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Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design 714

Posted by samzenpus
from the ragnarok-101 dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that schools within the Australian state of Queensland are going to be required to teach Intelligent Design as part of their Ancient History studies. While it is gratifying to note that it isn't being taught in science classes (since it most certainly isn't a science), one wonders what role a modern controversy can possibly serve within a subject dedicated to a period of history which occurred hundreds of years before Darwin proposed his groundbreaking theory?"
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Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <[moc.liamg] [ta] [nhojovadle]> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:41PM (#32420090) Journal

    "We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we're not biased in the delivery of curriculum," Mrs Doneley said. "We say, 'This is where we're coming from' but allow students to make up their own minds."

    I really wish they had gone into detail on what exactly a 'faith science basis' is. I'm not saying they're completely walled off from each other but attempting to give your children solid foundational logic should not be approached from an angle that contains any sort of faith.

    If they are indeed teaching intelligent design in much the same way as Niels Bohr's atomic model or -- perhaps more apt -- motivation for slavery then I have little problem with this. But if they spend anymore than a few hours discussing how it was flawed then I would consider this a waste of time instead of 'critical thinking.' It's great to see all the sides of a historical issue but that's all intelligent design is to me and, much more importantly, the peer reviewed journals and scientific community at large.

    If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem. If you want to teach it to my kids as an outstanding theory or hypothesis, I'm going to sit down and have a lengthy discussion with them. If you do you teach it in the United States, I'm going to be there arguing that you spend just as much time on Native American origin stories or even better the original Hindu creation story followed by Swami Vivekananda's logic of compatibility with Darwinism and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness's decision to largely reject it.

    Intelligent Design is an attempt to absolve the scriptures of ever being wrong in their creation story and salvage what is possible when presented with fossil evidence and short-term evolution evidence in smaller celled organisms. Other religions have similar damage control, why do the Christians only get theirs mentioned in state schools?

    They are arguing that this helps critical thinking and allows the child to make their own conclusions ... but curiously this "critical thinking" that presents an opposing view is curiously the view that the localized religion adheres to. If you want to teach critical thinking, expose the child to more views than what the adults are already largely marketing to them in the home and at religious services.

    This article bounces between acceptable and a BS facade to market Intelligent Design. Australia's a sovereign nation but I will speak up if this comes anywhere near my public schools.

  • Teach it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenoli (934612) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:45PM (#32420144)
    What, exactly, is there to teach about intelligent deign?
  • Re:Teach it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:49PM (#32420202)

    What, exactly, is there to teach about intelligent deign?

    Well, I suppose you could use it as an example of what happens when you fail at science.

  • Being vs Becoming (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:51PM (#32420220)

    People like being right far more than they like becoming right.

    Becoming right means you have to keep an open mind to the possible rejection of beliefs that bring you comfort or justification. It also means you must perpetually expend effort in the acquiring of new knowledge.

    That is WAY too much trouble for most people. So, instead, they insist that they were lucky enough to have learned all the important truths when they were children, and that these things are still true today, and should be treated as such.

    I really don't fit in well with my species.

  • NOOOOOO! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:53PM (#32420252)

    WTF! Seriously. I'm glad I don't live in Queensland. I hope intelligent people are working to put a stop to this absolute fucking garbage! Christian "values" are taking Australia straight to a Authoritarian Theocracy. Americans we have uranium I promise to let you have some if you bring us democracy.

    Totally blown away by this article!

  • by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:53PM (#32420258)
    Australia's legislature seems to be riding some kind of runaway jesus train lately, with all the anti-porn initiatives and net-filtering. I can't imagine the majority of Aussies are behind this stuff. How is this happening? What is the election cycle like there?
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:54PM (#32420280) Journal

    If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

    It's not even a disproved theory. At its core, ID is simply "somehow something somewhere is wrong with evolution". Other than a rather vague claim that some structures are too complex to have evolved naturally, ID makes virtually no positive claims at all, and I don't even that vague claim can possibly be considered positive.

    It's a smoke show, just Creationism stripped of any direct references to God, designed to fool idiotic Fundy-populated school boards, but in its only test in a Federal court, it got laughed out the door. One of its most important formulators, Michael Behe, made a fool of himself, and, unforgivable for a molecular biologist, showed an extraordinary ignorance of the literature on the evolution of complex systems like bacterial flagella and the vertebrate immune system. It's other major formulator is William Dembski, who, being considerably smarter than Behe, keeps away from ever having to defend his own notions of Irreducible Complexity and the outright nonsensical Information Filter (which, if it actually worked, would represent a quantum leap in the statistical study of information and would make Dembski one of the most lauded mathematicians in history, but is, in fact, just a load of pseudo-statistical mumbo jumbo).

