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Education Science

Evolution Battle Brews In Texas 916

Posted by Soulskill
from the extraordinary-claims-require-extraordinary-evidence dept.
oxide7 writes "In Texas, a battle is brewing over the teaching of evolutionary theory as the Board of Education considers a new set of instructional materials to be used in science classrooms. [Two sections of the new material] deal with the origin of life. Those sections say the 'null hypothesis' is that there had to be some intelligent agency behind the appearance of living things. It is up to the scientists proposing a naturalistic explanation to prove their case."
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Evolution Battle Brews In Texas

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  • sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cats-paw (34890) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:22AM (#36060520) Homepage

    that we have to spend time and effort keeping creationism from being taught as "science" in the
    21st century.

    Do people in this country really understand that the right wing religious nut-cases are out to make this
    country a theocracy ? American taliban indeed.

    • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vivian (156520) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:27AM (#36060552)

      I went to a religious school which had no problem teaching the theory of evolution in science class AND teaching the Adam and Eve/Genesis thing in religious classes (of course we spend most of our time in religious classes colouring stuff in and generally mucking around, while we go to do experiments and other fun stuff in science lass). Why cant they just do this in Texas?

      • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by houghi (78078) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:57AM (#36060886)

        Because apparently making up your own mind is not something that many people want.

        And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution [wikipedia.org]
        In addition, while he was the Vatican's chief astronomer, Fr. George Coyne, issued a statement on 18 November 2005 saying that "Intelligent design isn't science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

        • by jamesh (87723)

          I find it curious that for all the backwards stuff the Catholic Church does, evolution doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest.

          • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @05:16AM (#36061190)

            Literal bible interpretation is a protestant thing, to varying degrees among the various groups (the American flavours seem to be the most extreme in this regard). The Catholic church interprets many parts of the Bible as metaphors and they don't consider Genesis to be how it really went down (who was there to write that down anyway?). The Catholic church sees evolution as a valid way for God to create the life on Earth and an omniscient and omnipotent deity could easily make sure the universe forms as it did just by configuring the big bang properly, never mind influencing the destinies of individual parts that may need a little prodding to get right.

            • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Kjella (173770) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @08:42AM (#36062018) Homepage

              It is true that a central part of protestantism was "Sola scriptura", that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. This was a rebellion against the power of the Pope and the Holy See to interpret and issue doctrine as very many of the practices that gave the Church massive power and wealth were not founded in the Bible, particularly the selling of indulgences. Also that salvation comes through faith alone, while Catholicism required rites performed by the priest - without the Church, there was no salvation. A central part of Protestantism was that all would read the Bible in their local language, back then only the priests and other highborn that learned Latin would even be able to read it. How could a Catholic have a literal interpretation of something he couldn't read? The priests told you the road to salvation and you followed.

              To me it sounds like you are placing all of the Protestant groups on the "more literal" side of things. That is really not true at all, we are just far more diverse. That comes from that there is no one supreme commander of the Protestant churches, while if you're Catholic then you either yield to the Pope's authority or you're not a Catholic. And to be honest, the US seems to have far more issues with Catholic beliefs such as regarding contraception and abortion because the Pope is opposed to it while most protestant churches - at least around here - have accepted it. I think I can speak for most of Northern Europe when I say we consider the Bible to be just as much allegories as the Catholic church - perhaps even more so - and that teaching evolution here is not an issue at all. As far as I understand the main issue in the US are Baptists, which make up most of the Bible Belt. But they are something like 100 out of 800 million protestants.

          • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by turbidostato (878842) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @05:23AM (#36061232)

            "I find it curious that for all the backwards stuff the Catholic Church does, evolution doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest."

            You shouldn't. A basis of all (thocratic) religions is that it explains a lot of things but demonstrates nothing.

            Now, a "clever" religion (and the Catholic one has evolutioned itself in this regard as a mean to survive -as a civil corporation) can explain everything while still demostrating nothing.

            Some examples:
            * Some religion guru comes with the idea that his god woke up some day and decided that his almigtyness would create life, intelligence and everything; so the guru writes the Genesis and so be it.
            * After a lot of years the modern gurus of that religion see that they are losing ground because science made obvious the Genesis can't be nothing but a child's tale. No problem.

            What do evidences support? Well, it seems that there were a big bang. What can't science demonstrate, at least today? How it was that the big bang happened. No problem: there were a big bang and God made it happen.

            What do evidences support? Well, it seems that living beings evolution by means of selective pressure on random mutations. No problem: living beings evolution by means of pressure on mutations but there are not really random but directed by God almightiness so they only seem to be random but working in accord to His plan.

            What can't science demonstrate? That there's a soul that survives after death. No problem: that's God's realm: there *is* an indetectable soul that lifes eternally.

            You see, if you are intelligent enough and work on a hypothese unfalsable and that doesn't demonstrate anything you can rework your model without resigning to your main tenets all you want.

            • by bunratty (545641)
              Yes, the old God of the gaps [wikipedia.org] idea. The trouble is, God keeps getting smaller and smaller as there are fewer gaps to put him in. I find it hilarious to watch religious people put God in the gaps, then get mad at scientists for invading their turf as they fill in the gaps. Talk about a losing strategy!
          • by vlm (69642)

            I find it curious that for all the backwards stuff the Catholic Church does, evolution doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest.

            I have a LOT of relatives on the inside of the C.C. so I have some insight here.

            The argument provided is perfectly valid for almost any religion. Only in the backwoods of TX would it be interpreted as exclusively biblical vs reality. If you never travel outside the TX back woods where 99% of the citizen population is evangelical christian, and 99% of the illegal alien population is Catholic, then its easy to warp your mind into binary thinking where the whole world is either christian or anti-christian, s

          • by perpenso (1613749) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @09:34AM (#36062400)

            I find it curious that for all the backwards stuff the Catholic Church does, evolution doesn't seem to bother them in the slightest.

            FWIW, the vatican observatory does real academic research: Planetary Sciences, Stellar Astronomy, Extragalactic Astronomy, Cosmology.
            "With support from the Vatican government, the scientists at the Vatican Observatory have a freedom to choose research topics not constrained by three-year proposal cycles or passing scientific fashions. As a result, our research topics, reflecting the wide range of interests in our staff, can focus on long-term survey programs and sometimes risky cutting-edge topics."
            http://www.vaticanobservatory.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=38&Itemid=145 [vaticanobservatory.org]

            Also, the current theory for the origin of the universe, the big bang theory, was developed by a priest and it was rejected by the "open minded" eminent scientists of the day because it was developed by a priest and "smelled of creationism". The term "big bang" was used by these eminent scientists as a pejorative.
            "Monsignor Georges Lemaître, a priest from the Catholic University of Louvain, proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, he called it his "hypothesis of the primeval atom". The framework for the model relies on Albert Einstein's general relativity and on simplifying assumptions (such as homogeneity and isotropy of space). The governing equations had been formulated by Alexander Friedmann. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the distances to far away galaxies were generally proportional to their redshifts — an idea originally suggested by Lemaître in 1927. Hubble's observation was taken to indicate that all very distant galaxies and clusters have an apparent velocity directly away from our vantage point: the farther away, the higher the apparent velocity."
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang_Theory [wikipedia.org]

        • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 08, 2011 @05:02AM (#36061134)

          I can't believe people don't get this. Science isn't where you go "we have no fucking clue how _____ happened, so we're going to say God did it", it's "we have no fucking clue how _____ happened, so let's apply the scientific method to this phenomenon and see if we can come up with an explanation for it". The theory of evolution crosses over into biology, paleontology, and many other bona fide scientific fields. Intelligent design challenges you to watch a sunrise and claim with a straight face that some force other than God could have made that possible.

          Whether you're religious or not - intelligent design has no business being in a science classroom.

      • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:57AM (#36060890)
        They can. Religious schools are free to do whatever the fuck they want on their own dime.

        Taking tax money meant for public education and using it to proselytize? No. Absolutely not. Taxes should not be used for religious purposes. Believe what you want, but pay for it yourself and keep it to yourself.

        Teaching Adam and Eve along side of Darwin, implying they're equally credible or even the same subject? No. Absolutely not. That's absurd. Creationism and intelligent design are fundamentally anti-scientific. "The only way to understand any of this is to believe what we tell you" is as far from science as you can get. You may as well teach "intelligent math" in math class and teach kids that 2+2=4, but some people believe that addition is not true, and 2 and 2 will always be 2 and 2, never 4.

        Already most students will never consider the evidence for and against evolution on their own, so for them, evolution is already more faith than science. There are a variety of reasons for that. I sincerely think that teaching science and religion in the same breath will confuse them even further. We'll take a giant step back from being a scientific culture, and a giant step toward ignorance.
      • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JambisJubilee (784493) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @04:27AM (#36061014)

        The Adam and Eve/Genesis creation account does have a place in the classroom. It's called mythology.

      • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium AT yahoo DOT com> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @10:59AM (#36063190)

        Why cant they just do this in Texas

        Because in Texas religious belief is part of the "social government" and economy. People that go to church are not just "church goers", they are members of a church with all of its hierarchy included in their socioeconomic lives. The church member's status in the church is related to the respect and job opportunities they are given by other members. People not of the church have no predetermined respect for them. In order to gather respect, and underlings, people have to be made into members. This is perpetuated like a pyramid scheme. That isn't to say there isn't a benefit to this. Once a person becomes a member they are granted certain opportunities, job, job status (manager vs. grunt), etc... depending on where they fall in the hierarchy of the church. For example, a Deacon in a church is not likely to be working fast food. Children taught things like evolution, free thinking, black/gray/white vs. black/white are not as easily made into members.

      • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jawnn (445279) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:46PM (#36065060)

        I went to a religious school which had no problem teaching the theory of evolution in science class AND teaching the Adam and Eve/Genesis thing in religious classes (of course we spend most of our time in religious classes colouring stuff in and generally mucking around, while we go to do experiments and other fun stuff in science lass). Why cant they just do this in Texas?

        I live in Texas and I can tell you that it's a bit complex. First of all, the state has a big inferiority complex. They used to be the biggest state, until Alaska came along. Now they're the second biggest. Believe it or not, that seriously galls a lot of Texans. Next, they picked the wrong side in the Civil War, er... excuse me, "the War of Northern Aggression", only a few years after kicking Mexico's ass and gaining their own independence. Going 1 and 1 in the two biggest events in your states history may seem, well, acceptably average for most states but not the one that likes to think that it has some special place in the world. So, as is often the case with folks with over-inflated egos, Texans are insecure and scared, and scared people often turn to religion for answers. Cramming their religious views down the throats of children makes them feel like they are at least morally superior to "all them states with all them states with all them intellectual elites in 'em." Smart people, even people who are confident enough to led God fend for himself in spreading "the truth", are threatening to your average Texan.

    • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:33AM (#36060586) Homepage Journal

          You seem to fail to see the real problem.

          The majority of citizens have taken the word of their respective cults as reality, and fail to recognize anything factual. Factual evidence is passed off as garbage, and ancient fairy tales are the truth. Worse, they don't even cite their own fairy tales properly, and continue to spew more recent urban legends that have been adopted by the cult majority as fact.

          It is an amazingly sad state of affairs, that the majority of the population have become so complacent in following the lies, that they no longer think for themselves.

          I am now a resident of the certifiably most insane nation in the world, which unfortunately also possesses the largest quantity and most dangerous weapons in the world.

      • Re:sad isn't it ? (Score:5, Informative)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @06:05AM (#36061384)

        My father loves to complain how the US has no standard for what it takes to be a priest. The Lutheran and Catholic church both have schools that one has to have gone through to be qualified for priesthood so the preachers actually know what the religion is about and how to present it properly, the TV preachers in the US are free to make up any nonsense they want without being stripped of their title.

  • by Palmsie (1550787) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:25AM (#36060540)

    Really? It sounds like someone from the board of education had a sit down with a statistician and thought it would sound cool to throw in the null because, for some reason, ID is the default explanation for the origin of species. I mean, this isn't a bad thing considering the vast amount of evidence in support of natural selection, ultimately suggesting that we can confidently reject the null.

    They also may want to take a look at Jacob Cohen's classic paper, 'the world is round, p .05' for more information about the current Fisherian statistical paradigm we currently exist in and what it means to establish a null (and ultimately reject or fail to reject it).

    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      It is a bad thing because in the scientific world we don't use the default of "some magic being created it" if we don't understand it. Science is about study and practise in order to uncover an understanding of the truth. At no stage should any scientific baseline start with the unicorns did it.
      • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe&jwsmythe,com> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:16AM (#36060726) Homepage Journal

            In a theology class, a respected Reverend said "Religion is simple mans way of explaining what he doesn't understand".

            Over the next several sessions, he covered various cultural and religious beliefs by groups from around the world.

            I had known him for years, but it wasn't until that day that I realized, he wasn't a leading member of the church to preach the word of god. He was a leading member of the church to help people who couldn't grasp the fact that there are things we don't fully understand yet. He wasn't preaching the "truth" in gospel. He was helping them from being scared of the unknown.

            Unfortunately, there are too many people who take these fairy tales that were intended to help them not be scared, and demand everyone understand it as the truth.

  • Derp. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <{shadow.wrought} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:25AM (#36060544) Homepage Journal
    That... That is a whole lotta derp right there, I tell you what.
    • What the majority wants eventually wins. When there are no external threats, the majority will create its own scarecrows -- usually from the things they understand least. Modern science is high on that list, especially given the many "evil scientist" representations in what Wikipedia calls "modern culture".

      I expect you to vote, Mr. Bond.

  • by subreality (157447) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:25AM (#36060546)

    We scientifically-minded people have had a perfectly reasonable naturalistic explanation for the origin of life for a long time. No sir, the ball is in YOUR court to show that there is evidence for your intelligent design theory.

    • by tgtanman (728257) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:42AM (#36060626)
  • by Senes (928228) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:28AM (#36060558)
    Creationists hate and fear anything different from what they were told to believe. They also breed and vote a lot.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:30AM (#36060570)

    Those sections say the 'null hypothesis' is that there had to be some intelligent agency behind the appearance of living things.

    ... is that the phrase "intelligent agency" doesn't apply to the Texas Board of Ed. I might concede the possibility of divine intervention to cover the bases of what isn't known, but "had to be" is a bit much. Just my $.02. In related news, I thank my parents for not raising me in Texas.

  • This is not ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:30AM (#36060572)

    Democracy can only work with good education. The people voting are supposed to be able to make intelligent decisions.

    This kind of thing is going to undermine our ability to govern ourselves and I cannot imagine something more insidious than corrupting children toward that end.

    This must be stopped.

    • Re:This is not ok (Score:5, Interesting)

      by siddesu (698447) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:27AM (#36060762)

      Education has never worked particularly well. For example, there was a huge effort in the second half of the 20th century to educate people and wean them off superstitions in the Soviet bloc. Since religions were largely suppressed officially, and high-school education with emphasis on physics and math was compulsory, it should have worked reasonably well. However, public education could not overcome superstitions, and there has been a steady presence of various magicians in public life -- from people who would heal you with magic, to politicians who would solve political problems or build nanotech industry with magic. Currently most if not all ex-Eastern bloc experience some sort of revival of religion, especially as a badge to counter the "Islamic threat".

      And I doubt if education has worked very well in the US in the past 50 years as well -- IMHO the advances of science in the US were mostly due to brain drain, when the best brains from all over the world moved there to enjoy the rich life post WWII, and by the bias towards making better killing machinery that gave the said brains a little more money than is customary in the typical human society.

      But when the knowledge is so much and so advanced that it is too hard to even grasp the basics without spending 10 years in higher education doing hard work and producing nothing obviously "valuable", it is no surprise that most people will find a simplified model of reality that helps them go on with their lives. It is even less surprising when they choose a model that is, on the face, largely compatible with the world they see every day and their way of thinking is deeply rooted in their past.

  • Reminder (Score:5, Informative)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:35AM (#36060592) Homepage

    Evolutionary theory has fuck-all to do with abiogenisis.

    • Re:Reminder (Score:5, Informative)

      by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @04:25AM (#36061008)

      In short - once you get back to the amoeba most of the religious objections to evolution are there regardless. So a God which created an amoeba is as unChristian as a God which doesn't exist.

      They aren't wrong on this point. Once you eliminate the Adam and Eve story you no longer can place the blame for our fall on humanity. And when humanity isn't at fault for our suffering then the only person who can be blamed is God.

      Once God is responsible our imperfection and exact design (through evolution) then he's evil since he designed us to evidently suffer.

      If you assume that he evolved (through death and suffering) the human body but it was then (unlike the rest of the species on this planet) perfect and then corrupted by a Satan figure then again it's Satan's fault and not our own and once again we're not responsible for our defects.

      You need literalism to maintain the viewpoint that we're responsible for our own suffering and God really really would like to help us but can't since it's our own fault--not his.

      Essentially Christianity says that Humanity voided its warranty when it ate the apple. If you say that God started Abiogenesis then he's still responsible and we're all still under warranty. That doesn't fit within the saved/condemned view of the Christian church.

  • Fucking Luddites (Score:3, Insightful)

    by haruchai (17472) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @02:49AM (#36060656)

    As far back as I can remember, I couldn't wait for the future to arrive and dreamed every night that I would wake up in the 23rd century. So here I am decades later, living in the 19th.

    • As far back as I can remember, I couldn't wait for the future to arrive and dreamed every night that I would wake up in the 23rd century. So here I am decades later, living in the 19th.

      No, you're in the 23rd.

      BC.

  • Why wouldn't the null hypothesis be "people have always been basically the same as they are today"? Surely that was the null hypothesis that both evolution and creationism attempted to supplant?

    Yes, it fails because of all the reasons we know life wasn't always here throughout an infinite history and that time is not cyclical over the timescale of human existence. That's why it's the null hypothesis that the theory of evolution disproves and supercedes. Creationism also seeks to supplant it by positing some creative event that put into place the current ecosystem, whose basis comes from, essentially, old books and traditions, with maybe the occasional misunderstanding of probability and the absolutely grand scales of time and space involved.

  • by Kjellander (163404) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:19AM (#36060736)

    A null hypothesis must be falsifiable, and therefor "it must be a wizard that did it" cannot be the null hypothesis.

    Q.E.D.

  • by ndogg (158021) <the.rhornNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:25AM (#36060754) Homepage Journal

    More like the Samuel L Jackson version of Dawkins (although, I'll admit I'm not nearly as cool as either.) And yes, I'm just letting of some steam here.

    What?!

    What the fuck?!

    Those sections say the "null hypothesis" is that there had to be some intelligent agency behind the appearance of living things. It is up to the scientists proposing a naturalistic explanation to prove their case.

    Since motherfucking when? I'll tell you, motherfucking never. How much more fucking evidence must scientists throw before your motherfucking ugly fucking face before you fucking get it?

    Sample says the "null hypothesis" is such because the old experiments that attempted to produce "building blocks" of amino acids failed to do so. In addition later experiments that produced other precursor chemicals, such as DNA and RNA, required very specific conditions in a lab, and aren't he said. Necessarily reflective of what the early Earth was like. Therefore, he said, the odds of making life from non-life seem too small for a naturalistic hypothesis to work.

    Well, what the fuck do you call this [wikipedia.org]? And very specific lab conditions? Well, guess what motherfucker, the early Earth have very specific conditions [wikipedia.org] that resemble nothing like what we have today, so yes, those conditions have to be specific in the laboratory. This doesn't even touch the fact that the early Earth was a much bigger fucking laboratory than some fucking room at a university.

    Sample says it isn't stealth creationism - he says the intelligent agency might just as well be aliens. But he emphasizes that he wants students to learn to think critically, and that unlike the physical sciences, there aren't any experiments you can do to demonstrate evolutionary theory.

    Firstly, observational evidence that can be repeatably confirmed is just as valid as repeatable experiments with observation in a laboratory. And this is yet another case of "What the fuck do you call this [talkorigins.org]?":

    While studying the genetics of the evening primrose, Oenothera lamarckiana, de Vries (1905) found an unusual variant among his plants. O. lamarckiana has a chromosome number of 2N = 14. The variant had a chromosome number of 2N = 28. He found that he was unable to breed this variant with O. lamarckiana. He named this new species O. gigas.

    Do you see what year is in there? 1905! Speciation was observed in nineteen o'fucking five. That's 23 fucking years after Darwin's death. Can't fucking demonstrate evolution in the lab my ass.

    To paraphrase [youtube.com]:

    Does the idea that there might be knowledge frighten you?
    Does the idea that one afternoon on Wiki-fucking-pedia might enlighten you frighten you?
    Does the idea that there might not be a supernatural so blow your Christian noodle that you'd rather stand there in the fog of your inability to Google?
    Isn’t this enough?
    Just this world?
    Just this beautiful, complex
    Wonderfully unfathomable, NATURAL world?
    How does it so fail to hold our attention
    That we have to diminish it with the invention
    Of cheap, man-made Myths and Monsters?

    (Watch the rest, you won't regret it, promise.)

    I get the idea that it's scary to think that this is all we have, but that's not an excuse to just start making things up to make yourself feel comfortable. If we truly want immortality, the only thing that can possibly deliver on that is science. And we can't continue to be held back by people whose only goal is to advance their favorite fairy tales in spite of the consequences. And yes, science can answer question [youtube.com]

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @05:03AM (#36061136)

    If we're the result of the efforts of some "intelligent agency", that just replaces the origins question with "Where did the intelligent agency come from?"

    Of course, their answer is "God", who, unlike everything else, they claim does not require an explanation. You regularly hear creationists argue that God must exist because "everything has to have a cause", but when you ask what caused God they're suddenly willing to make an exception.

    But when offered the hypotheses of and uncaused God and an uncaused universe, the uncaused universe is the economic explanation; assuming an uncaused God is a bigger assumption, because you're assuming the existence of something that's more than the universe.

  • by kaapstorm (1421899) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @05:16AM (#36061196)

    If I were Chinese or Indian, I would be loving this. Imagine, my biggest competitor, ensuring their next generation is superstitious and ignorant. Perfect!

  • A null hypothesis is falsifiable.

    Creationists: Come up with a real, actual experiment and a plausible outcome of it that will disprove the existence of an intelligent creator in your eyes. Sign a binding statement to shut the fuck up about God if that outcome occurs. Then people will stop laughing at you, at least until the experiment shows you wrong and you start whining about interpretations and ineffability.

    You could be honest with yourselves and reject the scientific method outright - "don't trust your eyes, trust your faith." It's slightly ridiculous and nobody will take you seriously, but at least you'll be left alone. You want to play at being scientists? Then you'll play by the rules of science.

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @05:46AM (#36061312) Journal

    The less scientists there are on the world, the higher my salary. Please go on teaching your students that scientific theories are stories about how it could be, without making any testable predictions.

    That strategy and mind-set will be very helpful when doing fault-finding in semiconductors. In case the fault rate goes to high, please don't look for testable reasons, but invent a story how a higher intelligence planned out that a race condition or some glitch on the laptop sold to a specific customer is the will of god. The claim that it is very unlikely that a complex processor exists by coincidence and declare any working processor to be the work of a higher intelligence. Don't forget, you cant loose this argument - you cant be proven wrong, unless the stupid guy who tests one process gas after the other for purity - he is wrong all the time.

    The fundamental difference between evolution and ID is that evolution tells me what should happen if i put bacteria in a nutrient and change the nutrient compostion slowly over 100000 generations of bacteria. ID doesn't.

  • by Bruinwar (1034968) <bruinwar@@@hotmail...com> on Sunday May 08, 2011 @07:16AM (#36061650)

    How long does it take to teach Intelligent Design anyhow? Would not a lecture lasting more than ten minutes run out of material?

    IMO what these people really want is not to teach evolution at all. Darn kids are smart enough see which concept holds water when placed side by side.

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @09:31AM (#36062370)

    Evolution does not address the divine. God may well have deliberately created evolution and for all we know God, Himself might have evolved from a lesser state or continue to evolve today. It is only a few oddball church groups that have a problem with evolution. Creationism has a place in world religions course but should not be mentioned anywhere near a science class. Hopefully students might be able to tell when they are actually in a science class.

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Sunday May 08, 2011 @03:36PM (#36065388)

    One often hears cranks of one sort or another insisting that their view should be the "null" hypothesis.
    This reflects a widespread misunderstanding of what the "null hypothesis" actually is.
    Cranks imagine that the null hypothesis is somehow a privileged hypothesis that doesn't require evidence--it is just assumed be true until proven false--which is why they want their own particular notion to be considered "null."

    In reality, the "null hypothesis" has a very specialized meaning, which is not general to science, but rather limited to statistics.
    Basically, when you are asking if two things are different, or if something has changed, one does this by exclusion--by showing that the evidence does not support the assumption that there is no difference. That's what the "null" means--"no difference." This does not mean that one starts by assuming that "no change" is correct, or even that the null hypothesis is more likely to be true.

    Of course, a creation myth, like the theory of evolution, is an account of change, so it cannot possibly be a null hypothesis. A null hypothesis of the history of life--that nothing has changed--is not going to be very appealing to those who look to nature to justify their religious beliefs, because a universe that has always existed, unchanging, does not have much need for Gods. Scientists are more open to the notion; at one time, a steady-state theory of cosmology was popular. It's just that the evidence, both cosmological and earthly, does not support the null hypothesis of an unchanging universe.

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