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Kansas Challenges Definition of Science 2759

nysus writes "Anti-evolutionists have made classrooms in Kansas a key battleground in America's culture war. Again. The New York Times reports they are proposing to change the definition of science in Kansas: 'instead of "seeking natural explanations for what we observe around us," the new standards would describe it as a "continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."'" From the article: "In the first of three daylong hearings being referred to here as a direct descendant of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee, a parade of Ph.D.'s testified Thursday about the flaws they saw in mainstream science's explanation of the origins of life. It was one part biology lesson, one part political theater, and the biggest stage yet for the emerging movement known as intelligent design, which posits that life's complexity cannot be explained without a supernatural creator."
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Kansas Challenges Definition of Science

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  • by mfh ( 56 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:35AM (#12451419) Homepage Journal
    It's nice to see they have taken "seeking" out of the definition, but it's too complicated. Science is easy. ...continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.

    Science: The overcomplication of human perception.
    Effective Treatment: Unknown
    Suggested reading: Carlos Castaneda [], because he's a total nut!
  • You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:36AM (#12451427)
    ...if there is a "supernatural" creator or force that has created the Universe (and the confluence of circumstances that led to its creation from essentially manifestly nothingness, and also life itself, could be considered on what I'd call a "supernatural" scale itself, but that's another topic), why must the scientific processes that describe any such events, and any potential forces that may transcend our understanding of the physical world, have to be mutually exclusive?

    Many years ago, a student in my 7th grade biology class asked specifically about creationism during our section on evolution. My biology teacher gave a very short, thoughtful, and diplomatic answer. His answer, after quite a long pause:

    "Well, some might say that the Bible tells what God did, and science explains how he did it."

    Now, looking back as an engineer and scientist by education, I have always found the simplicity of that statement compelling, and have never had any trouble reconciling whatever beliefs I have in notions that could be described as "supernatural" with scientific fact and sound scientific theory.

    I think the problem you have is with the people who literally believe that a white-bearded man in a robe literally created the Universe and Earth in 6 days around 6000 years ago, and then created the life to go on on it, and who discount valid science wholesale. Even though "creationists", and people who believe my last statement, may use "intelligent design" as a tool to further their agendas, that's not my interpretation of "intelligent design".

    Personally, I rather liked Picard's response in "Where Silence Has Lease":


    I have a question, sir. What is death?


    You've picked probably the most difficult of all questions, Data.

    There is the beginning of a twinkle in Picard's eyes again. It is the sort of question that his mind loves.

    Some explain it by inventing gods wearing their own form... and argue that the purpose of the entire universe is to maintain themselves in their present form in an Earth-like garden which will give them pleasure through all eternity. And at the other extreme, assuming that is an "extreme," are those who prefer the idea of our blinking into nothingness with all our experiences, hopes and dreams only an illusion.


    Which do you believe?


    Considering the marvelous complexity of our universe, its clockwork perfection, its balances of this against that... matter, energy, gravitation, time, dimension, pattern, I believe our existence must mean more than a meaningless illusion. I prefer to believe that my and your existence goes beyond Euclidian and other "practical" measuring systems... and that, in ways we cannot yet fathom, our existence is part of a reality beyond what we understand now as reality.

    Really: what's wrong with seeing the Universe and the wonderful complexity of everything from the scale of galaxies to the scale of atoms - or smaller - and our very lives as something more than the sum of its parts?
  • Laughingstock (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:37AM (#12451443)
    Fix it - with your votes. Make sure the vote is counted and the databases aren't hacked though.

    The USA is quickly becoming the laughingstock of the world. I mean - fellow Europeans - do you do anything but laugh when you read an article like this?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:41AM (#12451493)
    This story touches a nerve -- why is there no dialogue on whether or not creationism and evolution are compatible. I personally believe they are. Consider this: some translations of the bible (Old Testament) translate "day" to "epoch" so when they say that God created everything in 7 "days" it could really mean 7 "epochs". Besides, why take everything so litterally? I think religion evolved in an attempt to explain the unexplanable (ie, why the sun rises, the stars, water, fire, life, death, etc).

    Seem to me if these people in Kansas would drop their silly campaign of trying to undermind science and look to expand their understanding of their beliefs then it'd be a whole lot easier to get along.
  • by PsychicX ( 866028 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:48AM (#12451584)
    "continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."

    I have to admit, I'm a little confused...ostensibly they're trying to somehow include creationism in this...but that definition doesn't seem to leave any loopholes for god or the bible.
  • by John Sokol ( 109591 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:50AM (#12451624) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone ever stopped to think about how well evolution works? And that it's all encompassing.

    It's an inescapable law of nature. Everything from our software and computer designs (meme's) to music, language and DNA based life is affected by evolution.

    Not only that, it's impossible to create something not effected by it.
    Even our views of God and our religions evolve. (what blasphemy)

    After studying evolution for some time, I became a believer in GOD! Because only god could have created something as powerful as evolution.

    My argument goes like this. If we are made in Gods image, and we make machines and tools to build more complex things. Then shouldn't God also? If God were to what would that tool look like. EVOLUTION....

    So all this arguing over GOD vs. Evolution is totally stupid. No Evil.

    I see science as the study of God's creation. It's sort of our responsibility to understand is and in doing this we can come to know God better
  • by TuataraShoes ( 600303 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:52AM (#12451649)
    I agree that this would be too complicated a definition of science. But it may be valuable as a definition of scientific process for a school science program.

    It seems that they are trying to get away from a pre-determined conclusion that there is a 'natural explanation' to be sought. Clearly, they think that there may be some super-natural explanations. Perhaps it is a fair point that budding scientists should not determine the nature of the explanation before conducting the science.
  • by sTalking_Goat ( 670565 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:53AM (#12451668) Homepage
    Because some lessons just have be learned the hard way.

    If their goal is really to scrutinize the science for the betterment of all then great. But if what they'll really after (and what its sounds like) is to muddy the waters so much that creationism and "intelligent design" is the norm then it'll bite them in ass when all these mis-informed kids hit adulthood and and realize the world has left them behind.

    Man, I don't even get why this is an issue. I grew in up in a very socially religious country. We had prayer 3 times a a day in a government run High School for God's sake, but I never heard once in a biology class talk about creationism.

    Why can't they realize these are seperate issues? Why is time being spent rehashing 80 year old arguements?

  • by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:56AM (#12451723) Homepage
    In fairness to the folks in Kansas, parts of the theory of evolution are contradicted by the fossil record.

    Evolution predicts that small random changes happen over many generations. The "good" changes have a higher tendency to survive and reproduce than the "bad" changes so they dominate.

    The fossils show that this does in fact happen for tens of thousands of years. Then, suddenly, creatures which are significantly different from what came before appear. They're often similar to prior creatures, but the changes are nearly instantaneous in geologic time. The "missing link" is only the best known of these occurances.