    Who exactly ever believed in Intelligent Design? So far as I can tell, the two chief camps that promote it our Creationists and a small group of Theistic Evolutionists (mainly of Behe's mindset). The latter may even be sincere in so far as they believe that God's hand is in the mix somehow, but the former are only using ID cynically as a way around the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and don't actually buy into any of it. In fact, as witnessed by the rubes in Dover, they don't even really care about ID, they just want to get Creationism in the classroom. They aren't even Theistic Evolutionists, they're out and out Creationists.

    The whole thing is a scam, and one that has lost considerable force since Dover. The Discovery Institute, which is pretty much the leader in the ID charge, had already started moving to the bait-and-switch Teach the Controversy scam even before ID collapsed in court. The real problem here is that there are a lot of really stupid Creationists who themselves don't even know what ID is, and just assume that the scam artists who created it actually produced a scientific theory of Creationism.

  • "controversy" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:54PM (#32420288) Homepage
    The use of the word "controversy" here is taken directly from the creationist playbook. There is "controversy" about whether a big earthquake could cause California to fall off into the Pacific Ocean, but it's only a controversy between two guys sitting in a bar, it's not a controversy among geologists. When creationists say "teach the controversy," they're really asking teachers to present something that's not scientifically controversial as if it were.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:56PM (#32420304)

    First, intelligent design is NOT a scientific theory.

    On the other hand, Niels Bohr's aromic model IS a scientic theory.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohr_model

    Here is why this is the case,
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory#Essential_criteria

    Therefore it is incorrect to teach I.D. as a "disproved theory". It never was one in the first place. Where it can be mentioned is as a difference between theory and dogma, where I.D. is clearly an example of the latter,
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogma

    PS: Freaking slashdot reads my mind everything. CATPCHA: instruct

  • by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:57PM (#32420314)

    I really wish they had gone into detail on what exactly a 'faith science basis' is.

    They don't need to, just reading the phrase tells you all you need to know: it's a bunch of religious hokum clothed in pseudo-scientific garbage to try and sneak it into schools as if it were legitimate information.

    If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

    I do, because it is not provable, disprovable, nor was it ever a theory. It should be held up as an example of anti-scientific thinking and religious quackery, ripped at and torn to pieces until nothing is left.

    Other religions have similar damage control, why do the Christians only get theirs mentioned in state schools?

    Because for some reason the US and Australia have strangely aggressive Christian Fundamentalist elements.

    ID, if it has a role in schools, should be used for critical thinking. But it should be done properly, in the context that ID is shown for what it is: a red herring designed to mask faith as science. But that's not what they're after when they say "critical thinking."

  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @12:58PM (#32420340)

    If you want to teach it as a disproved theory, I got no problem.

    I do, because intelligent design being taught in schools is little more than an attempt to allow prosthelytizing in the public school system. The goal there is to replace education with saving the children's souls from us evil secular scientists.

    They don't care about science, this is all about "I have it in my little head that God wants me to spam everyone with advertising, and I'm willing to destroy education to do so."

    Frankly, I'd prefer students be exposed to advertising for coca-cola or McDonalds. Even though that's generally less healthy than being a christian fundamentalist, it's far less annoying.

  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:01PM (#32420380)
    From TFA:

    "We talk to students from a faith science basis, but we're not biased in the delivery of curriculum," Mrs Doneley said. "We say, 'This is where we're coming from' but allow students to make up their own minds."

    Without a solid foundation in scientific methodology and critical thinking, students aren't equipped to determine what is evidently correct and what is not. I can't tell from the article what grade they're including this topic for, but unless their schools are a lot better than US schools, I doubt that any high school student is equipped well enough to determine the validity of an assertion such as Intelligent Design.

  • I don't know about you, but ancient history classes for me included discussions of the paleolithic. You know, things that happened more than 6000 years ago?

    Intelligent design is creationism in a cloak of pseudoscience bullshit. Intelligent design attempts to pass itself off as a scientific theory when you can't prove it, therefore it's not a theory, it's a random hypothesis with no supporting evidence. And yet because proponents of ID keep trying to do this annoying tap dance around scientific principles when it's not science.

    I refuse to allow ID in any school in any way because it's a lie. Creationism as a philosophy isn't a lie, it shows itself exactly for what it is, it's a philosophy of how people think the universe was created, but there's no science behind it. Fine, so it belongs in a philosophy class that discusses multiple philosophies and ideas and critical thinking and that's it. ID is an attempt to get creationism outside of philosophy and into any other class, and that's because when you allow people to think about and question an idea, critical thinking will expose the truths and flaws. By getting it into another class, it suddenly becomes something that gets more legitimacy. The average person in a history/science/math class simply accepts what they are taught as so. People who are vested in teaching creationism don't want you to think about this or have a real critical thinking discussion, they are just hoping for more sheep.

