Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
The Courts Government Science News

Kansas Board of Ed. Adopts Intelligent Design 2136

kwietman writes "The Kansas State Board of Education voted 6-4 to allow science students in public schools to hear materials critical of evolution in biology classes. The new curriculum mentions that theories of life arising from similar building-block molecules through purely random processes can be challenged by recent findings in the fossil record and by molecular biology. Not all were happy, however. 'This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that,' said board member Janet Waugh. The new standards will be used in statewide standardized testing; the students are still expected to know 'basic evolutionary principles.' As part of the decision, the Board of Education also went so far as to redefine science itself, saying that it is 'no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Kansas Board of Ed. Adopts Intelligent Design

Comments Filter:
  • by jajawarrior ( 874784 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:36PM (#13984847)

    What would government possibly have to fear from Darwinism?

    It requires no specific moral standard, nor does it promote any sort of laws. If anything, it devalues life in that it is simply a random collecting of cosmic junk that came together in the right way. Government could pretty much do what they wanted without ever having to answer to any sort of higher standard.

  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:40PM (#13984877)
    It's very simple, really, and it has nothing to do with whether it's "right" or "wrong." ID is not science because it's not provable. Fundamentally, ID says "we can't don't know how this could have happened naturally, so it must have been designed." This is inherently unscientific. If you don't know how something works, all it means is that you don't know how it works! Scientists aren't allowed to make assumptions.

    Besides, even if they did have evidence for ID (as opposed to merely lack of evidence to the contrary, which is all they actually have), it still wouldn't be science, because it explicitly requires an influence that's not bound by natural laws. No experiment can be designed to test the "theory," because the point of it is that it's untestable.

    There might be an "Intelligent Designer," or there may not be. Who knows? But it doesn't matter anyway, because the issue is outside of science!
  • by ( 910009 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:41PM (#13984884) Homepage
    Several religions, including the Vatican, have said that ID has nothing to do with religion. According to them Genesis is a story, telling how the world was supposely made by a higher being, and that only idiots would take it literally. The Vatican actually supports evolution as being compatible with their religion.
  • by justanyone ( 308934 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:44PM (#13984915) Homepage Journal

    As a proud University of Kansas Jayhawk Alumni (1992 Bachelor of Science Computer Science) I have a perspective on this - Not all of Kansas is this conservative.

    There are several isolated centers of liberalism (most notably NOT the oxymoronically named town of Liberal, KS) which include Lawrence, some of Topeka, the Kansas City suburbs, and parts of Wichita. However, the vast majority of the state is very Red.

    This debate highlights several contrasts in Kansas culture. Many small towns resent the power that the bigger population centers hold over Kansas political power, and are more vehemently conservative because of it. They feel they must fight for their views to be heard.

    Another factor here is the ever-more-computer-enhanced jerrymandered redistricting that has been taking place nationwide (most eggregiously in Texas 3+ years ago). As a result, since politicians are more secure in their political bases, they feel free to pander to their most vocal (and most extreme) constituents, since there is no need to appeal to the center. This also selects for more extreme views.

    Lastly, this is a confusing trend in the light of the long Kansas tradition of progressive politics, starting wwwwwaaayy back with the Grange organization, which pushed for social-security-type platforms to support destitute farmers in the 1800's.

    Even more confusing is the last-10-years trend towards confusing conservative social policies (less freedom for the individual to ensure compliance with moral laws) with conservative fiscal and governmental policies (more individual freedoms and less overall government interference). The freedom-to-farm act (an attempt to liberalize the agriculture market and reduce dependence that farmers don't want on subsidies) contrasts strongly with strong corporate farm interests that advocate for greater involvement, which also contrasts with traditional Republican less-government-is-better.

    Also throw in there the strong German-American and now hispanic Catholic elements that, at the recently increasing behest of Rome, are catching on that Intelligent Design is contrary to scriptural meanings, that it confuses the spiritual (some would say 'religious mythical truths') and the scientific truths to the vast detriment of both.

    All in all, things are a bit confused and I suspect that when the voters start pushing for actual policies to solve problems (during the next recession, let's say). I just don't know when they'll figure it out.

  • by Comatose51 ( 687974 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:50PM (#13984971) Homepage
    I had an interesting conversation about this last night with a friend of mine. He had a high school biology teacher who is nationally recognized and was asked to testify before this board. He, however, decided to boycott it with many other scientists. Apparently the reason is that the two sides have ALREADY submitted very lengthy arguments on paper. In other words, the hearings was just for show. The board was more or less already decided. To go and testify would give the hearing an appearance of legitamcy, as though some sort of reason was actually applied and they come to a conclusion after a fair hearing. In truth, this is hardly the case.

    It is a shame who happened but the outcome was never really in doubt.

  • by MojoStan ( 776183 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:50PM (#13984973)
    What you can't do is then turn around and say "because we don't have a good explanation, God did it."

    There is nothing wrong with scientifically saying "your explanation is flawed," "that theory doesn't explain all phenomenon," or even "we don't know." But there is a problem, to quote Asimov, with saying that "Dragons must be pushing the moons."

    Wish I could mod you up. 2500 years ago, Hippocrates (think Hippocratic Oath) promoted a quasi-scientific approach to medicine at a time when superstition and prayer were the dominant treatments. From the first chapter of Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World:

    In a typical passage Hippocrates wrote: "Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things." Instead of acknowledging that in many areas we are ignorant, we have tended to say things like the Universe is permeated with the ineffable. A God of the Gaps is assigned responsibility for what we do not yet understand.
    "God of the Gaps." I always liked that description.
  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:51PM (#13984980)
    It corrupts religion by attempting to define it using the rules of science, which doesn't work because religion is outside of science by definition.
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:51PM (#13984985) Homepage Journal
    Just pointing out, you live in Utah. You go to a Utah college. And you think Kansas mixes religion and state?!?

    1) I do not "go" to a Utah college. I am a professor at the University of Utah whose history in computer science, genetics and bioscience have made significant contributions to science.

    2) You are assuming that because I live in Utah and "go" to a Utah college, I must therefore be a part of the moral majority here. You would be mistaken in that assumption and fairly ignorant to suppose it. However, I will tell you that the Mormon contributions to genetics through their recognition of genealogy and genetics has made many advancements in medicine and biology possible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:55PM (#13985020)
    They should make this a required reading:

    Why does God hate amputees? []
  • by Aeron65432 ( 805385 ) <> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:55PM (#13985024) Homepage
    I'd just like to correct your statement.