    Evolution offers no adequate explanation as to how such sudden major changes happen. According to its predictions, such changes shouldn't happen.

    The Scientific Method says that when a theory disagrees with the evidence, the theory is disproven. It's not a weight of the evidence thing. A single valid counter-example disproves the theory.

    The Theory of Evolution survives despite being disproven because there are no better theories to be had. Intelligent Design is a joke: as proposed it can neither be proven nor disproven, one of the core requirements for applying the scientific method. Evolution is at least Scientific, even though its disproven.
  • Re:Agree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kanon ( 152815 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:57AM (#12451753)
    You have to look at it from the other angle. What do the creationists get out of apparently tightening up the definition of science?

    Answer: They're trying to use the strength of science against it. Basically science comes up with a hypothesis. Then scientists try to break it. If it breaks they try again in different ways. That's how we learn.

    Obviously the creationists want to use that by saying to the schools. "Since science is constantly evolving and testing itself why not teach "Intelligent Bollocks" in the classes and let the students compare the two. Obviously if evolution is as strong as the scientists say it is you've got nothing to worry about".

    Which of course is total nonsense. "Intelligent Bollocks" has no real basis in science and just like pure creationism is totaly unprovable and unobservable. Not science in the slightest.

    Repeat after me Kansas. Science in the science classes. Religion in the RE classes. Unless of course the plan is to compare *all* creation myths but I doubt that's what the book burners have planned at all.
  • Re:You know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by worst ( 867607 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:57AM (#12451754)
    So, who designed the creator?

    One of the most important tenets of faith is the concept of existance without creation. Existance without creation is what makes "god" god.
  • Re:Tell me this... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eutychus_awakes ( 607787 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:57AM (#12451758)
    It is that argument precisely that has lead to the philosophical concept of an "un-caused cause." Causality can be reasoned back to infinity, which is a paradox of the same flavor as Zeno's Bridge and others. The solution to this and other paradoxes is to reason that an infinite sequence of events can in fact take place in a finite amount of time. For Christians (and other monotheists), this is the notion that God has always existed, that he is "un-caused" and outside of our understanding of space and time. For nonthesists (atheists and others), they use this paradox solution as evidence against God - that there was nothing for him to do in creation, it just happened as a natural consequence of fundamental physical laws to be yet discovered and understood. However, the philosophical weight actually goes against the naturalist in this argument, as we need to know what caused the events which caused the events which caused the universe to come into being. In short, God can be un-caused, but nature can't be.

    Either way, I don't see a problem with the definition of science as presented in the article. It sounds a lot like what I was taught in public school in New Mexico - a state not known for its conservative education policies.
  • Re:Philosophy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tony ( 765 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:58AM (#12451781) Journal
    I.D. is a pseudo-science and should be adapted to be taught in a Philisophy (itself a pseduo science) class.

    Philosophy is not a pseudo science. Science is a branch of philosophy-- specifically, science is a type of epistomology, the study of "how we know things."

    Philosophy itself has a great and noble history, and we have learned many things through philosophy that science cannot teach us-- morality, justness, what it emotionally means to be human. Science cannot tell us this, because it is beyond the scope of prediction. (Psychology tries to figure out some aspects, but psychology itself barely flirts with science.)

    Just thought I'd clarify.
  • by UncleGizmo ( 462001 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @11:59AM (#12451805)

    I posted separately as well, but I feel strongly enough to do so again...The loophole is in
    the "logical argument" part of the definition.

    The way it is worded, it doesn't explicitly state that you have to do all these things for it to be science. Someone could [as ID proponents do] take existing "pure" scienctific research, use it to posit that there is order to the universe and use inductive reasoning [logical argument] to "prove" that a supreme being exists.

    This will move science into the realm of philosophy, and IMO, muddle the heads of schoolchildren in Kansas for years to come.

  • by Psiolent ( 160884 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:00PM (#12451838)
    Jesus, Guns, and Bigotry. All staples of an ignorant society.

    Being a liberal, non-Christian Oklahoman I must agree, for the most part. However, we need to remember that even in "ignorant societies" there are many exceptions. Also, just because most people who are "ignorant" believe in Jesus, we shouldn't dismiss Jesus as a valid spiritual figure altogether (atheists and agnostics, just ignore this, because I'm not trying to convince you, only those who have spiritual inklings but have been put off of Christianity by the ridiculous fundamentalism and dogma that it has come to represent).

    Here's a book [] that will radically change your view of Jesus and his teachings, and will be a welcome relief for the many disillusioned Christians out there. Disclaimer: the author is my father.
  • by Council ( 514577 ) <[rmunroe] [at] []> on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:01PM (#12451856) Homepage
    Last night, I read the essay A Philosopher's Day in Court, by Michael Ruse, a philosophy professor and expert in evolution called by the ACLU's legal team to the 1981 challenge of the Arkansas law mandating equal time for creation science and evolution in classrooms. It's an absolutely thrilling read and apparently it was a wonderful debate; they called in all the experts and prepared a beautiful case, putting together all the stuff that's often not available in casual debate. They had experts on radiocarbon dating, biology, the philosophy of science . . . by the time the defendents got to Stephen Jay Gould, the final witness, they didn't even have the energy for half an hour of cross-examination. Gould was terribly disappointed.

    It's wonderful to read, a great story of rationality and science triumphing over ignorance and propaganda. The text doesn't seem to be available online, but you should be able to track down the essay. I found it in the collection Science and Creationism, edited by Ashley Montagu, which has a number of other essays -- including a particularly scathing denunciation and call to arms [] by Isaac Asimov. Great stuff.

    (Note: when googling for specific text, I just learned, sometimes the "omitted results" are precisely what you want; the Asimov article only showed up there.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:01PM (#12451857)
    to the argument that there is more to science than meets the eye. However, science already accommodates for this in terms of its process. It never claims to represent the ultimate truth, only the best working understanding of the observable phenomena around us.

    Yet, "God", as I would define it, is only a metaphorical/allegorical concept that refers to the "unknown". To that extent, there should be harmony between the two. Einstein and many other scientist are known to have referred to God in one shape or another in a way that was completely different from how it would be considered in a religious context.

    So, it's a matter of a brand "God" being pulled in different directions. Before Islam started its intellectual demise, it was well known for a tremendous balance between religion and science. It's basic tenet "there is no god but God" is a very open minded, philosophical concept that indicates that any time you have found "truth", it is not "The Truth". It pretty much says you can never arrive at the truth rather commit to seeking it, which is ironic given how many people see islam as a very fixed set of dogmas.

    However, the same applies to any tradition, culture, group expression where the group considers their way the One True Way. The same error (sin) can apply to scientists who become attached to their perspective of theory to the degree that they cannot accept new information that disproves it to an acceptable degree. Old religions were merely early scientists who used only myth and theory to describe the world as they had a lack of knowledge and understanding to augment this with a high degree of mastery of the material realm.
  • by enjo13 ( 444114 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:04PM (#12451921) Homepage
    I can answer with an andecote.

    During my undergraduate years I was in an honors program at a certain college in the middle of Arkansas. This honors program, by its very design, was intended to challenge the fundamental belief system of its students. It exposed students to a variety of new religious philosophies, explored the abortion debate, and took on a variety of other issues that most of the students had never been exposed to before.

    The results where.. shocking. About 80% of the incoming freshman in my class had some attachment to religion (more often than not 'fundamentalist' in nature). I remember my first week there we tore into the evolution debate. I had spent the first 18 years of my life assuming that everyone had simply moved past creationism, and to my shock a large group of honors students where arguing for the 'science' of creationism. I came to realize just how blind I had been to the problem.

    Over the next two years the fundamentalists went in one two directions. Some simply refused to accept what they heard, and went into a sort of isolationist denial. For the most part these kids didn't finish the program.

    For the rest (most?) the classes challenged their belief system. They began to realize that the reality of the world they live in was far different from the one their preacher had laid out for them. While very few turned on their religion completely, they did begin to abandon the literal bible ideas that they had began with. Most became some sort of 'liberal' christians.

    The most interesting part was the backlash from the parents of these newly enlightened students. As the change really took effect the parents literally paraded in and yelled and screamed at the programs director. For these people, simply exposing new ideas to their kids (and thus challenging their belief systems) was more or less the same as turning their kids into satanists.

    I finally came to realize that these parents FEARED knowledge. Religion, to them, is a form of security. Having a convienent belief system that takes all of the complexity out of the world is so comforting and so comfortable that operating outside of that scares the living hell out of them. When you have something like that, you become almost irrational in defending it. That means that secular ideas must be avoided at all costs.. because it is those IDEAS that break down their religous beliefs. That's why there are so many Christian book stores, music stores, craft stores, restuarants, and everything else. These people NEED to be immersed in a mono-culture because without it they may find out that life isn't as convienently explained as they NEED to beleive it is.

    Ignorance is truly bliss.
  • belief != science (Score:2, Interesting)

    by notshannon ( 704145 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:05PM (#12451928)
    Belief in evolution is not science.
    Belief in intelligent design is not science.

    Science is a process for organizing
    observations into statements about
    the real world which have predictive

    So I don't believe in evolution, except
    in so far as it is a framework for
    interpreting observations and making
    accurate predictions about more
    observations. That makes evolution a
    useful hypothesis -- which in the press
    is often rendered as "fact".

    Intelligent design does not make predictions,
    and the theory has a gaping hole (the prime
    intelligence) which is a Deus ex Machina (!)
    to avoid being shown false.

    If we teach the scientific method effectively,
    then the urgency to inculcate the dogma of
    evolution diminishes.

  • Re:You know... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bucko ( 15043 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:07PM (#12451979)
    "Well, some might say that the Bible tells what God did, and science explains how he did it."

    Can't agree with you more! I've got two degrees in astronomy, I'm a 'relapsed' Catholic, and I wish I had a buck for every time I've been asked "How can you believe when you know science says there is no god?"

    Yeah, yeah yeah. I know where the questions are supposed to lead, quetions from both sides of this issue. But why is it that they never really contradict each other?

    Newton told us that a ball dropped in a (fictional and impossible, BTW) frictionless environment falls in a constant gravitational field in such a way that it follows an inverse square law. Great. We can measure where it will be after we throw it. Works for the moon and for cannon balls too. Then Einstein came along and said "but that doesn't explain why light bends around a star. Think of it as space warping." I just don't see how either is a 'final' answer about anything, since they attempt to answer a very limited question about where something with mass or without mass will be at any given time. Nothing about God there at all. That question isn't addressed.

    But look at the beauty of a distant spiral galaxy. Who ordered that? Who ordered the galaxy, and the beauty, for that matter? Scientists shouldn't even presume that they are capable of understanding that question if they are going to approach it quantitatively, the way they do physics.

    (Before someone sputters "but the Bible says 6000 years! 6000 years!" my answer to that is, whose calendar are you using? God's or Man's?)

    The fight between science and religion seems to me to be an ego driven argument between very fallable and limited human beings.

    And one more thing - for those who just labeled me a radical on one side of this issue, you may want to note that I carefully chose my phrasing to antagonize both. For the sake of arguement, try assuming I'm agreeing with *you* and see if it doesn't fit.

    Dave, great post.
  • by adrenaline_junky ( 243428 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:11PM (#12452045)
    An amazing book on this subject is "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins. I read it because Douglas Adams recommended it in some of his writings.

    The subtitle of the book is "Why the evidence of evolution reveals a universe without design". It explains in great detail and clarity how in the long run natural selection allows only the mutations that are beneficial to continue to exist, leading to lifeforms that might *APPEAR* to have been designed, even though they were not.

    One of the cases he looks at is the eye, with all of its complexity. Someone naively looking at it might easily assume that it is a clear example of something that must have been designed by a creator in advance. Dawkins shows how, over millions of years, tiny incremental advances could allow the eye to develop without any creator.

    The only things required are 1) that whatever mutation that started as the eye, as simple as it may have been (perhaps a cell with the ability to detect light, for which brain cells have been shown to have the potential), gave at least a slight competitive advantage to the lifeform and 2) each additional mutation that took place over millions of years gave some slight advantage to the lifeform. Over a long time, in an environment with light, development of the eye becomes almost assured.

    Complex biological systems work not because someone designed them to work, but because any deviation that does not work DIES. This naturally and inevitably leads to greater and greater complexity.
  • I hate this trend (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bananahead ( 829691 ) * on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:11PM (#12452056) Journal
    These are nothing more than religious fanatics trying to revise history to suit their needs. To do so, they must discredit science that disproves their religious position that we all 'just appeared' one day. It sickens me that they can't just believe what they believe without having to legislate it down other's throats.

    I say the play 'Late Nite Cathecism' the other night, which is a one actor play starring a real nun. Mixed in with the comedy (excellent show by the way, and I am agnostic) were tidbits of truth. She got onto the subject of Cain and Abel, the original Bush twins of early history. Her question was 'who did they marry?'. WHat this lead to was a statement that the Catholic CHurch official position on Adam and Eve is that it is a parable, not literal, and represents the beginning of human life. If the Church can move off of a literal stance, why can't Kansas?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:12PM (#12452066)
    The same infinitely recursvie loops exist in science. What was before the big bang and what got it going? No one can prove science or religion; in effect, they are both faith. Nothing is wrong with science as far as the finding out of things. It's when the theories begin that you must believe in something that can't be proven. With religion, we have eyewitness accounts of what people saw and heard, which is no different than scientific observations. Christians choose to believe these eyewitness accounts describe our God, just as evolutionists choose to believe evolution explain the fossil record, etc.

    As a proof of what I mean by the faith of evolution: why is everyone on Slashdot so angry at Christians? Could they have a religious zeal for their point of view? I certainly have no anger toward you.
  • by RichardX ( 457979 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:15PM (#12452131) Homepage
    Science will never present us with a peer-reviewed study proving once and for all that you should be good to your fellow man

    Actually, I really don't see any reason why not.
    It's a simple enough experiment. Get three sufficiently large groups of people all equal in as many regards as possible.
    Group 1 are all shitty to each other for a year.
    Group 2 just behave like they do normally.
    Group 3 are all nice to each other.

    At the end of the year, see which group has been most productive, has the highest standards of living, has the happiest people, or whatever other yardstick you choose to measure by.

    I realise your point wasn't this specifically, and more that there are things that science can't answer for, but if you think carefully you might be surprised at how little actually cannot be answered by science (mostly philosophical issues, IMO)
  • Re:You know... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vortigern00 ( 443602 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:17PM (#12452169) Journal
    Great point. In fact, I, as a scientist, atheist and wholehearted believer in evolution, realized some years ago that I myself had never, in fact, read Origin of Species.

    When I finally read the book, I was hugely surprised by its contents. It was certainly not what I expected, and I would invite anyone, creationist, evolutionist, and anyone in between, to read the book to make sure we are all arguing about the same thing.
  • The Future... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:23PM (#12452282) Journal
    must be wrested away from Bible Thumping retards. If they win, we're all fucked.

    Having a religion or some notion of a spirit world is one thing. There are plenty of people who go to work every day, drive cars, pay taxes, and do all the other things people do: but they always have THE WEIRD VOICES IN THEIR HEADS.

    The voices to them are real, and they take medication to keep them at bay. Religion is much like that. You can love the voices in your head as much as you want, but when they tell you to enact legislation based on antiquated notions from people who lived millennia ago who also had voices in their head, and this legislation runs counter to the scientific method and its ancillary reasoning systems (such as Occam's Razor) then you need to tell the voices to fuck off.

    Civilisation is on the verge of complete collapse from over population and a running out of energy stocks. It is imperitive that clear headed rational peaceful secular thinking reign in this time of impending crisis and catastrophe. Otherwise, the religious zealots will run away with the ball and all our descendants will be living in caves - in a neolithic level of Hobbesian misery, or, in a crude medieval state of ignorance and oppression.

    The religious right is correct, this is a fight. What the secularists don't seem to get through their thick little heads is:

    a: this really is a fight, and if they don't fight back, they WILL LOSE, and this country is good as cooked.

    b: that it's a fight to the finish. It's a Civil War - but a Cold Civil War. However: the outcome will be just as crucial and important for the future of the species.

    The USA may only be 5% of the planet, but it has lots of nukes.

    If it looks like the right wing is going to completely triumph both culturally and militarily in he USA, I urge the people of the EU, Japan, South Korea, and China to tell your leaders to pull the plug. Sell their American Bonds, sell their dollars. Let the USA sink into the oblivion of its multi-trillion dollar debt. If they complain, tell them to ask Jesus for the money. It'll be tough, but you all can get along without us. The destruction of the USA won't be accomplished with guns or bombs. It willbe accomplished with electronic money transfers, bond sales, and the will to put down a bunch of ignorant greedy bible thumping suburbanshees before they do us all in with their wasteful ignorant ways.

    Is this flamebait?

    sort of - it depends on whether you view a demand that the people of reason, tolerance, and science stand up and save the world from the ignorant and stupid.

    And if you're a scientist who believes in God - fine. It's good to see you have caged the voices. That's progress.


  • Re:You know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:27PM (#12452365) Homepage Journal
    In the most absolute sense we do not even have to believe that we exist, forget believing that some god exists. Your point is taken but it does nothing for the discussion.
  • Re:You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EccentricAnomaly ( 451326 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:28PM (#12452388) Homepage
    seriously though, I think a lot of these people just don't understand what evolution really is. They instantly think "men came from monkeys" and thus see it as a threat to their faith, put their fingers in their ears, and start singing their hymn of choice.

    What really gets my goat is when creationists go after the Big Bang theory... The big bang theory was proposed by a Belgian Priest, George Lemaitre. He was an early expert on General Relativity who saw in the equations a way to find the moment of creation as described in Genesis.

    Before the Big Bang theory, most astrophysicists thought the universe had no beginning... it just always was. But Lemaitre was able to prove there was a beginning to all of existence. Which was a profound result that should have been embraced by the so-called creationists.

    AND, if you sit down and read Genesis it pretty closely matches the big bang theory... the universe starts out as pure light. What doesn't match Genesis is the current ideas on how planets form... Genesis says that the Earth formed first, and then the Sun, moon, and stars formed. ...So why don't the creationists go after all of the textbooks that say the opposite?? This is a much stronger contradiction with scripture than Evolution.
  • by jackspenn ( 682188 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:30PM (#12452410)
    There is no way for science to ever disprove God.

    I'm an athiest because I feel that God is not there, just as many believe in God becuase they feel him/her/it/them are there.

    Why do people jump on Christians and Jews because they apparently believe something that cannot be proven or disproven?

    Want to jump on people for disproven or illogical beliefs, jump on socialists and communists who's believe in an economic system that history has proven a failure time and time again.

    Libertarian Out.

    PS - I am not a troll, just because I don't think like your views.
  • by videodriverguy ( 602232 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:31PM (#12452438) Homepage
    That any competent designer would have done a better job of designing humans (and everything else). Let's face it, we're not exactly perfect. Easy to kill, prone to illness (HIV, for example), etc. etc.

    I guess those in favour of ID would say 'that's $deity$s way of testing us'. But would an 'intelligent designer' want to test the design?

    The great thing about evolution is that, since it has no intelligence, it can make mistakes (hopefully to be fixed later).
  • Re:You know... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:35PM (#12452523) Homepage Journal
    So what's the alternative? Either you argue for an eternal Creator that set everything in motion - or you argue for an eternal Universe that just happened.

    If you want to pose questions that don't make sense and can't be answered in any rational way, then yes that's what you would say. It's a meaningless question though - you may as well ask what comes after the end of time, or what lies beyond the bounds of the universe. Reducing down to the sort of paradox we're dealing with here: does the set of all sets that don't contain themselves contain itself?

    If I say "Unicorns don't exist" I could, if I want to get trapped in the language game, dig myself a hole: by naming unicorns I'm referring to a concept with a name and that concept must then exist - that contradicts the rest of my statement that the thing I names doesn't exist. Either I can wallow in the internal contradictions, or I can admit that language has quirks and move on.