  • Re:"controversy" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:13PM (#32420528)
    Well, if taught as part of history, I don't have any objections about it if ID is not presented as being the state of current science but as religion. As part of history, there have been many controversies over religion: the Crusades, the Protestant Reformation, the Inquisition, etc and those are just ones involving Christianity. I would expect students to learn about other religions as part of history especially how some ancient cultures were polytheistic like the Greeks and Romans.
  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:14PM (#32420538)

    I think the evolution theory is the best we have right now, and the big band sounds plausible considering the expansion rate of the universe. Is that how it happened ultimately? No freaking clue and I think we fight and evangelize about it too much (myself included at times).

    The problem with letting them believe that is that it validates all the other crazy crap they believe and that they try to get turned into law that the rest of us have to abide by.

    Maybe teach creationism, ID AND evolution in school... teach them as the three most widely-accepted ideas on how the world started and push them forward as all *theories* and there is no scientific proof (there is evidence for some, but that is not conclusive proof) for any of it yet?

    No. Evolution is a scientific theory based on the evidence. No scientific theory is ever proven absolutely true, but evolution is one of the strongest scientific theories out there. ID and creationism are not scientific theories. They aren't based on evidence, they don't make falsifiable claims, and they don't have any predictive power. They are simply myths that some religions have adopted as an explanation for that which they don't understand. To teach them as anything but that would be a lie.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:16PM (#32420572) Journal

    Yet, we still call it a "Theory" for some reason.

    Yes, it's a scientific theory, which is something considerably different than the colloquial definition. Why you guys keep trotting out this faulty and fallacious argument is quite beyond me. In formal definition, what you've committed is the etymological fallacy. Because a word or phrase may have multiple meanings doesn't mean that every application of the word invokes the same meaning. In science, a theory is a considerably more rigorously formulated claim or set of claims than just "wild ass guess", which is where you appear to be going. But it's a standard Creationist and ID stunt to try to diminish the rigorous nature of scientific theories to give a sort of rhetorical bump to claims that aren't even remotely scientific (and ID/Creationism is not science by any useful definition of the word).

    And yes, I know about most of the evidence,

    I'm doubting that very highly.

    and yes I buy that (more than anything else right now). I also understand that we might possibly be all wrong at any moment. As for the cosmology comment, I knew that was a veering off track a bit... but creationism and ID is a bit more broad reaching than evolution as they both tend to go over the concept on how "everything began" while evolution is more "the origin of species" - so I threw that in there.

    And now you're inventing definitions for ID and Creationism to bolster your argument. Creationism may certainly be more expansive, but ID, as formulated by Behe and Dembski, is not about how planets form, but as a direct challenge to features of biological evolution.

    I have a pretty good suspicion that you are not at all familiar with biological evolution and Intelligent Design. You certainly know nothing about science judging by the statement Yet, we still call it a "Theory" for some reason.

  • by purplebear (229854) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:18PM (#32420592)

    The battle is over in science not because there is no founding for it. The battle is over because the leaders in the scientific go out of their way to seek out those with any dissenting opinion to popular theory and throw them out. Do a bit of research yourself and you will find many valid, well-informed professors thrown out of universities for presenting or even researching on the side aspects that did not agree with the status quo.
    People, particularly on this forum, put Christians down as ignorant. I believe it is much more ignorant to just flat out silence opposing views rather than actually investigate them for real merit.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:18PM (#32420604) Journal

    I think we should teach science in science classes, and leave religious education to churches. ID and Creationism are not scientific theories. At the very most they belong in religious studies or philosophy classes.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:21PM (#32420636) Journal

    I don't really think anyone seriously believes in Intelligent Design. There are lots of Creationists who will wave it around, but generally to them ID==Creationism. As was pretty clear from Dover and other attempts to teach it, the school boards in question were populated with Creationists who had been scammed by DI into believing that Creationism was going to be taught in the classroom.