    Intelligent design is not creationism of 20 years ago. It's more like God + Evolution, stating that a Supreme Being could have helped stuff evolve the way it did.

    Intelligent design seems to contradict the idea of taking the creationist story literally. The idea that the world was created in 7 days is not Intelligent Design. Intelligent design believes that it is more a story, like you yourself mentioned, and could have happened over thousands of years through the process of evolution.

  • by douglips ( 513461 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:00PM (#13985069) Homepage Journal
    No scientific theory is provable. The only way to test a theory is to try to disprove it. If you fail, the theory is stronger.

    ID is not a scientific theory because it is not disprovable. I suspect this is why they had to change the definition of "science".
  • Re:2006 election (Score:5, Informative)

    by CompMD ( 522020 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:01PM (#13985079)
    Nah, four of the six wacko board members are up for reelection. They are from western Kansas, and that is pretty much what you get from that part of the state.

    The board will never go completely nutjob, there is the KBOE district that includes Topeka and Lawrence that will never turn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:09PM (#13985143)
    Damn it, there aren't two equal sides here. The flip side of evolution is not ID. "Teaching the contraversy" misses the point.

    Science is science. Evolution attempts to explain certain aspects of our existance within the framework of science by observing the natural world and attempting to understand it. Evolution should be taught as science, not only for its own sake, but as an example of the scientific process.

    ID and creationism attempt to explain life solely through religion and faith. ID is not scientific: it's a conclusion unsupported by observing the natural world. People have wrapped it up in scientific jargon and made it religion-neutral, but it still isn't science because you can't disprove it. That's why Kansas had to redefine science to allow it.
  • by kenaaker ( 774785 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:14PM (#13985181)
    When they tried this in Ohio last year, the whole idea crashed and burned because one of the state officials asked the Discovery Institute for a class syllabus for intelligent design. So, they would have some idea of what subjects would be covered.

    The Discovery Institute and the Ohio board were both shocked to discover that there was nothing to teach about Intelligent Design.

    And that dear friends is still the current state of affairs. That's why they're reduced to "teaching the controversy", which isn't science, it's politics.

  • Re:An Apology (Score:1, Informative)

    by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:15PM (#13985192)
    I'd like to add my name to this. I'm a Christian, but I think I'm going to have to change the term to "Jesus-follower" or something similar because the term "Christian" is rapidly coming to mean someone associated with lunacy like this.

    I too am profoundly sorry.

    Oh, by the way, no we don't all believe that the Bible is irrevocable fact.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frnknstn ( 663642 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:17PM (#13985217)
    end all, be all

    First, you should look up the meaning of the word 'theory'. There you will see that in the pure and natural sciences (but not in maths) a theory cannot be proven. No theory can therefore be the 'end all, be all'.

    Second, there are currently no scientific theories that explain the development of life as well as evolution does. It is the most widely accepted theory by a huge margin.

    Thirdly, the issue here is that they want to teach religion in a science class to further their ideological goals. Inteligent Design should not be given 'fair weight' in a scientific context, as it has nothing but the slimmest scientific backing.
  • THEORY (Score:2, Informative)

    by neuroking ( 204934 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:18PM (#13985227)
    The thing I hate most is the statement that evolution is just a 'theory'. So is gravity. It doesn't mean we fall up if we don't 'believe'.

    A law is fact has been established in isolation from all possible confounding variables, and which the limits of are included in the definition. A theory is a law that for one reason or another cannot be tested and confirmed in isolation. Every body with mass exerts a gravitational pull on every other, and vice versa. Hence, you cannot isolate two particles and determine their gravitational interaction, because the rest of the universe interferes. You can get damn close, though.

    Likewise, evolution is a theory simply because we cannot go back in time to observe and record the process as it happens. We can take note of changes that occur during our miniscule existence on this planet (recorded appropriately, of course), but we can never say 100% for sure that this is how we went from pond scum to, well, Kansas people excluded, intelligent beings, because we can't observe the process as it already happened.
  • by koko775 ( 617640 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:18PM (#13985228)
    It's official (if you know italian, the press release is on the Vatican web site): d []

    They basically support evolution and attack intelligent design.

    Now for some editorializing: Intelligent design is spawned from fundamentalist Protestants rebelling against logic and reason, and making a conscious decision not to think critically, deciding instead that there is science we cannot and will not understand no matter what. It is a rebellion against science, logical thought, and reality. You can be religious and have faith and still believe in the order of the universe, as ordained by god, and still be a good Christian. Darwinism doesn't mean you're a faithful atheist, or deny a metaphorical explanation of the Bible.
  • God of the Gaps (Score:3, Informative)

    by CausticPuppy ( 82139 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:27PM (#13985315) Homepage
    As we see more and understand more of how our world works, that means (logically) that god is less and less powerful. Right now (according to ID), god is directly responsible for "X" amount of the world around us, where "X" is everything we don't understand, or haven't observed directly. As we are constantly learning, that means that god is less and less responsible for the world around us, up until the point where we understand everything, and hence god (to quote Douglas Adams) disappears in a puff of logic.

    FYI, this is a common argument from the creationists, known as the God of the Gaps [].

  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:32PM (#13985361) Journal
    It's true! The transcript is online []
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:34PM (#13985379) Homepage
    The University of California at Berkeley won't accept for credit high school biology courses that teach intelligent design. If you want to get into the life sciences or medicine, get out of Kansas schools.
  • by vistic ( 556838 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:35PM (#13985383)
    I was raised Lutheran (ELCA, not Missouri Synod) and the thing I know now is that ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) is just about one of the most liberal protestant religions out there. My pastor told me before confirmation that I didn't have to get confirmed if I didn't want to... and that I should only do it if I REALLY believed in God. For confirmation classes we even went to a Jewish Synagogue and learned about how their religous sevices work. I think we also went to a big stone Catholic Church as well, and learned what all the things everywhere were used for. Of course this is Minnesota were most people are ELCA or Catholic anyway. I think in Kansas it may be more conservative Baptist.
  • by Rostin ( 691447 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:39PM (#13985428)
    While creationism (of the Answers in Genesis variety) depends on the bible as a source of information, ID in general does not. Even though many ID scientists and theorists are Christians, ID logically comes from ideas/observations like the anthropic principle, irreducible complexity, information theory, and so on. If ID were true, it would lead to a deistic sort of god, if it led to any god at all. Please see my sig.