    As best our understanding runs, time is not some independent quantity, it is part of spacetime, part of the universe. Time was created when the universe began. Asking what came before that is just a quirk of our language. How can anything come before the existence of time when the concept of "before" requires time to make sense?

    You're just getting trapped in a language game, and rather than suggesting you simply don't want to play you're trying to answer a question that makes no sense.

  • by Digital11 ( 152445 ) <> on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:36PM (#12452549) Homepage
    What you don't understand about the difference between what Buddha/Confuscius said and what Jesus said is this: They said it in a negative light, as in, "I don't want my neighbor to kill me, so I won't kill him. I don't want him to steal from me, so I won't steal from him." It was all about what they didn't want their neighbor to do to them. Jesus turned that around, and took it further saying, If you want your neighbor to be kind to you, be kind to him. If you want your neighbor to love you, love him. He used a positive perspective on it. While they are similar, it is a big difference.
  • by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:37PM (#12452562)
    And I've always wondered why the hell it took an all-powerful, perfect God six days to make one measely universe. And why did it tucker him out so much he had to nap for a whole day afterward? He was probably doing other things, though, like coming up with that fun "trick the humans into getting themselves tossed into eternal fire by putting dinosaur bones everywhere and then hiding" game.
  • David Attenborough (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thrakkerzog ( 7580 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:37PM (#12452569)

    I am a fan of Sir David Attenborough, whose documentaries for the BBC are simply fantastic. In my community, you can borrow most of them from the local library.

    The following is a section from wikipedia [], showing his rather sharp response to questions about creationism. It is quite possibly the best answer I have seen regarding the relationship between evolution & creationism.

    From Wikipedia:

    ... Attenborough's documentaries exposed millions to the diversity of life on Earth, including, of course, viewers who subscribe to the belief that all life was directly created by God, known as creationism. In his series, Attenborough rarely explicitly speaks about the mechanisms of evolution. Instead, he describes the advantages of each adaptation in high detail -- why flowers are shaped in a certain way, why birds and animals migrate, how mechanisms of mimicry can serve as protection or to attract insects and animals, and so forth.

    As such, his work has been cited by some creationists as exemplary in that it does not "shove evolution down the viewer's throat". Others have written Attenborough letters and asked him to explicitly refer to God as the creator of life. In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, he has responded publicly:

    "My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy'." [2] ( 544138.html?from=storyrhs [])

    He has explained that he feels the evidence all over the planet clearly shows evolution to be the best way to explain the diversity of life, and that "as far as I'm concerned, if there is a supreme being then He chose organic evolution as a way of bringing into existence the natural world."

  • by KUHurdler ( 584689 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:50PM (#12452817) Homepage
    "Can you name more than a handful of actual practicing scientists in biology or genetics"

    here is an entire organization of them: ientists.html []

    "Do you think teaching students a blatant lie that there is some conflict going on, is appropriate?"

    you mean like telling people the world is flat? Popular opinion does not a fact make.

    "Look, the ID advocates have already pretty much stopped trying to hawk their pseudo-scientific argument from incredulity directly."

    I know some that would disagree. And do we really have to start the name calling? Just because we're talking about the Kansas school system doesn't mean we have to act like we're in it.
  • by Captain Sarcastic ( 109765 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:52PM (#12452856)
    ... with "Intelligent Design" is that it begs the question.

    The concept of evolution has itself changed over time, but is based on observed phenomena. This is the keystone of the scientific method - observable and reproducible results. And be assured, there ARE observed instances of evolution. Anyone who doubts can ask doctors about anti-biotic resistant strep, or exterminators about insects that developed resistances to various pesticides.

    So, where are the observable phenomena for the "Intelligent Design" camp?

    In that case, how does it qualify as science?

    Tell you what, just to make sure that nobody can call me unsporting, I'll make a deal. The "Intelligent Design" crew can teach their ideas to our children in science class in school, but only if evolution is granted equal time in Sunday School.

    Doesn't that sound fair?
  • Re:More like Kansas (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:56PM (#12452925) Journal
    "seeking natural explanations for what we observe around us,"

    So creationism is out because a creator is not a "natural" explanation.

    continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena

    So creationsim is still out because it does not provide any testable hypotheses to experiment with.

    How is this a victory for the fundies?
  • by Your_Mom ( 94238 ) <> on Friday May 06, 2005 @12:59PM (#12452980) Homepage
    So, your idea of a 'Good God' is essentially living in a dictatorship?

    Here is the Christian view of things:

    God's cool. God created us. God tried to mollycoddle us in the Garden of Eden. What did we do? Told him to STFU and did our own thing. Needless to say, God was pissed. Kicked us out, let us live on our own. There were good people that went with God, but mostly bad people that were condemned. Eventually, God decided to let up, sends himself down in the form of a man (Jesus, who, in human form, was his Son.), and tells us that "Hey, we should be groovy to one another. I'm going to die, then live again, and wipe the slate clean, m'kay?". He was promptly told to STFU and nailed up to a cross. He died, resurrected, and went on up to Heaven. Here we are today.

    What it boils down to is God likes us, it wants us to succeed. At the same time, because we told him to STFU, he's going to let us figure everything out on our own. He helps us along (How come you have a great ability to comprehend computers?). But generally has a 'hands off' approach.

    *shrug* It's a lot to wrap your head around, I'll admit. Bbut how do you not know that there isn't some unseen force nudging us along in the correct direction?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:09PM (#12453174)
    ...the more science I learn, the more I see how that the can be nothing except "intelligent design" to how the universe is put together and how everything in it functions. Things such as the very tight mathematical tolerances that govern how fusion is sustained within a star and how heavier and heavier elements are subsequently generated, how the electron shells of atoms can interact to allow the formation of protein molecules, and how those protein molecules can interact to become both a programming language and a programmable machine, etc, that there is no way that all these things could exist because of some "accident". There is definitely a great scientific and engineering mind behind creation.
  • by tablebeast ( 827972 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:19PM (#12453349) Homepage
    You know, the religious right controls the whole of America right now. From the presidency which they terrorized everyone into supporting to the judicial bench which will soon be completely stocked with yes men for the Bush dynasty (George, Jr., Jeb, Neil, etc...) They will run this country into the ground while lining their own pockets. ALong the way the seem to want to devolve the whole of the country, what they will do is only destroy the whole of their supporters. Life is poretty easy on Earth right now so everyone gets all cushy and forgets how to survive. THe Earth will be a much more difficult place to live in the coming years and large amounts of the population will be dead and forgotten. I figure if these people want to be backwards in Kansas, or Dover PA, or wherever, then freaking let them! Let them get what they deserve, let them retard their children even more. While the rest of us who know how to think evolve ourselves, these people will devolve to a useless state. They most certainly won't survive the coming energy crunch when large amounts of the current population can no longer feed itself easily and will have to get very creative to survive. They will prove THROUGH their ignorance and eventual death the very definition of evolution! It will take time, but the human mind will either evolve or completely shut down. Let these retards shut their minds down. I for one will be the first to thank them actually. Thank you for refusing to evolve, thank you for making your lesser, ignorant race even less able to compete with us advanced and obviously far more evolved huiman species. Thank you for dying off and letting us usher in a new era of humanity devoid of your ignorance. Those of us with the capacity for boundless ideas and our genes will survive on a harsh, post oil-economy world. Your closemindedness will simply be a footnote of the survivors of how ludicrous and against any kind of god's plan 'intelligent design' would be in the first place. Jesse
  • Re:You know... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:26PM (#12453472)
    As an open agnostic, I have a simpler proof that the existence of God or the non-existence of God is a matter of faith. Theists and Atheists are both believers in a sense.

    1) Every definition of God that I've seen shows that he/she/it can do basic arithmetic, so God's understanding must include arithmetic

    2) By Godel's Incompleteness theorem, the God's existence *may* be unknowable without any way of knowing if it is unknowable.

    So until you have a proof of God's existence, you're relying on faith to be a Theist. Until you have a proof of God's nonexistence, you're relying on faith to be an Atheist. Until you have a proof that God's existence and nonexistence are unprovable, you're relying on faith if you're a fundamentalist agnostic (as opposed to an open agnostic who has no clue if God exists or not).

  • by jjd1_dement ( 526685 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:28PM (#12453507)
    I think you have come to the wrong conclusion that "these parents FEARED knowledge". I'll try to explain.

    Christianity (and many other religions) centers its philosophy around relationships - with God, each other, and self. Life is about getting to know your creator and his son and finding love and joy in relationships with others. Hence, christians like to be with other christians. We like to read books, listen to music, go to store and restaurants where we are likely to meet other christians who share the same philosophy of life. This is no different than comic book lovers congregating, etc.

    There is another group (that seems popular on slashdot) that thinks life is all about knowledge. That somehow each new fact we learn will improve our lives and therefore our happiness, etc. They also like to congregate with like-minded people and try to achieve a higher level of knowledge. It seems this course you were a part of shared this knowledge-centered philosophy.

    It seems natural to me that these parents wanted to continue their relationships with their children since this has very sound meaning in their life. If their children take on a philosophy where knowledge is so important that it supercedes their relationship with their parents, then I can understand the parents being upset. The fear is not of knowledge - the fear is of losing an important relationship.

    I find it curious that you seem to implicitly define knowledge as the most worthy pursuit in life. Having personally pursued this myself, I have found that relationships have proven to be much more enjoyable as a philosophy. I don't see knowledge as a bad thing - I just put relationships first.

    This is why when people ask me what I think about creationism vs. evolution, I prefer to turn the question back to them. I get to know something about them first (which is the most important goal). Whether or not I learn something is simply a bonus.

  • by Kiyooka ( 738862 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:37PM (#12453679)
    Please mod parent down. He speaks from ignorance.

    Buddha's philosophy does not see treating other people kindly "in a negative light". Buddha would not condone seeing this in a "negative" or a "positive" light. Buddhism would not condone doing kind deeds while thinking in terms of a "negative" or "positive" light. Let me explain: Buddhism is concerned with seeing things *as they are* and seeing how the mind creates our many "life's problems"--i.e. to see how humanity's problems are not metaphysical (some ancient curse from some supernatural being because of eating some ancient fruit, etc.) but personal (are you being greedy? impatient? ignorant? letting desire overcome you? etc.). With this comes the realization that we are, despite all our differences, the same. We were all born young and innocent, and have a core that remains so despite the experiences and struggles of later years. Compassion arises naturally then, for you see the same person in every stranger as well as in the mirror. Everyone is close to you like a family.

    Christianity was like this once. That is probably why they tried to preserve it by using family titles: "Father" John, "Sister" Mary, "Brother" Joe. Unfortunately, the introduction of a god into all of this puts one thing above everything else in status: an unknowable being. That is all right, because younger or "weaker" people need something to hold onto before they can start making realizations and spiritually maturing on their own. The trouble is, what was a tool along the way became a fixation. Now you don't do good because you FEEL compassion for all sentient beings, but because if you don't some powerful being will punish you and make you suffer eternally.

    Note: I am only 25, and this is merely what I've learned and realized so far. I'm still maturing and growing spiritually, and know there are literally millions of you /.ers out there more enlightened than me. I humbly invite your corrections.

    If you want to learn more, I would recommend "365 Tao" by Deng Ming-Dao. Don't worry, Taoism and Buddhism are, ultimately, the same thing: mere names and aspects for the same universal truth (barring cults and perversions... they pervade the world).

    I'd talk about Confucius too (he was greatly misunderstood to be a strict disciplinarian who emphasized conventions, which is too bad), but I'm late for my tutorial! This is especially bad, since I am the TA!
  • by Oswald ( 235719 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @01:50PM (#12453902)
    Look, as a good atheist, I frequently enjoy a hearty laugh at religion's many absurdities (when I'm not screaming in frustration at the way it has spawned war after war). So I would like to see science produce a well-documented theory of how the hell we all got here. Unfortunately, it hasn't yet. Evolutionary science just isn't ready for this fight. Read Fred Reed [] on the subject, and see if he doesn't make you say "yeah I always wondered about that" several times. It's pretty discouraging, actually.

    I believe in evolution, but I don't see how anyone can say they've been shown proof (or anything like it) that random mutation and natural selection are the key components.

  • by Rude-Boy ( 25678 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:07PM (#12454163)
    "i find it humorous that people so openly disregard anything from a person of faith. When in fact, evolution and those who belive it do so in faith."

    1. People only disregard the opinions of people of 'faith' when they and try and use that faith to debunk scientific theories.
    2. Evolution is proven. It's not faith.

    "Have you ever actually done a carbon dating? have you done the experiments that diffrent scientists have done?"

    Yes, and yes.

    "I highly doubt it. You believe on faith that the scientists and the scientific process are delivering you honest and real answers."

    No, it's not faith. You see, if you are so inclined, you can learn all about this stuff and prove it to yourself.

    "When at times many other explanations could explain experimental results, those are discarded becasue they may lead to ID; wich as we all know is scientific suicide."

    Name one time.

  • by Confessed Geek ( 514779 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:08PM (#12454181)
    Ahh.. the classic "God works in mysterious ways"

    No. If your god is perfectly good, perfectly knowing, and perfectly powerful, then it would want a perfect existance for you, would know how to do it while still preserving your free will, understanding of evil, etc, and would have the power to implement it. It did not. Its creations are flawed, its world is flawed - ergo IT is flawed.

    Read up on Gnosticism - At least in some versions the idea is that the demiurge is sick/insane broken. If you consider the possibility then alot of things make more sense.

    Read the old testament. The judeo-christian-muslim god is NOT a good being. It is a hateful, nasty, vengful, arrogent, little mountain god of the same pantheon as Baal, Istar ect. From day one it was suggesting genocides, running its people around in the desert for generations, sending snakes to bite them and all sorts of horrible thngs. If the patriarchs had been smart they would have dropped the ark and run.

    As far as the Jesus character went.. dude he was NOT the messiah! He told his people he was comming back like next WEEK! Its been 2000 years, he is dead, not in heaven, not comming back. Was he a good man? probably. Was he the son of god? No. Could an evil flawed divinity like we have already discussed produce a viable heir to set things right? No, it would be as flawed as its creator.

    If you MUST have some sort of religious crutch to prop your self up, please go become a buddhist, or hindu, or taoist, or wiccan for goodness sake. Your belief system will make a lot more sense and you will worship a deity that might have some shred of moral respecability to them. If you REALLY believe in the JHV god, then submit and become a muslim. Mohamed was the last guy to talk to JHV and they are at least sincere about it. (just don't have any daughters).

    Belive me I have wrapped my head around it. I learned it, studied it, wrote papers on it, mulled it over, discussed it, and discared it as a broken and morally repugnant philosphy.
  • by Phreakiture ( 547094 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:30PM (#12454524) Homepage

    Alas, I feel that the solution to this problem is to take matters into our own hands, taking a page from the book of the dominionists.

    There are three things parents can do individually.

    First, they should spend time with their children. Find out what is being taught in the school, teach them what the schools are leaving out, unteach what the schools have taught wrong, and prepare to go to bat for the kids when a dominionist teacher grades them an F for speaking the truth.

    Second, where possible (and I recognize that not everyone has time for this), home-school. This is kind of an extension to the first idea. It is also taking a page straight from the dominionist playbook.

    Third, (and I recognize that not everyone can afford this), send children to private schools that teach students the truth. I am the product of such an education. My parents sacrificed a great deal to put me through high school, but I got a first-rate education.

  • by ndunn ( 171784 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:35PM (#12454603)

    It drives me nuts when the science that brings us cars, cell-phones, computers, sewer systems, etc. is only called into question when it "conflicts" with some interpretation of the bible, a document that conflicts with itself.

    Also note that these are the same people who were against in-vitro fertilization until it proved useful and who are rallying against stem-cell research until we find a use for it.

    Of course, if they were being honest in questioning evolution and teaching other creation mythologies, then I would suggest Bhuddism, a variety of different Native American beliefs, Hindu beliefs, so on and so forth. But that's not what they're proposing. Apparently science only supports Jesus.

  • Re:You know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RichardX ( 457979 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @02:56PM (#12454893) Homepage
    Interesting... what do you think the probability that there is some creator is? I honestly don't know... and if you don't have any idea, then you have to assume that the probability is greater than 0. Which means there is a possibility of the existence of some creator

    I'd hope that much is obvious. Of course an extremely small chance is still a chance, but it's a chance so incredibly slim that it might as well be zero for the purposes of day to day life.

    I am not saying there is absolutely definitely 100% NOT a God, or a Santa or Martian Teapots - in fact, I thought I'd made it quite clear that it's impossible to ever disprove such a thing. I'm just saying that these things almost certainly do not exist.

    You ask me what I think the probability of their being a God is - I thought I already covered that earlier - Possible, but damn unlikely. I'd probably rate it somewhere below the chances of the sun not rising tomorrow. Now, I don't know the exact probability that the sun will or will not rise tomorrow. I don't need to know the exact figures - it's enough for me to know that it's a small enough chance I don't really need to stay awake worrying about it.

    Our (severely limited) level of understanding is based entirely what we have been able to figure out sitting at the particular point in space that we have existed for the entire span of the species. So, I think that any argument for or against the existence of a creator is barely worthy of the label of hypothesis - an educated guess - because our level of understanding of the universe in which we believe that we exist is EXTREMELY NARROW.

    What you're talking about here is a God of the Gaps. Nothing we know so far has given us any evidence to suggest that there is a God, so you say "Ah! But what about all the stuff we don't know! maybe there's proof of God in there!" - well, maybe there is, maybe there isn't.
    Maybe there's proof of martian teapots and whatnot too. Maybe there's proof of anything you care to dream up - we'll find out when we get there. Until then, we can only work with what evidence we have acquired so far, and none of that points to there being a God.
    The argument "We don't understand so it must be God's doing" is what lead to people believing that natural disasters were signs of God's wrath
  • by circusboy ( 580130 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @03:06PM (#12455060)
    Is the earth flat?

    Depends on your perspective, If I grew up in the middle of nebraska I would be hard pressed to say otherwise. (I use nebraska rather than kansas, because I've been there, I don't want to make statements about things about which I am completely uninformed.)

    As far as my wish for a small tornado, it would only have to hit one building... I have nothing against the state of Kansas as a whole, or as a land mass, just that this would be an expedient way to temporarily end the argument, and cause a whole new one in the process.

    (i.e. was the tornado a sign from above, or just a natural occurance of nature...(hey, redundancy!))

    long way of saying "it was a joke"

    And true, at one point, people thought the earth was flat, then we learned more. then it was round, but still the center of the universe. then we learned more. (though it was recently pointed out to me that given the nature of being in an expanding universe, every point is the point of origin. everything is expanding away from you.) then we were part of a solar system, then we were a part of a galaxy, then part of a universe.

    the nice thing about science, is that it tends not to regress.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nothing Special ( 700074 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @03:30PM (#12455470)
    Ah. Good point. Here's food for thought. Say we developed a new bacterial life form to terraform a planet. Then we destroyed ourselves, but hundreds of millions of years later the bacteria evolved to a level of intellegence.

    Would the correct reason for the beginning of life on the planet be considered "natural" or super-natural"?

    Ah, but would the process that allowed them to exceed their designed purpose (terraforming) and acquire sentience be evolution? because, if we didn't plan on them becoming more than little terraformers it can't be ID. It goes back to the most sacred of all evolutionary statments, "There was variation in the population." by chance, a trait changes. does the trait increase survivability? If Yes, then reinforce trait through successive generations. If no, then the trait dies out. For your terraformers to become intelligent doesn't mean we intended it.

    this only reinforces my belief that ID should not be taught along side evolution. they are two different things. look, even if we were designed to be humans, it seems that there was a long and craggy road up from primate to proto-human to human, that the fossil record (or, hard evidence) supports. We became what we are from something else, and that process is called evolution. To believe that god, spacemen or magic put us here requires faith...because they left no facts...and faith is not science.

  • by rjordan ( 640052 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @03:46PM (#12455744)
    Time begins with the universe. There is no before. There is therefore no beginning. No eternity. No infinity. There is just what is, what has been and what will be. No beginning and no end because time doesn't need an end either. I know this seems confusing and threatening to some people, and it takes quite a lot of fundamental learning before you can understand why that is the case. But it is the case. And to gratuitously quote Wittgenstein, the world is all that is the case.
  • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by richieb ( 3277 ) <[richieb] [at] []> on Friday May 06, 2005 @04:21PM (#12456274) Homepage Journal
    The real problem is people refuse to believe/understand evolution for whatever reason. They come up with supposed proofs for flaws in evolution that really don't prove anything. It's almost like trying to disprove 1 + 1 = 2. Evolution is so basic, so fundamental that you could never really disprove the concept of evolution.

    I agree with you 100%. The idea of natural selection is so simple, yet very powerful. There is even a book on this by Dennet "Darwin's Dangerous Idea".

  • KU, you are exactly the reason why evolution should not be swept under the rug in favor of a more religion-friendly scientific agenda. You seem like an incredibly well-educated logically thinking human-being whose only real failing (from the progressive perspective) is lack of knowledge on evolution. If the southern-schools are filled with more of this example of a person, the liberal agenda is easily implemented with exposure to raw facts.

    Evolution is like a house of cards, just like all science. From the beginning of the theory to present, each new fossil record and ingenious analysis thereof has added another card to the house. If someone were to find a ill-fitting card and put it on the house and caused it to collapse, it would join the ranks of the many other discarded scientific theories. If the truth is what you seek, find that card, don't attack the scientific method of discovery in general!
  • by Total_Wimp ( 564548 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @04:40PM (#12456537)
    Wish I had mod points.

    One of the things I hate about a lot of sci-fi is that so many writers of the genre misunderstand the role of logic in science.

    Spock was supposed to be this super scientist, but he really wasn't. Though he was the ship's "science officer" you almost never saw him testing or experimenting. Instead, you heard him pull out his catch phrase "it's the most logical explanation," to solve just about everything.

    Sam Malone from Cheers was billed as a non-scientist, but you always saw him experimenting with new lines to pick up women. He constantly re-used lines that evidence showed actually worked.

    Spock was smart, but not a scientist at all. Sam wasn't too bright and didn't realize he was using science, but he easily beats Spock in his intuitive understanding of scientific principles.

    Logic can be very powerful and it's an extremely important part of science, but without the testing and experimenting it can be very conterproductive. Real scientists propose many brilliant, logical ideas every year that testing proves to be flat out wrong.

    If misguided lawmakers actually manage to confuse logic and science in our law books, it will be a sad day indead for our country.

  • by John Carmack ( 101025 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @04:57PM (#12456790)
    I just read that book recently, and while I enjoyed most of it, I found the chapter on the theories about the emergence of DNA extremely "hand wavey". The clay mineral culture idea was only presented as one possibility, but it didn't sound very convincing. If anyone has pointers to more compelling theories, I would be interested in reading them.

    I always hated biology / life science in school because most of it was name memorization, but at the molecular biology level, it all starts looking digital...

    John Carmack
  • by DaoudaW ( 533025 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @05:08PM (#12456931)
    Evolution is also falsifiable if you cannot show how a biological structure could develop through small, incremental, accidental changes to the genome.

    False. Falsification is a positive process. Simply not knowing all the details doesn't falsify anything. The creationists like to posit a fossil that has not been found and then claim that it falsifies evolution. That doesn't prove anything other than the fact that we haven't found it yet and there will always be gaps in the fossil record.

    Regarding Gould: I am a Christian evangelical. Gould was one of my favorite authors. Yes, he professed atheism but he was far from a rabid, media-whore blowhards with suspect ulterior motives. While he could be scathing in criticizing bad-science from whatever quarter, I never felt that he attacked my religious beliefs.
  • by guidryp ( 702488 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @06:59PM (#12458184)
    I thought I was safe from most of this stuff up here: s/1115386370756_110795570/?hub=TopStories []

    Ont. rubella outbreak described as 'God's will'

    The outbreak started at the town's Rehoboth Christian School. Many students there belong to a religious denomination that doesn't endorse or objects to vaccinations.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2005 @08:58PM (#12459010)
    So basically this kangaroo court in Kansas is taxpayer funded public relations for the ID movement.

    Having failed to come up with a testable theory of design, and convincing their scientific peers of the validity of their position, they are resorting to lobbying school boards (who are generally not very scientifically literate).

    And now I find out [] that one of the guys testifying tomorrow (Mustafa Akyol) is a member of some crackpot Turkish organisation that has been involved in harassing and threatening Turkish scientists. And one of the pro-ID people (William Harris) thinks that is "great".

  • Re:*Sigh* (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Friday May 06, 2005 @09:40PM (#12459275) Homepage
    Don't ask me why that is, but it seems to be the way of things.

    Isolated rural areas then to be monocultures. A single religion and a single church and little contact with people from the rest of the country, much less with foriegners. Anyone who is gay or atheist or otherwise out of the ordinary will most likely conceal that fact.

    I happen to live in a "blue" area. There are a dozen distinctly different churches and temples within about 3 miles. Not only local community filled with americans decended from all over the globe, I have met a substantial number of foriengers and been to over half a dozen different countries.

    I have had, sitting in my livingroom at the same time, people of at least 4 religious persuasions plus several sub-varients, white, black, puerto rican, indian, asian, hispanic, openly gay, interracial couples, and more. Just an ordinary social gathering for me and my friends, and my livingroom had about as much diversity as some entire counties.

    I'd say the "red" issue is a combination of lack of experience with people living different lives without stepping on each other's toes, an implicit idea that the local monoculture is just "the way things are" and the assumption that that's how it is elsewhere, not realizing how different things are in other churches of the same religion, and more than a touch of just plain xenophobia.

    But heay, what do I know. I'm just one of those liberal elite / intellectual elite. I'm a snob. I'm intolerant... of intolerance. I'm a godless heathen who wants to let people live any way they please disintegrating the "moral fiber" (aka conformity) of society.

    I also strongly hold and defend traditional values. Above all, striving for Liberty and Equality for all. Defending our constitutional rights against government infringment, including the right to freedom of religion. A pluralistic society where we live and let live. One where the government does not tell us how to live, does not interfere in our personal lives.

    They love to talk of values. I do not believe using the government as a religious tool is a traditional american value. I do not believe discriminatory laws are a traditional american value. I do not believe that intolerance is a traditional american value. I do not believe that xenophobia is a traditional american value.


If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming