science (which is not the same thing as mathematics), are minimal because the propositions that cannot be proven are metamathematical in nature. So for applications to science, you can merely choose a system that is powerful enough to explain the observatins at hand and make predictions.

    The only reason that scientists would care about incompleteness is that it states that one of the propositions that cannot be proven in a sufficiently powerful formal proof system, is that the proof system itself is consistent. Such a proof requires a more powerful proof system.
  • by Loether (769074) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:21PM (#13991651) Homepage
    While I agree "always has been" is a hard thing to grasp. I disagree that believing in God is any more logical than not believing in god.

    Just because we mere mortals don't easily grasp things like forever and infinity. We are built with a sense of time and beginning and end. We live and die. The universe doesn't seem to follow those rules (at least not on our time scale). Our desire for order is the only reason I can see for belief in God.

    For me just because I'd like there to be an answer isn't enough. I need something more. For me it's science. Lots of times science has to say "I don't know" where religion can easily come up with an answer. Like "God created universe in 7 days." I could just as easily say invisible magic gnomes created the universe. How can you dispute it? How can you confirm it? That's where scientific method comes in. If you can't disprove my gnome theory, does that make it true? Of course not. The mere fact that something can't be disproved ever is proof that it's not any more valid than any other myth.

    For me Science is enough of a "Bigger thing" than myself. It deals with universal truths and huge ideas, yet it's flexible enough to change when something new is observed. Religion by definition can't change ever. I get more feelings of wonder considering science and the immense span of the universe than I ever got from religion. Plus all of humanity are my brothers not just those who share my beliefs. (Sorry I went a little Carl Sagan there for a minute.) That's pretty much the way I look at the universe and I still have a sense of amazement and wonder without the need to involve any god.
  • by mfrank (649656) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @08:06PM (#14003497)
    WTF? It's a metaphor. The pyramids were built by *something*. Humans or aliens. Humans are, by far, the most credible explanation. Humans themselves were created in some manner; either via evolution or created by a god. There's abundant evidence for evolution. There's more evidence for aliens than there is for god.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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