    I assume you mean a "rather twisted and specific branch" of Christianity. However, there are ID supporters who aren't Christians, and those who are come from all different traditions. Michael Behe, for example, is a Roman Catholic and believes in a form of theistic evolution.
  • by KylePflug ( 898555 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:44PM (#13985477)
    Do yourself a favor and get yourself a good Hebrew concordance. The word in question is "yom" (&#1497;&#1493;&#1501;), which is most definately the word for day. It is also used occasionally as "a period of time defined by an associated term," exactly like our own word "day" -- if I say "the day of our suffering is upon us" or refer to the times after Christ as "the year of our Lord," I'm not referring to literal days or years.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "original translation of the Bible." We've got the thing in it's original language, and the copy of an "original translation" is only meaningful if (a) we didn't have reliable copies of the source language (and the means to translate it) and (b) if we didn't have multiple reliable sources in parallel with unprecedented degrees of mutual confirmation. Neither is true.

    The issue that the person who 'explained' this to you was trying to get at, or should have been trying to get at, is that the Bible is a piece of Hebrew literature -- much of it poetry. We have a pretty good understanding of Hebrew poetry, literature, and histories, and there are whole hermeneutic sciences devoted to the correct interpretation thereof. Most scholars worth their salt will concede that much of what appears in the Bible is figurative or at least hyperbolic. However, just because the word "&#1497;&#1493;&#1501;" is translated 'Day' does not mean some gross oversight has been committed. In general, Bible translators go to great lengths to leave everything intact -- including unclear passages. That's why there are so many footnotes and parens providing alternate translations in any Bible.

    "Day" is the correct translation. Whether or not we are to take it as a literal 24-hour day or as a metaphorical term is another issue, and a pretty petty theological one at that. I'm not aware of a single confession of faith on earth that requires one to affirm that the Earth was created in 168 hours, with 24 hours for lunch in there at the end.
  • by distantbody ( 852269 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:53PM (#13985547) Journal
    Taken from 25.htm []

    Robyn Williams: Professor Derek Denton from the University of Melbourne has just published something of a critique of intelligent design in The Age newspaper, suggesting that some parts of our bodies are so botched that it's an insult to poor old God to hold him responsible.

    Derek Denton: There is obvious evidence against such an idea operating in living creatures. The gut is supported by being enclosed in a big membrane called the peritoneum. The peritoneum is attached to the backbone. This is fine for a four footed animal, however, given an animal with an upright posture, for example us, the gut falls to the bottom of the abdominal cavity. The common outcome may be various types of hernia, prolapse of the uterus and vaginal wall and haemorrhoids.

    The big maxillary sinuses or cavities are behind the cheeks on either side of the face. They have the drainage hole in the top, which is not much of an idea in terms of using gravity to assist drainage of the fluid. Ear, nose and throat specialists sometimes have to knock a hole through the side of the nose near the bottom of the sinus to help drainage of puss. Apart from horses, which have a very small opening, most four-footed animals operating with head down rarely get sinus problems. It would seem that knowledge of gravity has not been a strong point in the repertoire of the intelligent designer.

    The digestive system of grass and herbage eating animals includes a large organ next to the secum, the vermiform appendix in which cellulose is digested. In the human it's rudimentary, it gets matter caught in it, becomes inflamed sometimes causing sever peritonitis and death. Why the intelligent designer put it in at all is conjectural, unless in fact it is an evolutionary remnant from an earlier beneficial function.

    One of the marvels of backboned animals is the eye. Indeed, Dr William Paley, a clergyman, whose writings were used to challenge Darwin considered it as the shining example of intelligent design. Paley likened the situation to that of finding a watch abandoned in an open field: it must have a maker who formed it for a purpose. The eye might be compared with a designed instrument such as a telescope, he concludes, 'that there is precisely the same proof that the eye was made for vision as there is that the telescope was made for assisting it'. That is the eye must have had a designer just as the telescope had.

    In considering the eye as the marvel, there are facts now known which were not known in Paley's time, about 1801. In our eye and of all other vertebrates the optic nerve carries over a million fibres each leading from a cell in the retina. It is part of a system receiving data from about 125 million photocells. Whereas it would seem a designer would point the photo cells towards the source of light with the wires leading back to the brain, it would be poor design to have the photo cells pointing away from the light with their nerve processes departing on the side nearest the light. This is what happens in all vertebrate eyes, the wires or nerve processes have to travel across the surface of the retina to a place where they all go through a hole, creating what is called the blind spot, to form the optic nerve. The design principle is really not very good. The extremely interesting fact is that with the octopus the wires from the photocells don't point to the light but do indeed go backwards. The octopus eye in this respect is a better-designed effort by the putative intelligent designer than the eye of mammals. How did this come about?

    Well, Ernst Mayr, the great Harvard biologist argued that photo receptors in some form evolved independently some 40 to 60 times in animals ranging from worms, molluscs to vertebrates. In the octopus eye it is formed by an infolding of the surface cells on the head, which become thickened to form eye components and it i
  • Re:Correction. (Score:0, Informative)

    by akgoatley ( 787022 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:54PM (#13985555) Journal
    "Europe has Austria, Australia has New Zealand, and the US has Kansas."
    Except that NZ is not a part of Australia, so that doesn't fit your other examples.
    Besides, we in NZ like to think of it as the other way around - after, all, ask any Australian to say "Quick Dick, skin this pig" and you'll see why.

    NZ actually isn't full of yokels. Just the South Island. :D

  • by Chyeburashka ( 122715 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:55PM (#13985570) Homepage
    Why does Science always have to move forward? What about old discarded theories, such as Phlogiston theory []. I propose that any Chemical Engineering course teach about phlogiston along with the "dephlogisticated air" theory, otherwise known as oxygen.

    Maybe Astronomy classes should give equal time to the Ptolemaic system []. And what about Tycho Brahe's system []? Copernicus Shopernicus, it's just a plot by telescope manufacterers to sell fancy schmancy equitorial mounts and clock drives.

    Math classes could spend a little time working on Squaring the circle [] and finding a counter example to the Four color theorem []. The students could even use crayons or finger paints.

    This could all make school so much fun! And the students so stupid. One second thought, maybe those are really bad ideas. They could grow up to be President of the United States [] .

  • Re:2006 election (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:56PM (#13985579)

    Yeah, just like George W. Bush had to "face the voters" after his abysmal first term and after starting the debacle in Iraq. The same man who considers Intelligent Design a theory as scientifically as valid as Evolution. Who has publically stated his support for teaching "the other side" (Intelligent Design).

    ...and who was raised by a father who said: []

    "Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?

    Bush: No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."

  • An Atheist's chuckle (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frobozz0 ( 247160 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:39AM (#13985904)

    I have to say, to an Atheist like myself, all religions pretty much sounds like a chorus of stupidity. At some point a person indocrinated many otherwise rational people with a crazy notion-- in every part of your life but ONE, you will use rational thought to critically think. Why? It's so unbelievably obvious that religion is a good way to be in tune with your fellow man, and a terrible way to describe the empirical world. Faith, in this context, is another word for "lazy."

    The difference between Atheists and religious fundamentalists is that it's a rare day you find an athiest pushing their point of view on another person. I don't care what you think. I *want* you to think what you feel is right, and I want you to leave me the F alone. Fundamentalists (not speaking of level headed religious people) insist on making everyone else believe what they believe. They will lie, steal, and cheat their way at any cost under the belief they are working for a great good. This country was founded on freedom of speech, religion (or lack of), and diversity. Live and let live. Sadly, this mentality was driven into them in one of two ways: as a small child or in a time of weakness. In both cases these are times in people's lives when they are vulnerable to suggestion. Sounds abhorrent to me.

    At it's core, Fundamentalists dig their heels in about Evolution because it challenges the single most important principal in their worlds-- humans are at the center. We're created in god's image, and "he" is the creator of us. (Yes not all religions, but let's go with this in the context of the Kansas situation.) So, if we're not all that special, where do fundamentalists find their purpose? Their entire worlds come crashing down. Nothing seems more "secular" to me than thinking you're the only unique speck of life in the universe. The sad twist is that people like myself, who believe in Science as a way to understand our conditions of existence, rarely think our place and the world around it is any less special. It's amazing! It's wonderful. We're wonderful. And we should damn well let our neighbor think what they want. That goes for anything shy of inflicting bodily harm on another. I don't think teaching the evolution of humans counts as bodily harm, do you? How about we keep Religion at home, where the Bible thumping Fundamentalists are supposed to be indoctrinating their children with creation myths.

    So now we sit and watch Kansas, a state my Aunt and Uncle live in, become the laughing stock of the developed WORLD. I just sit back and think on all the other recent evangelical religion based events that have been so similar, and backfired so badly. Now we can add one more to that endless list. This is the new Monkey trial, folks. It will take some time, but this won't last for long. Reason will prevail.

    And if you don't agree with me-- fine. I want you to think for yourself. Just keep Religion at home, please.

  • Re:This is stupid (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:46AM (#13985957) Journal
    evolution has deep scientific background, despite not being a proven fact.

    Evolution is not a proven fact in the same way that gravity is not a proven fact. The word "theory" throws people because the scientific definition is different than the plain English.

    In plain English, a "theory" is defined as "An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.". Pretty clearly not something you should put any undue trust into.

    In Science, a "theory" is "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.". Note the emphasis on being repeatedly tested, and that it can be used to make predictions of natural phenomena.

    In short, the Scientific definition of theory pretty closely matches the English definition for fact: "Knowledge or information based on real occurrences". Since a Scientific theory has been repeatedly tested, we can be pretty sure it's pretty factual.

    Or, put another way, a scientific theory can never be proven 100% right because we can never be absolutely sure that all aspects of the theory are correct. Isaac Newton cooked up the first mathematically supported theory of gravity [], a theory that works perfectly well on Earth and in simple circumstances. But, in space, with extreme velocities and accellerations, Newtonian gravity theory becomes ambiguous and inaccurate.

    It was Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity [] that refined the older Newtonian theory and filled in the missing pieces.

    If you ever have to deal with ID nuts, see if you can't get them to state that Evolution is "only a theory". Then, being very, very obvious and very quiet, hold out a pen, and let it drop on the table. Then, with the flattest, most rude, deadpan voice you can muster, say "Gravity is just a theory".

    Slowly pick it up, and drop the pen again. And again. Let them blab their way to silence. (it might take a while)

    Then, go click the lightswitch on and off again. Explain to them that electro-magnetism is more (gasp!) theory, not proven to be 100% true.

    Then, ask them why they trust science when they drive their car, and they trust science when they swallow an aspirin, and why they trust science when they fly, or watch television, or drink floridated water, and why they trust science when they drive their tractors, and why they trust science when they drink homogenized milk, and why they trust science when they don their clothes made with nylon, and why they trust science when they talk on the cordless or cellular phone, and why they trust science when they swallow a vitamin pill, and why they trust science when they mow their lawns, and why they trust science when they watch dishes with their dishwasher, and why they trust science to identify the history of events when solving a crime, and why they trust science to identify the rightful father of a baby using DNA testing.

    And then ask them why they don't trust science when to identify their other ancestry.

    (PS: definitions come from
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:46AM (#13985960)
    the guys at dover school board who voted to get this in place lost their jobs today as all 6 were voted out by the public..maybe there is hope after all for kansas too
  • Even better (Score:5, Informative)

    by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:12AM (#13986125)
    All 8 of the Dover school board's intelligent designers just had their asses handed to them by the voters today. []
  • Re:Fare Wait (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZackSchil ( 560462 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:15AM (#13986140)

    You forgot to mention the 4-day Time Cube!

    You are stupid and evil and you don't even know it because you're so stupid and evil. Equal time of the 4-day must be given to the Time Cube!
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:40AM (#13986273) Journal

    Evolution is testable, falsifiable, and even demonstrable.

    • Evolution makes some rather stringent predictions about the sorts of plants and animals we should expect to find, and the ones that we shouldn't. For just one example, we should expect to see animals that are systematically willing to die for a chance to mate, but not for something to eat or drink. And that is in fact what we do see. There are hundreds of such predictions, and they have all turned out to be correct,
    • Darwin himself pointed out several ways in which his theory could be disproved, and many others have been discovered since. Yet for all the ways it could be falsified, it has not been.
    • We can actually see evolution happening, in everything from domesticated animals to germs. Why do you think doctors worry about overuse of antibiotics?
  • by j1mmy ( 43634 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:47AM (#13986310) Journal
    Let the board members know about it: []
  • Faith (Score:2, Informative)

    by underground alliance ( 582424 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:48AM (#13986316)
    This is what I don't get... no matter what you believe about how humans got here and became this intelligent is that we started somehow. IMHO it is much easier to believe that an intelligent creator could create something as complex as humans. That's how we can explain something coming from nothing, because God has no beginning and no end.

