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Education Science

Tennessee Bill Helps Teachers Challenge Evolution 735

Posted by Soulskill
from the dueling-with-zombie-darwin dept.
sciencehabit writes "In a 70-28 vote yesterday, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed HB 368 (PDF), a bill that encourages science teachers to explore controversial topics without fear of reprisal. Critics say the measure will enable K-12 teachers to present intelligent design and creationism as acceptable alternatives to evolution in the classroom. If the bill passes, Tennessee would join Louisiana as the second state to have specific 'protection' for the teaching of evolution in the classroom."
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Tennessee Bill Helps Teachers Challenge Evolution

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:38AM (#35757268)

    Where do you draw the line?

    Primary and Secondary school. Post-secondary students can generally choose which university/college to go to, and generally what classes to take, if they even go to a university instead of something like a trade school. Under-18, you have no choice. You either fork out big bucks for private school, or you go to your local public one. And if your local public school is now allowed to teach you that the scientific method is bunk, then you're going to be woefully un-prepared for anything more advanced.

    Intelligent design isn't just bad science. It's bad fact-checking, bad journal publishing, bad sourcing, bad record-keeping. If anything, ID should be held up not as an "alternative" to evolution, but as a case study in "how to get any BS published".

    My statistics class had such a study. We had to go through papers and show how the author twisted his stastistics and "massaged" results to get the data he wanted to conclude. ID would be a perfect example.

  • by kent_eh (543303) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:57AM (#35757572)

    You can be religious and think ID is a bunch of hooey. This isn't an either-or proposition.

    True.
    But what happens when someone moves from absolutely believing that the Bible is an infallible document that is absolutely the correct un-tainted word of God, to discovering that it's full of errors, omissions, inconsistencies, and has been changed in thousands of places over time.
    Changes that are both accidental and intentional. Changes made for reasons both innocent and manipulative.

    It's a big deal to discover that something you thought was infallible has errors.
    Then what? If it has one big error , how many more are there?

  • Re:My school prayer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hazel Bergeron (2015538) on Friday April 08, 2011 @11:09AM (#35757816) Journal

    No part of a story about the world being created some 6 thousand years ago by a magical sky wizard adds up to dinosaurs that were around millions and billions of years ago.

    Genesis does not say that the world was created 6 thousand years ago - this is just one interpretation. Even if it was a universally accepted interpretation, rather than one refuted by most Christian denominations but erected frequently as a straw man against Christianity, it does not counter the argument that God could plant anything anywhere to test you. Annoying, isn't it? Don't fight it. Neither shall win because each side is playing by different rules.

    Let's get to actual factual debate, where people stop citing a thousands of year old book as fact,

    Must stop citing Euclid ;-).

    and use it as an excuse to not follow law.

    Erm, I don't get this one...? Are you implying that law is something we should universally follow unless we have a good excuse (aside from "because we don't want to get caught")? That's a very dogmatic view.

    Theology is about study of religion, that doesn't mean its' accepted.

    Absolutely correct.

    Usually studying it enough shows you that religion is almost entirely bullshit.

    I haven't found this. Established religions are remarkably self-consistent and some very clever people over the millennia have explored and added to them. But that just shows the skill of man. Of course, by "bullshit" you probably mean "doesn't satisfy my simplistic understanding" - people love finding contradictions in religious tracts which betray nothing but their own misreading, mistranslating or decontextualising.

    I could pick up any two scientific texts and look at them sentence by sentence, pointing out "it said A there but it says B here!" I recall writing a thesis on the history of geometry which involved a lot of this - with the aim of understanding that we weren't seeing contradictions at all, rather different contexts employing different levels of abstraction or assumption.

    Geeks so much enjoy pointing out errors which aren't really errors, except by a literalist interpretation in which every statement is wrong because every statement involves some level of assumption and simplification.

    You don't see any part of the bible covering the part where christians were murdering those who refused to convert, now do ya? Considering it's happened what, 2, 3 times in history?

    You see a lot of the OT covering that sort of ground. What about it?

  • by BitterAndDrunk (799378) on Friday April 08, 2011 @11:46AM (#35758570) Homepage Journal
    The J and E thread reverse which comes first, animals or man. That's my favorite part about creationists - their own book gets it wrong almost immediately.
  • by Samalie (1016193) on Friday April 08, 2011 @03:45PM (#35761968)

    You didn't ask why it's different. You made a statement to be insulting.

    Obviously, you find God to be a lie. I don't. Unfortunately for this discussion, that IS an argument of faith and not science. I can not *prove* God exists any more than you can *prove* that God does not exist. So, we're at an impasse, one where I respect that you have come to a different conclusion than I have, and yet you seem to not respect in me.

    "My kind" - with all due respect sir, you're bordering on nothing but blind hate and discrimination because I happen to believe in a God similarly to the Christian and Catholic Church. *I* have never called an athiest a heathen, or pagan, or forced another person to conform to my beliefs. I do not have to be responsible for how others have perverted the Bible to their own interests, and would (and currently am in this discussion) publicly standing AGAINST such actions by the so-called Christian Church. As far as I'm concerned, we don't even remotely believe in the same thing, even if we allegedly worship the same entity. Hence the serious distinction *I* make between Church and Religion. Religion itself is "pure" - only when you organize it into masses of people ready to crucify others for their non-belief or different-belief does it become that which you seem to hate.

    Obviously someone/some church has seriously fucked with you over the years, to leave you with so much blind hate towards them. We're not all the same.

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:05PM (#35762274)

    I can not *prove* God exists any more than you can *prove* that God does not exist.

    Actually, no, I don't have to prove he doesn't exist. He simply doesn't until you prove he does. There's no impasse here other than your (or anyone's) inability to prove what they believe.

    If you don't see the connection between blind faith in something that can't be proven in any fashion, and Charles Manson's delusional followers, well I think we're done here. You can't have one without the other no matter how much you protest.

  • by Samalie (1016193) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:23PM (#35762514)

    I don't have to prove God exists either. I just accept it. I feel it in my interaction in the world. I can't prove it, and honestly...if I'm wrong and have deluded myself into belief in a lie for my life, there's no consequence to my belief other than I've followed a lie. I am doing no harm to my fellow man.

    And I'm not even trying to be one of those assholes who give the anti-athiest argument of "Well, if I'm wrong, nothing happens. If you're wrong, you go to hell" bullshit. When I say there is no consequence to my belief, I mean it. I follow my path, try to be the best person I can be & help in the world, and I don't try to force anyone to believe the same as I do. My impact, and my personal faith's inpact on the world, is pretty much zero.

    Yes, it is entirely faith, pure and simple, because the existence or non-existence of God cannot be emperically proven. TO you it is the same as believing in Santa...to me it is a part of who I am.

    I guess the difference...even though in both cases it is blind faith...I'm willing to revise my opinions based on evidence, and to date I have found no evidence that God does not exist. If Science were to somehow prove that God does not exist, I would be forced to revisit my entire belief structure. (And before you ask...of course there would be people/churches that would scream bloody murder, and start a downright religious war thinking Science made it all up if that happened. That would be wrong, and I would never be a part of it)

    I see that the only way you would accept God is if Science lit him up and went "SEE!! THERE HE IS!!!" for all of humanity to witness, and I respect your decision. But I stand by the statement that, at least in our little discussion here, I'm the one being respectful of your beliefs, and you are not. And I stand by the concept that as a general rule, athiests seem to have a serious problem accepting that religious people have their beliefs, and feel the need to mock and belittle those with faith for their faith.

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Friday April 08, 2011 @04:52PM (#35762852)

    if I'm wrong and have deluded myself into belief in a lie for my life, there's no consequence to my belief other than I've followed a lie. I am doing no harm to my fellow man.

    You may not be, but plenty of other 'religious' folk seem quite hell bent on imposing their views on the rest of the world. So yes I attribute that to anyone who supports that idea. You can't have one without the other.

    TO you it is the same as believing in Santa...to me it is a part of who I am.

    I assert that to a 5 yr old it is quite definitely part of who they are as well.

    I'm willing to revise my opinions based on evidence, and to date I have found no evidence that God does not exist.

    This is the very definition of 'science' that I am in favor of. Having 'evidence' drive things, not fantastical belief systems with no supporting evidence. You seem to agree with me on this point.

    And I stand by the concept that as a general rule, athiests seem to have a serious problem accepting that religious people have their beliefs, and feel the need to mock and belittle those with faith for their faith.

    I heartily disagree with you. The whole point of the article was about the religious pushing their views onto others. Religious history is literally rife with them pushing their beliefs onto others. Atheists and my ilk object heartily to being forced to accommodate in our lives the beliefs of others that are clearly not based on factual evidence. Again something you say you agree with.

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