    As to the ID formulators, considering the amount of work they put into formulating ID as a neutered replacement of out-and-out Creationism, I think it's hard to accept any claim of sincerity. ID is a legal creation, a fabrication with but one purpose, to get Creationism past the Establishment Clause.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:27PM (#32420770) Homepage

    I'm curious about these Theistic Evolutionists. One of the major holes I've always seen in using "Intelligent Design" as a counter to Evolutionary Theory by the Religious Right is that it's not inherently incompatible with Evolution. If the basic theory behind "Intelligent Design" is that life is to complex to have evolved randomly and therefore must have a designer, who's to say that the designer doesn't simply use Evolution as a tool to accomplish Its goals. From inside the system it would appear to us that such small tweaks and experiments were random mutation.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that this is the case, just pondering how the two concepts are theoretically compatible.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:27PM (#32420788) Journal

    So therefore, since it's at it's core an ancient belief, it fits in perfectly in Ancient History. Alongside Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Babylonian, Chinese, African, etc creation myths.

    No, it's not an ancient belief. It's roughly 22 years old.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:33PM (#32420866)

    The problem with your statement is that there is no "solid basis for creationism or intelligent design"! All the major claims of ID have been thoroughly debunked. Most of the "scientists" that support ID are working outside of their field and have no credible authority. Science education is not about presenting all dissenting viewpoints even when there is zero controversy in the mainstream of biology. ID has about as much support in genetics or biology as flat earth theory has in geology.

  • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:40PM (#32420974)
    Not really. There's no need to include more than one or two simple examples of a complete lack of critical thinking in such a course.
  • by silanea (1241518) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:43PM (#32421014)

    [...] synthetic life forms created by human beings are by all accounts intelligent design.

    I'd rather disagree. Intelligent Design basically means "too complex to have evolved on its own". Synthetic life form means "some person made it in a lab". That is not the same by a long margin. I concur with the AC: ID is a dogma.

  • by qortra (591818) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:45PM (#32421062)

    I don't really think anyone seriously believes in Intelligent Design.

    Then you don't really understand people very well. From the Center for Science and Culture (a pro-ID organization) here [discovery.org]

    The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

    Even aside from religious beliefs, it is very difficult for many people to believe that the world and people as they are came about because of chance. Just look at the number of references in popular culture to fate and "the meaning of life". Going back even as far as the Greeks, it was a major theme of their literature and plays. The notion that natural selection determines that outcome of the universe is, to many people, a profoundly unsettling explanation. None of this should be taken as a challenge to natural selection or a defense of ID. However, your assertion that nobody actually believes in ID is naive.

  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @01:47PM (#32421096)

    You're trying to disprove ID as a scientific theory by quoting Wikipedia?

    Oh no... we have already lost...

    As long as the necessary sources are cited, it's fine to use Wikipedia to make a point. Especially when the point is requires no real deep explanation. If you have specific reasons to reject its use in this case, I'd like to hear them.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:03PM (#32421314)

    I'm not American, so you'll have to bear with me here.

    I gave up physics, biology and chemistry at 16, so that's a few years ago now, but I don't think we were once told that the word "theory" has a slightly different meaning in science to its colloquial meaning. The colloquial understanding of the word "theory" is probably closer to "hypothesis" - and it's absolutely crucial to understand this because without it the creationist "it's just a theory, we don't know for sure" argument is much harder to refute.

    At least if you know the definition of the word "theory" in a scientific context, you can understand that the statement "it's just a theory" is utterly fatuous.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:13PM (#32421426) Homepage Journal

    it isn't a scam. Many people sincerely believe in ID

    Many people sincerely believe that someone in Nigeria wants to give them a million bucks, too. Many people sincerely believe that wearing magnets will cure everything from foot pain to cancer. Many people sincerely believe that the politicians they vote for will live up to campaign promises. Etc. Belief has nothing to do with whether or not something is a scam.

  • Re:This comment (Score:3, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:13PM (#32421428)
    Why to creationists insist upon warping science? The big bang theory is not a theory of biology, the way the theory of evolution is, and neither theory states that anything came from "nothing." The big bang theory simply states that all the matter and energy in the universe was once concentrated at a single point, and for reasons unknown, an expansion occurred, leading to the universe in its current form, where matter and energy are not concentrated at a single point. The theory of evolution proposes a model that explains why different species exist, not why life exists or how the universe came into being.

    Seriously, even if you do not accept the theory of evolution, you could at least refrain from confounding it with other theories.
  • by Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:17PM (#32421478)

    Even aside from religious beliefs, it is very difficult for many people to believe that the world and people as they are came about because of chance. Just look at the number of references in popular culture to fate and "the meaning of life". Going back even as far as the Greeks, it was a major theme of their literature and plays. The notion that natural selection determines that outcome of the universe is, to many people, a profoundly unsettling explanation. None of this should be taken as a challenge to natural selection or a defense of ID. However, your assertion that nobody actually believes in ID is naive.

    They're welcome to believe whatever they want, but that doesn't make it true. Nor does it make it okay to teach in a science class. That's the problem with ID; it's being pushed as legitimate science when it isn't. Nobody is denying that there are some things that science just can't currently explain, and possibly never will be able to. Some of these things, like the nature of the afterlife, are clearly within the realm of the divine. ID and Creationism are attempting to attribute to the divine that which has already been explained by science. ID's purpose is to sneak religion into science class where it doesn't belong.

    I never understood why evolution is such a threat to religion. How does us evolving from apes say anything about the existence of God? What does it even have to do with it? Hell, if I was God, evolution and natural selection actually seems like a pretty damn good way to design an ecosystem! It's resilient and adaptive and I don't have to micromanage it. It's only a problem if you believe in an absolute literal interpretation of the Bible. You know, that book that was written down by men 2000 years ago and translated and re-transcribed God only knows how many times (pun intended).

  • by Blenster (1445547) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:40PM (#32421846)

    I never understood why evolution is such a threat to religion.

    It is often considered a threat to Christianity because without a literal Adam and Eve there was no "fall" and therefor we didn't inherit a "sinful nature" from them making the need for God to sacrifice himself, as a child of himself, to himself, to save us from himself, unnecessary. You are correct, though, that it is often literalists who take the most offense to the notion of evolution. I find that most Christians (people in general, really) are startlingly ignorant of the content of the bible and the actual mechanisms and theory of evolution.

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:42PM (#32421872)
    I disagree. I think it's important to study examples of the kinds of smokescreens employed by special interest groups, the appeals to emotion, the use of strawmen, the false dichotomies, and all the other ways in which untenable beliefs are shielded from rational scrutiny. Simply hearing a teacher say "Intelligent Design is rubbish and we're not going to waste any time on it" is the exact opposite of critical thinking.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:47PM (#32421960) Journal

    ID fails even as a test of intelligent agencies. Look at any science that concerns itself with the actions of intelligent beings; linguistics, archeology, anthropology, forensics. All are very concerned with the five Ws; who, what, where, when and why. ID pretty much denies all of them. It refuses to answer these critical questions, because it can't. To make explicit claims, for instance, as to the nature of the Designer(s) would tip the hand that it is fundamentally a religious claim.

    Can you imagine an archaeologist picking up a pottery fragment and saying "Well, we know it's designed, but we're not going to investigate who made it, when they made it, why they made, where they came from, what methods they used."? Of course not, because that's practically the antithesis of the whole point of science. ID isn't just a non-science, it is an anti-science.

  • by Dan Ost (415913) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:51PM (#32422002)

    Do a bit of research yourself and you will find many valid, well-informed professors thrown out of universities for presenting or even researching on the side aspects that did not agree with the status quo.

    Can you point out some examples?

    I believe it is much more ignorant to just flat out silence opposing views rather than actually investigate them for real merit.

    Seriously, these "opposing views" aren't silenced or ignored so much as they are disqualified because they fail to pass simple theoretical tests. Why would we want to spend time and resources to "investigate the merits" of something that fails even casual theoretical examination?

  • by RKThoadan (89437) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @02:54PM (#32422054)

    If the person "selling" whatever it is sincerely believes it, then it can't properly be called a scam. A scam does largely require the perpetrator to be making intentionally false statements to get money, or at least allegiance, from someone else. If they truly believe what they are "selling" then they are just deluded, not evil, and may otherwise be a kind and relatively normal person.

  • by Nickodeemus (1067376) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:01PM (#32422164)
    Let me review your data for this. If it is accurate my eyes will be opened and i will believe whole-heartedly.

    Smart people are so dismissive of people who do not see or believe the way they do. Instead of being able to fully explain thier facts they demean those that question. It is a very small, sad, "smart" person who behaves this way. Try being a little more open minded and try to consider why you believe the way you do, and be able to explain it to those who question instead of demeaning them. You may find that you are able to sway them to your view. Demeaning them will almost certainly not do so.

    Open your eyes, indeed.
  • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:02PM (#32422186) Journal

    I never understood why evolution is such a threat to religion. How does us evolving from apes say anything about the existence of God? What does it even have to do with it? Hell, if I was God, evolution and natural selection actually seems like a pretty damn good way to design an ecosystem! It's resilient and adaptive and I don't have to micromanage it. It's only a problem if you believe in an absolute literal interpretation of the Bible. You know, that book that was written down by men 2000 years ago and translated and re-transcribed God only knows how many times (pun intended).

    It really has nothing to do with religion or belief in such, although many will believe otherwise. There are those that think the theory of evolution is proof of no God. I'm not talking about those people. I'm talking about those that see no conflicts between their faith and science.

    Scroll up and look at the way people who believe that "God created the universe" are described. I am relatively religious and see absolutely no conflict between anything I've learned in science class and personal research and what I've learned in church. God is a mathematician. The threat that some see is from those that use evolution as a club to bash anyone who believes in any form of creationism whatsoever, even if that person believes that God created my via evolution. Here are some examples:

    Not really. There's no need to include more than one or two simple examples of a complete lack of critical thinking in such a course.

    I don't really think anyone seriously believes in Intelligent Design.

    ID isn't just a non-science, it is an anti-science.

    One is that Behe is just a bad researcher (and there seems to be little evidence that he's that incompetent), or that Behe is a liar, and the latter seems to be the better explanation.

    ... and so on.

    My main problem with the teaching of evolution is the attempt to actually ban the discussion of any criticism of the theory. Yes, I understand that such criticism could lead to the discussion of religion in the classroom*, but if you are going to ban discussion based on the possibility of that discussion moving to a discussion about religion, then all discussion should banned and anything can have a religion underpinning.

    * There is nothing wrong or Unconstitutional about discussing or even teaching religious doctrine in a classroom. I learned about the Greek religions in History class years ago and never had the urge to bow to Zeus.

  • by agbinfo (186523) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:04PM (#32422212) Journal

    Take a deck of cards. Shuffle as long as you want. Draw 52 cards in any order from that deck. What are the odds that it came up in that order? Before you drew the cards, the odds were 52! Once they are drawn the odds are 100%

  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:05PM (#32422230)

    Scientists don't agree with Intelligent Design. There's no scientific evidence to support it.
    Most Christians don't agree with ID. Nowhere in the bible is ID mentioned.
    No other religions propose ID.
    Most surveys indicate hardly anyone asked believes ID. (most either believe full religious creationism or evolution, not ID).

    Why then is it being taught in schools?

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:12PM (#32422310) Homepage

    I.D. by "GOD" may be dogma, but synthetic life forms created by human beings are by all accounts intelligent design.

    Dude, that's not what capital-I-D Intelligent Design is about!

    Nobody sane on the planet earth doubts that there exists things which are Designed by an Intelligence, specifically ours. Dogs and agricultural plants are examples of human-originated "intelligently designed" organisms that long predate that article.

    I.D. is not the claim that it is possible for human intelligence to create things up to and including artificial life.

    I.D. is the claim that natural processes alone cannot be the source of the diversity of life including humans themselves.

    The whole purpose of ID is to be an alternative to Evolution, in a thin ruse to push Creationism in schools without falling afoul of the 1st Amendment. There is no other kind of ID than "ID by GOD" because stated or not that is the premise. Well okay, there's ID by sincere idiots who don't seem to realize that if you contend that intelligent life cannot have arisen without an intelligence to create it, then where did that intelligence come from? At some point the "designer" must be either purely natural in origin (contradicting the whole premise), or super-natural.

    But that's besides the fact that what you're talking about isn't ID, and actual ID is actually not science in any way.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:18PM (#32422384) Journal

    My main problem with the teaching of evolution is the attempt to actually ban the discussion of any criticism of the theory. Yes, I understand that such criticism could lead to the discussion of religion in the classroom*, but if you are going to ban discussion based on the possibility of that discussion moving to a discussion about religion, then all discussion should banned and anything can have a religion underpinning.

    If you're in a science class, you ought to be teaching science. Since the number of biologists who reject evolution is exceedingly small, teaching criticisms of the validity of the theory is essentially taking up a Creationist line.

    There are actual controversies (ie. the relative importance of genetic drift via mutation, theories of abiogenesis, punctuated equilibrium etc.), but none of these controversies deny evolution happened, they are debates over very technical aspects of the theory. It's no different than the kinds of scientific debate one will see among linguists, archaeologists, physicists and so forth. I mean, because there is wide disagreement over implications of quantum mechanics, do you think QM is being criticized?

    This is the problem with guys like you. You conflate debates within the scientific community as far as aspects of biological evolution with the idea that the theory itself is being seriously debated.

    For the vast majority of the scientific community for the better part of a century, that debate has been closed. As much as any theory can be proven, evolution has been proven. There may be considerable debate along the lines of specific mechanics, or within very specific areas of evolution (ie. hominid evolution), but the scientific community long ago abandoned its objections, large portions of it in the decades after Origins was published, and the vast bulk certainly after the Modern Synthesis.

    In short, there is no controversy over whether evolution happened or not, not in science. If you want to count all the various strains of Creationists trying to get their brand of Biblical literalism taught in science classes, well yes, that's a controversy, but a social and political one that has no bearing on the science itself. By that logic, one might call the Holocaust controversial, first of all because scholars can't agree on precisely how many Jews were killed, or more ominously, because a band of racist cranks and charlatans claim it never happened.

  • by qortra (591818) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:18PM (#32422386)

    No, it's not an ancient belief. It's roughly 22 years old.

    Yes, it is an ancient belief. It's roughly 2360 years old. Read Plato's Timaeus [stanford.edu]. Perhaps you're thinking of the term "intelligent design" which is roughly 21 years old. The concept is far older.

  • by Urban Garlic (447282) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:20PM (#32422400)

    > I never understood why evolution is such a threat to religion. How does us evolving from apes say anything about the existence of God? What does it even have to do with it?

    You'd do well to research the cultural origins of creationism, as well as fundamentalism, as it's practiced in the United States. For the former, I recommend the introductory chaper of Laurie R. Godfrey's "Scientists Confront Creationism".

    The short version is, it's at least partially a reaction against the *social* Darwinism of American uber-Capitalists in the late 19th century, people who ran factory towns and controlled almost every aspect of their workers' social lives, instructing them that the bosses were rich because they out-competed the workers in the capitalist system, and that the workers were valuable only insofar as they were cogs in the great capitalist machine, and that Science proved that this was so, and there was nothing the workers could do about it. The only institution the bosses did not control was the church, and in church, the workers learned that each and every single one of them was individually loved by God himself, and that their lives had intrinsic value insofar as they obeyed the scriptures. Unsurprisingly, the worker culture tended to value the church more highly than science.

    There was a similar renaissance of new-age and occult thinking in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet pretensions to "scientific socialism", and scientifically-rationalized oppression, left people distrustful of anything that came with a "science" label, especially things that were both un-intuitive and morally offensive.

    It's vital in exploring these issues to remember that scientific rhetoric has often been a tool of oppression, and that when people react against it, they don't always separate the actual science from the oppressive rhetoric.

  • by Danse (1026) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:38PM (#32422608)

    What she actually said (as reported) was " Classroom debate about issues encouraged critical thinking – an important tool".

    The problem is that we've heard similar claims before, but with the goal of teaching that ID is a competing scientific theory with evolution, and that we should "teach the controversy" so that the students can decide for themselves. That almost sounds reasonable to some people, but it's based on a fundamental lie, which is that ID is a scientific theory at all.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @03:58PM (#32422856)

    > Santa Claus has nothing to do with Christ

    Santa Claus is a classic example of deification of a real person: Saint Nicholas, the
    Bishop of Myra. He certainly was a christian.

    Santa is now a minor god with his continuing existence, his ability to know all children are good or bad, his flying sled and his infinite performance in visiting every home in one night.

    Many men are made into gods: Ras Tafari (my grandfather was presented with a lion skin cape by Ras Tafari) became the god of the Rastafarians. Obama may become, or already has become, a god to many. Alexander the Great was a god as were many other men in Greek and Roman mythology.

    It is only a small step to see how a man, a warlord, Jehovah, became a god to his followers. Later much the same happened to another man in much the same area.

  • by Nickodeemus (1067376) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:27PM (#32423376)
    The problem with your response is that you assume that all of these things occured without ID, therefore they are proof in themselves. [This is clearly not the way to prove anything. Its the chicken and the egg scenario all over again.] Your assesment may be entirely accurrate but what are your facts to backup the statement? Run down your list of proof the same way a mathemetician can prove his equations.

    I am completly open to being shown the error of my beliefs. But statistically, it seems exceptionally improbable that these things could have occured 100% without intervention by some force or intelligence. I am thinking in terms of the something like the lottery - 180,000,000 to 1 odds of winning... and then winning twice? and then three times? what about 50 times in a row? These are the statistics i am talking of. On a cellular level I can see how you can get into billions and trillions of cells mutating into more and more advanced life, and all of this occurring in the span of the earth's existance...but where is the spark that starts it all? How does that spark occur? and in what conditions. Clearly, once we figure this out and are able to replicate it then this will no longer be theory. Until we do then it IS all just theory, cannot be proven, and we should neither condemn nor demean those who believe otherwise. I respect the beliefs of others. I don't judge them for those beliefs. But don't judge me for questioning those beliefs. There is nothing wrong with asking Why.
  • by buddyglass (925859) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:36PM (#32423506)

    So, generally speaking, I don't find the ID arguments very convincing. That said, I find part of this article's summary, and a common refrain from the anti-ID crowd (i.e. most everyone) to be troubling. Namely that ID "isn't science".

    It seems pretty obvious to me that one could "scientifically" go about determining whether something was "designed" or not. Suppose a meteor lands on earth with some "interesting" properties. Maybe it has a particularly regular stucture. Maybe its engraved with the prime numbers expressed in binary. Etc. Are we going to say its impossible to scientifically approach the problem of determining whether this object was "intelligently designed" or "naturally occurring"?

    It may well be that ID arrives at wrong conclusions for ideological reasons, but it also seems like the scientific establishment is overstating its case when it dismisses the entire problem of "design detection" (for lack of a better word) as "not science".

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @04:51PM (#32423740) Journal

    If you're in a science class, you ought to be teaching science. Since the number of biologists who reject evolution is exceedingly small, teaching criticisms of the validity of the theory is essentially taking up a Creationist line.

    Unless the theory of evolution is 100% correct, inconclusive and conclusive, we SHOULD be teaching the criticisms of it. You can't ban teachings because of a group you don't like supports those teachings. That's how theories get better.

    There are actual controversies (ie. the relative importance of genetic drift via mutation, theories of abiogenesis, punctuated equilibrium etc.), but none of these controversies deny evolution happened, they are debates over very technical aspects of the theory

    Exactly. Should these points be banned from classroom discussion or curriculum?

    This is the problem with guys like you. You conflate debates within the scientific community as far as aspects of biological evolution with the idea that the theory itself is being seriously debated.

    And the problem with guys like you is that you are willing to stifle discussion based on your fear that someone may say "God" in a classroom, causing otherwise critically thinking students join a cult.

    For the vast majority of the scientific community for the better part of a century, that debate has been closed. As much as any theory can be proven, evolution has been proven.

    And every day, new data is added to the "closed" debate. The omission of any new data that may contradict what we thought we already knew is just as closed minded as those that would burn books they don't agree with.

    Ideas should NEVER be off the discussion table when it comes to science. Nor should any theory or even law be above challenge. There is nothing wrong or religious with a teacher or textbook showing where the theory of evolution falls short. It has gotten to the point where even new discoveries that fall counter to Darwin's conclusion are being challenged because someone, somewhere might bring a Bible to class and say, "see, told ya so." Saying that Darwinian evolution can not fully explain the Cambrian explosion should not be a forbidden subject. We need to ask questions in order to get answers. If you ban the question, you are no better than the Catholic Priests that jailed scientists for saying that the sun was the center of our solar system.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:21PM (#32424176) Journal

    I can't believe it. Someone actually thinks the Cambrian explosion argument is a meaningful attack on evolution. Pal, grab a book. That hasn't been a useful attack on common descent for fifty years.

    You creationists, you're stuck in a time warp somewhere around 1930-1940. I mean, where do you get this crap, from Answers in Genesis?

    I've got to ask you, can you give me a bibliography of say, a dozen books written by biologists, that you've ever actually read?

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:43PM (#32424416) Journal

    Could you explain for me in what way the Big Bang violates any of the Laws of Thermodynamics? I can't wait to hear this one.

    (On a side note, you think physicists would have noted by now if the major cosmological theory of origins was falsified by thermodynamics, being that thermodynamics is such an important aspect of cosmology.)

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @05:50PM (#32424544)

    If you're in a science class, you ought to be teaching science.

    The problem with this line of thinking is that science doesn't happen in a vacuum. Science is merely a collection of the observations of how the world works. There's no need to place it upon a sacred altar and worship it. Hundreds of years of modern history have proven that it gets by just fine by being the truth.

    If you absolutely insist on teaching only science in science classes, then we'd need to get rid of science classes and replace the topic with something more useful. Science without any context whatsoever has devolved to mere data, and is basically useless.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @07:39PM (#32425732)

    The thing is that its misplaced. There was no ancient controversy about Intelligent design. It was simply believed. The controversy took place in the 19th and 20th century. so if you want to study it as a controversy Ancient history is not the right context.

    The problem arises however in that having it in the curriculum at all is doing what the Fundamentalists want. It is pretty much step one in their plan.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 01, 2010 @08:06PM (#32425968)

    I'm sorry to break up your rant here, but it isn't a scam. Many people sincerely believe in ID (or a variation thereof).

    Just because you believe in something doesn't mean it can't be a scam. Thousands of people believed in Bernie Madoff's ability to make money for them, does that mean it wasn't a scam?

  • by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday June 02, 2010 @12:14AM (#32427708) Homepage Journal

    That is interesting, especially as it offers an explanation of why creationism is still so widespread in the US - the US seems far more inclined to social Darwinism than anywhere else.

    One thing that makes me doubt it is that it is a cause taken up by the right. If it is a reaction to "uber-capitalism", then surely to would have appealed to to the left and be opposed by the right?

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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