    It is easier to believe in an all-powerful creator instead of the mathmatical improbabilities of evolution:
    (From []): "The odds of a single cell possessing non-harmful mutations of five specific (functionally related) genes is the product of their separate probabilities. (Morris, 63). In other words, the probability is 1 in 10^8 X 10^8 X 10^8 X 10^8 X 10^8, or 1 in 10^40. If one hundred trillion (10^14) bacteria were produced every second for five billion years (10^17 seconds), the resulting population (10^31) would be only 1/1,000,000,000 of what was needed!"
    So why would ID not be treated as valid science, when it is easier to understand and vastly more probable?
  • by CompMD ( 522020 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:55AM (#13986338)
    There is an awful lot of Kansas bashing going on here. While it is warranted in my opinion, I think you all should be aware of what Kansas has given to science and engineering.
    - Clyde Tombaugh, who grew up in Kansas, discovered Pluto. He actually got into some amusing arguments with the administration while he was in the Physics and Astronomy department at KU, but later went on to graduate from KU.
    - Helium was discovered in Kansas by Hamilton P. Cady and shown to be abundant, not a rare element found only in the sun as was earlier thought.
    - Two astronauts hail from Kansas. NASA maintains an office at KU and assists students researching in the aerospace field.
    - Your favorite text based web browser, lynx, was developed at KU. Michael Grobe, an organizer of the project, still works at the university.
    - Boeing, Bombardier/Learjet, Raytheon/Beechcraft, and Cessna all have made significant contributions to the aerospace industry through their accomplishments in Kansas. Learjet, Beechcraft, and Cessna are all originally Kansas companies.
    - Every American commercial passenger aircraft had some design or manufacturing work done in Kansas.
    - The world's fastest commercial airplane, the Cessna Citation X, is manufactured in Kansas.
    - Garmin, a world leader in GPS technology, is based in Olathe, Kansas, a Johnson County suburb of Kansas City.

    These are just a few items that I thought up off the top of my head. My background is in engineering physics, digital electronic systems, and aircraft design, so that is what I am most aware of. I live in the wonderful city of Lawrence, Kansas, and work for one of the world's foremost aircraft design companies. It makes me sad to see what is happening to this state. Before you condemn Kansas, remember what positive things it has given the world.
  • That is at best an incomplete understanding of evolutionary theory. It has come a long way since Darwin. Steven J Gould was a proponent of 'punctuated equilibrium': that species remain relatively static for long periods until something disturbs the equilibrium causing rapid speciation. An example would be a population which suddenly becomes isolated (disaster, changes in the location or depth of water, etc.), or a sudden pressure is put on one segment of the population (new predator, disease, etc.). This has become more or less mainstream evolution. An example would be a species spread over a large area with healthy genetic variability. In the species central habitat, a new deadly disease comes on the scene (carried by an insect which only does well in the central belt). Suddenly, the two outlying areas are isolated from each other and begin to drift genetically. Small anomalies in the genetic composition of the outliers means that those populations will be instantaneously different from each other. They can no longer interbreed to re-mix the drifting genes. A few individuals are resistant to the disease and can populate the central belt. The disease resistance comes at a cost; it is not uncommon for resistance to have negative side-effects. Resistant individuals cannot compete in the outlying (non-disease) areas, so their population drifts as well. Over a few generations, an eyblink in the fossil record, you end up with three new species. Now climate change comes along and wipes out the mosquito which had carried the disease. The disease resistant population dies out, out-competed by the outliers. The outliers come back into contact but cannot interbreed successfully anymore because of excessive drift (mules). Either they exist as separate populations in the same area (goats and sheep, sambar and samovar, etc. etc.) or they compete with each other and one wins (Neanderthal and moderns?). The point is, variations on evolutionary theory can explain a lot. The theory changes over time to match new data *as it should*. ID or creationism does not incorporate new data and does not deal with observable phenomena at all.
  • Re:Speciation? (Score:2, Informative)

    by shimavak ( 925762 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:11AM (#13986733)
    Sorry to reply to my own post, but what follows is a link to the full text of the article referred to in the parent. PDF WARNING.

    Hybrid speciation in experimental populations of yeast. []

    And also, the requisite CoralCache mirror: Bio343/papers/Greig.pdf []
  • New US Map (Score:2, Informative)

    by dummyname12 ( 886454 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:18AM (#13986768)
    Here's [] the new map of the US.
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:35AM (#13986861)
    Evolution from lower life forms indicates an increase of genetic material from the lower form to a higher.

    Which is not true. Amphibians have more DNA in all than we do, and rice (of all things) has more genes than we do. Surely you would agree that we are higher lifeforms.

    Sure, dogs are bred to weed out undesirable traits and to accentuate desirable ones, yet this is still a dog. In 100,000 years of breeding, I'm not going to get a dog that has the slightest bit more genetic material than the one I started with 10,000 years ago.

    10,000 years is a rather short timespan during which to perform your experiment. Breeding of dogs hasn't been around even that long, so the fact that dogs are genetically similar to their predecessors acounts for nothing.

    The basis for radiometric dating methods assumes three things: a constant rate of decay, an isolated system where neither the radioactive element nor the decay product is added nor removed, and third that the initial ratio of parent to decay product is known.

    The rate of decay of elements falls out of nuclear science. Nuclear science is not something ID folks want to take on --- nuclear scientists can bury you in equations in a way evolutionists cannot. The other two bits are assumptions, but good ones. Barring unforseen vectors, radioactive carbon simply does not add itself to the system. Certainly not in ways that cannot be checked for in contamination tests. Tthe assumption aboout knowing the initial ratio of parent to decay product is a good one too. The chemistry of life, as compared to its genetics, is something that is remarkably constant throughout the biosphere.

    For myself, I have many other pieces of evidence that provide me with a 'preponderance of the evidence' indicating the fallability of evolution.

    Better than these sad examples?

    I would hope, that creationism, pastafarianism, and others should welcome and stand on their own merit.

    And their merits are poor.

    Unless you're afraid of what you might find, that there actually is a God of universe.

    Yep, I see a whole lotta fear out there.

    The entertaining thing is that if there is a God, he's going to be far happier with the scientists for advancing the state of humanity than with religious-but-otherwise-unproductive. Yes, this a belief, like yours, but since it is a belief, there is no way for you to prove me wrong.
  • Re:Correction. (Score:3, Informative)

    by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:37AM (#13986868) Homepage
    All of that aside, we all need somebody to ridicule as yokels. It makes is feel better. Europe has Austria, Australia has New Zealand, and the US has Kansas.

    Uhh, Australia doesn't ridicule the New Zealanders as if they were yokels. We reserve that honour for Queensland.

    We call the New Zealanders sheep fuckers, especially after they beat us at Rugby.

  • by zardo ( 829127 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:42AM (#13986888)
    I think the attitude you have is the simplest way of discrediting it, while many other theories need to be disproven with an alternative, like if I were to show you proof that every species you know was created by a traveling race of intelligent beings, it would throw evolution right out the window. I can't simply prove that evolution doesn't happen, because I would have to test it for an infinite period of time to be sure.

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

  • by flyingace ( 162593 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:49AM (#13987139) Journal
    Here the intelligent folks ... who brought intelligent design to Kansas. []

    I wonder if writing to them would change their minds. I wouldn't count on it, however it might be worth a try.
  • by comcn ( 194756 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @05:55AM (#13987328) Journal
    > (I wish they would explain to me who Cain and Abel married)

    Their sisters. Adam and Eve had daughters too (Gen. 5:4), and incest was not illegal until the law introduced in Moses time. The genetic makeup would have been near perfect at that time, so close marriage would not have produced the same problems as it does today.

    See also this [] for more info.
  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:57AM (#13987511) Journal
    "evolution is solely responsible for the origin of life on Earth and there were no supernatural forces guiding the process along"

    This statement shows you do not know the Theory of Evolution. In fact, it joins two separate theories. Evolution is about diversity and how living things on Earth got to the point they are at now. It does not speak to the origin of life on Earth, only how it went from simpler organisms to more complex ones. Theories on the origin of life are more complex and generally fall into the realm of biochemistry and molecular biology.
  • by Mycroft_VIII ( 572950 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:03AM (#13987528) Journal
    Strange luck you have. I've lived in Missouri for 35+ years and the two or three people I've run into who didn't accept evolution were all highschool age kids (and that was while I was still in highschool).
        This includes about two years living in a town with approx 1 church per 80 people, though most of the time I've lived within an hour of St.louis city and much of it in St. Louis county.

  • by Eunuchswear ( 210685 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:04AM (#13987533) Journal

    I think that the reason that you'll find many engineers and scientists resisting a pure evolutionary program in schools is that evolution, in its current form, is as much a religion as anything based on the Bible.


    If you're going to be honest, you have to admit that there are huge gaps in evolution going all the way back to the Big Bang.

    You appear to be confused. Evolution is the (observed) change in species. Darwinian natural selection is the currently best theory to explain evolution. Neither of these has anything to do woth the big bang.

    Scientists still can't say how galaxies formed (the "smoothness" of the Big Bang prevents it)

    Huh? Like I said, cosmology. Nothing to do with evolution.

    nor have we yet found the bridge from ape to man

    Huh? What are you talking about? Man is an ape, no bridge is needed.

    Or maybe you think scientists are claiming that "man evolved from apes"? No, it is known that man and our ape cousins had a common ancestor.

    Somehow NASA scientists predict intelligent life on many planets when the odds say that we're unique, even in a universe that's some 11-15 billion light years in diameter.

    Huh? What "NASA scientists"? Enrico Fermi didn't work for NASA. How have you calculated the "odds"? What has this to do with Darwin?

    But in the meantime, it's intellectually dishonest to pretend that these discoveries are just around the corner and that we should be teaching evolution as fact.

    Well, evolution is a fact. Natural selection is a theory.

    Any scientist with his/her salt will tell you that you don't publish results until all the tests are done. Until you have incontrovertable proof of evolution from start to finish, you have to allow for alternate theories, even if you personally believe them to be unreliable.

    Huh? Darwin shouldn't have published "On the Origin of the Species" 'cos he didn't have "incontrovertable proof"? If you know anything about science you know that we can never have incontrovertable proof. If we could it wouldn't be science.

    There are no alternate (scientific) theories at the moment.

  • by mmurphy000 ( 556983 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:11AM (#13987554)
    He was referring to Dover, PA, not Kansas. A link to an article explaining the views of the winning candidates is [].
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:15AM (#13987564)
    Sorry, but you don't seem to understand what the word "evolution" means, since you start talking about cosmology and galactic formation shortly after introducing the subject of evolution. This is a straw man of creationists.

    As a physicist who has done research in astronomy and astrophysics, I can tell you beyond a reasonable doubt that what you are referring to as "evolution" is actually the grand total sum of scientific knowledge about the historical development of our universe. This comes from scientific work in diverse fields, with entirely separate bodies of evidence and so on.

    The only thing these different fields of knowledge have in common is that they happened in the past and we make inferences about them from present observation. Oh, and that they all happen to contradict a literalist interpretation of the Bible, and thus piss of the same yahoos who reject evolution on that basis, even if they wrap themselves in the cloth of "Intelligent Design".

    Furthermore, the demand for "incontrovertable proof of evolution from start to finish" is absurd and represents a complete lack of understanding of the scientific process. That's just not how science works. Theories are falsifiable, not exhaustively provable. And different theories are supported by more or less evidence. Which is why lumping together entirely disparate areas of knowledge under the heading of an intentionally inflammatory word ('evolution') which are backed by entirely different bodies of evidence is itself incredibly intellectually dishonest.
  • by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:51AM (#13987937) Homepage Journal
    The problem is, teachers that react badly to 'creationism' or the new oxymoron of 'intelligent design' get fired []
  • by Schroedinger ( 141945 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:17AM (#13988072) Homepage
    Being a neuroscientist myself, I'm a always a little ticked off that these ID advocates attribute such mysterious qualities to the concept of intelligence. At it's core, intelligence is the action of copying and blending directed by reinforcement learning and random circumstance.

    If you compare this to evolution you have copying through reproduction, blending through sex and symbiosis, natural selection as a form of reinforcement learning, and of course mutation to equate to circumstance. It's probably not a perfect analogy but it's still close. In fact, one way of lookinng at the brain is that it affords us the ability to carry out the proccess of evolution during our own lifetimes, rather than having to wait over generations.

    So anyway, to say that life is too complex for evolution to have produced it is in my book very much the same thing as saying life is too complex for intelligence to have produced it. The latter is falsifiable since intelligence has already created artificial forms of life, not to mention is currently toying around with creating new forms of biological life.

    If you don't buy my definition of intelligence, I'd be happy to debate it here.
  • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:48AM (#13988275) Homepage
    And you'd be wrong, too. Wicca, despite new-age flap to the contrary, does not and has not ever existed as a "real" religion in any reasonable sense. Modern "Wicca" is a sort of amalgamtion of made up and dimly understood Goddess worship beliefs.

    Celtic druidism, given the little we know about them (mainly through Roman histories and tiny amounts of archaelogical evidence) weren't nice folks at all - human sacrifice was the least of it.

  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:14AM (#13988467)
    I misremembered the name, but here it is: The Index of Creationist Claims []

    It's delightfully thorough.

  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwin@amir[ ]us ['an.' in gap]> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:58AM (#13988835) Homepage Journal
    Is there any reason to suppose that Intelligent Design is more or less likely than, say, The Flying Sphagehtti Monster [] or The Sneeze of the Great Green Arkleseizure []

    It is the nature of a theory to be "purely undeniable" in any context that involves it being provably true.

    Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity is _not_ provably true. We can make observations that suggest it is true, and we can posit experiments that could potentially prove it false.

    Quantum Mechanics is _not_ provably true. We can make observations that suggest it is true, and we can posit experiments that could potentially prove it false.

    Evolution is _not_ provably true. We can make observations that suggest it is true, and we can posit experiments that could potentially prove it false.

    Intelligent Design is _not_ provably true. We _cannot_ make observations that suggest it true. We _cannot_ posit experiments that could potentially prove it false.

    Feel free to teach Intelligent Design. In either literature, sociology, or history. It has _no_ place in Biology. I believe I'm quoting Sagan, but if you taken an infinite universe, the chance of an infinitesimally small event occuring _repeatedly_ is 100%.

    And theologically, I'm far more inclined to believe that the creator would have set the ball rolling towards evolution, rather than manufacturing the universe out of nothing in seven days several thousand years ago.

    The bible should not be taken literally. If you read the bible literally, Jesus answers all prayers for healing, and PI is equal to _exactly_ 3.

    Not that I'm even a Christian, but I don't understand why the concept of intelligent design is even necessary, except to advance a particular fundamentalist religious cause.

    Even the Vatican [] has thrown its weight behind evolution.

    Intelligent Design belongs with flat earth, earth as the center of the universe, and heaven as a literal place 800 miles up.

    Note that evolution may belong with the epicycle system; as in, a better theory may come up. But that _sure_ as hell won't be Intelligent Design.
  • by thegarbageman ( 618939 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:34AM (#13989127)
    What do the students in Kansas Schools think? I live in Kansas and I interact with a large number of high school kids (friends' kids, fixing computers, etc). Here is their position, as I see it: They are taught by their parents "You were made in God's image, and are not descended from monkeys." (yes, I know). Any other belief would be frowned upon by parents (akin to changing religions or announcing you're gay). Nor can they imagine how life, complex as it is, could arise by chance. I too, was raised to believe this and didn't change my mind until about the age of 10. In my opinion, this stems from our fear of death. All life arose by chance molecular collision? What about the soul? Even now, I *want* to believe there is a part of my being that will continue beyond my death. A difficult pill to swallow, no matter how obvious it is.
  • by member57 ( 680279 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:35AM (#13989129)
    Actually, you are ignorant of the history of the Bible. The Bible has remained virtually unchanged since it's creation of what we now call the Bible. It was created sometime around 375 AD. The Bible was created using texts from the Jewish Torah, and various writings from the Apostles. The originality of the Torah is strikingly accurate, excerpts from scrolls found in tombs dating 600-700 B.C. have been found to match word for word the text used today. The dead sea scrolls are one example, again, match word for word texts used today. The Dead Sea Scrolls conatined every book of the Old Testament with exception of the book of Ester. If you look at the Old Testament as a historical text, it matches the history timeline as discovered by archeology. Many individuals and events have been found accurate and true. Therefore dispelling the fiction status applied by you.
    The King James version most commonly used today is exact text as it was when written in 1611. The only difference is the apocryphal texts, used by Catholics mostly, were removed sometime after 1613.
    some wedsites that may help you in your ignorance.
    http:// []

    Actually if you look, evolution has changed more than the Bible, if changing text is your "Ginesberg" test for fiction, then Evolution is fiction by your very own test. The theory of evolution is by man, therefore flawed, and can never be proven law.
  • by wintermte ( 110894 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:42PM (#13989732)
    You can have all of the material critial of evolution you want in any biology class anywhere in the United States.

    But this is what we are not doing. We are teaching evolution, and all the other parts of science as fact. The way we teach science is no different than how we teach math, as fact. That is what the kids walk away with as well. K-12 science doesn't teach to look at things critically and question the theories, mostly because they present the science they are teaching as a fact. Just because something is believed the majority of the "experts" doesn't make it fact. If this where true noone on this list could argue anything against creationism, because the majority of the population of the US believe that God created everything (in some fashion or another).

    My opinion on this topic isn't well recieved here, and you will never see it on the main list because of this. So by more or less sensoring it, you are all just as responsible for propogating this false teaching of science as the education system is.

    Yes, the obserbable parts of science are generally fact. The remainder is only what is the commonly agreed upon hypothosys that tries to explain something that we have no other way to explain. This is why the more controversial theories have always had a difficult time getting any attention by the science community.

    Evolution is not a fact! It is what is the most commonly accepted explanation for how life started and turned into what it is today. For all we know something may turn up in the fossil record tommorow that will difinitively prove that evolution is impossible, and I'm willing to bet no matter how good the evidence most of the scientific community will take a very long time to stop believing in evolution.

    I say teaching philosophy and controversy as part of the science classes is essential for our kids to grow up to be critical thinkers and not take every theory as fact, just because everyone else says it is. Talk about peer pressure...

  • by Durandal64 ( 658649 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:49PM (#13989786)
    Evolutionists since Darwin have come up with all sorts of explanations for the origin of the world around us, involving all kinds of ideas. The only idea that has been and still is consistently rejected by many scientists studying origins, is the possiblity that the activity of a mind, a highly intelligent mind, was involved in how things came to be as they are.

    Nobody would propose that a complex man created device like a computer or airplane, or even a simple one like a pencil came into being without processes involving the human mind. Yet when it comes to the incredible complexity of the living world or the laws and parameters of physics, it supposedly all came into existence by *any* other means except the activity of a mind.
    That's because it's a stupid idea. The claim is that not only is there a designer, he's supposedly omniscient. This does not explain why the human body has so many glaring defects, such as using the same pipe for ingesting food and oxygen or an eye that receives images upside-down. Humans' characteristics can be explained via the process of natural selection and evolution, which allows for such quirks to be passed down through the generations. An intelligent designer should have fixed them in a new revision by now.

    Aside from that, "intelligent design" isn't testable. How the hell are people in a lab going to test the will of the intelligent designer? It's an ex post facto explanation. Anything that happened happened because that's what the intelligent designer wanted. It can't be used to predict the course of evolution, so it's dead weight on an already solid theory.

    Intelligent design is a simple product of human arrogance. We see ourselves as these majestic creatures of nature, the pinnacle of its achievements. So a bunch of dumb-ass religious people, realizing that creationism had been laughed out of the classroom long ago, decided to codify the Biblical notion of man's being "created in the image of God" into something they laughably pass off as a legitimate scientific theory. They think that this theory can co-exist with evolution. They are wrong. Their claims imply that humans were designed through evolution. The problem is that evolution is not a goal-driven process. There is no "ideal life form". There is only the life form which is best suited to survive the present environment. If an asteroid hit the Earth tomorrow and killed all the humans, cockroaches and bacteria would still be around. Wow, humans are sure hot shit.

    Humans are just another life form that can be wiped off the face of the planet in an instant. No one designed us. Just because we think we're awesome doesn't imply otherwise. When you see that planets are spherical, do you immediately jump to the conclusion that they must have been molded that way by the intelligent designer? No. They are spheres because they were put together by a symmetrical force: gravity. There are plenty of examples of order and symmetry in the universe which do not require ridiculous "intelligent designer"-esque explanations. Humans are no different.

    Get over yourself.
  • by loucura! ( 247834 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:23PM (#13991046)
    We have a word for an "untested theory"... we call them "hypotheses". Hypotheses don't get taught in school... because hypothetically, the tests could prove them false! Furthermore, ID doesn't even qualify as a "hypothesis", because its claims are not falsifiable!
  • by Weedlekin ( 836313 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:11PM (#13991522)
    What we actually have are some little statues of stylized women that date back a good few thousands of years, but nothing approaching hundreds of millennia. However, it is not known whether these were goddesses, fertility-related, or simply good luck symbols, so they are anything but "well understood".

    The oldest religious symbols in Europe are ritual-magic cave paintings dating back around 30,000 years. These invariably are based around animals, not human goddesses, and seem to have been a way of trying to ensure successful hunts.

    Even older than these is the religion of the Australian aborigines, which appears to go back 50,000 years or more, yet is still present in their oral tradition today. They do have gods and goddesses (plural), but the male ones seem to be the bosses. Again, animals are important, especially the Rainbow Serpent, who unlike many gods and goddesses (which vary with tribe and region) seems to be universal, and may be the oldest religious figure yet discovered.

    "And while the Druids performed sacrifice, it's well known that the only human sacrifices were those sentenced already to death by justice."

    Nothing of the sort is "well known", because druids didn't keep written records. What we actually know from well-preserved peat burials and the like is that human sacrifice seems to have been a relatively rare occurrence (i.e. not like similar practices by some Amerindian societies, where hundreds could die in a single ceremony), and those who were sacrificed seem to have been willing participants who (by the expressions on their faces) didn't suffer much. This has led to speculation that it was something done only in time of dire need, may have been considered as an honour by the victim, and that some sort of drugs were used (possibly in ritually-consumed food).

    NB: while Roman records are valuable in some ways because they are virtually the only written records we have, Romans did have a tendency to paint their enemies in the worst possible light, so their accounts of druidic awfulness need to be taken with a very large pinch of salt.
  • Re:Not even that... (Score:2, Informative)

    by dwake ( 574436 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:34AM (#13995812)
    There is nothing precluding natural selection from being compatible with 'Intelligent Design'. All Intelligent Design requires that at the ultimate end of the chain of events is set in motion by a higher power.

    That's a complete misunderstanding of the ID position. Intelligent Design proponents don't just claim that a higher power set the universe in motion (a claim that some mainstream scientists might agree with), they claim that it had to intervene constantly during the evolutionary process, citing supposed phenomena such as irreducible complexity [] to make their point. The whole motivation of the ID movement is to deny that natural selection is a sufficient mechanism to explain the evolution of species on earth.

  • by geomon ( 78680 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @04:20PM (#14001170) Homepage Journal

    Here are several examples of studies conducted by reputable institutions that found NO effect other than placebo regarding prayer. In fact, the double-blind study shows NO correlation. All of these articles are from "What's New", by Bob Park. The Duke study was published in Lancet. Columbia's lead in the study you cited is running as fast as he can from being associated with that turd.

    So much of the ID-inspired example study.

    You have any more ways to test ID? No?

    ID is NOT science.

    Prayers for the sick are probably the most widely practiced healing tradition in the world. An earlier study with the same lead author, Mitchell Krucoff, MD, at Duke University Medical Center, continues to be widely cited as scientific evidence for the power of prayer. In a much larger follow-up study, however, 748 patients who had common cardiac procedures were not helped by intercessory prayers of groups throughout the world, drawn from Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Buddhist denominations. You will not be surprised that the authors conclude that so-called "noetic" therapies, defined as therapies that don't involve the use of tangible drugs or devices, deserve further scientific scrutiny. Science assumes that all events result from natural causes (WN 3 Dec 04).

    We have been tracking the sordid story of the Columbia prayer study for three years (WN 05 Oct 01). It claimed that women for whom total strangers prayed were twice as likely to become pregnant from in-vitro fertilization as others; it was published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. At the time we were unaware of the background of the study, but knew it had to be wrong; the first assumption of science is that events result from natural causes. The lead author, Rugerio Lobo, who at the time was Chair of Obstetrics, now says he had no role in the study. The author who set up the study is doing five years for fraud in a separate case, and his partner hanged himself in jail. Another author left Columbia and isn't talking. The Journal has never acknowledged any responsibility, and after withdrawing the paper for "scrutiny," has put it back on the web. Nor has the Journal published letters critical of the study. Columbia has never acknowledged any responsibility. All of this has come out due to the persistence of Bruce Flamm, MD. The science community should flatly refuse all proposals or papers that invoke any supernatural explanation for physical phenomena.

    The shuttle is still on the ground, the Kansas City Royals are 28 games behind, cold fusion is a memory, missile defense isn't even being tested, and intercessory prayer has no effect according to researchers at Duke reporting in Lancet. Didn't we already know that (WN 3 Dec 04)? Prayer is just one of the things the Samueli Institute supports that don't work. The Institute is headed by Wayne Jonas, a genuine authority on the subject of things that don't work. Former head of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, Jonas authored Healing with Homeopathy (WN 2 Aug 96)

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay