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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.'"
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Kansas Board of Ed. Adopts Intelligent Design

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  • ID vs. Lamarckianism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) ( 868173 ) <> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:27PM (#13984765) Homepage
    The Soviet Union found itself similarly at odds with Darwinism; its alternative, however, was not intelligent design, but Lamarckianism []: the idea being that people could will themselves into the Soviet ideal contra naturam.

    There are implications, I believe, for our present American situation: parasitic governments, namely, have something to fear from Darwin; what exactly, remains to be seen.

  • 2006 election (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:30PM (#13984793)
    Just wait till 2006 when the Kansas State Board of Education will have to face the voters on this issue.
  • by jkauzlar ( 596349 ) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:32PM (#13984812) Homepage
    It's times like this I wish someone like Tom Cruise or someone of similar high-profile would step up and demand that Scientology be taught alongside 'intelligent design.' It would show how ridiculous this whole matter is. I should think his request would have to be granted, constitionally.

    "You don't know anything about the origins mankind! I *do*!"

    And the seven-fold path to wisdom needs to be placed next to the ten commandments on public property!

  • Big surprise. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by syberanarchy ( 683968 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:39PM (#13984872) Journal
    Awesome, just awesome. I saw one of these proponents speak on an episode of Penn and Teller: Bullshit!, and his logic (or lack thereof) was amazing. "Wouldn't it be great if the state let the parents sit down with their children and choose as a family what they're going to believe?" Uh, no, simply for the reason that SCIENCE IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. You can't ignore facts just because you don't like them. Of course, given that this is the same Middle America (tm) that still believes there is a PROVEN link between 9/11 and Iraq, and that we've found actual WMDS...
  • by dreadlocks ( 637491 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:39PM (#13984873)
    just wait, on one hand the lawsuits will start flying and hopefully this ID "theory" will get relegated to the crapper. (me with my optimism hat on)

    On the other hand it will go all the way to the supreme court, which with its new right wingers, will decline to hear challenges and so it will stay in practice

    but on the other, other hand (I've a third one), the catholics on the supreme court will follow recent vatican dogma stating that ID is not science (where's that link).. ah, here it is: [] and it'll be again relegated to the crapper, only to re-emerge as ....????

  • no joke (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conJunk ( 779958 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:49PM (#13984964)
    i've read else where that this is actually a serious concern... lets hope google can find a link quickly... this one looks okay []: the university of california is fighting a lawsuit because they refuse to certify as "meeting university entrance requirements" high school courses that teach ID
  • by SA3Steve ( 323565 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:56PM (#13985030)
    I can not understand why any intelligent parent would stay there and put their kids through school where they are actively teaching religion in place of a scientific theory. Anyone with half of a brain would move out of their and take their kids out of a school system like that...leaving Kansas with an incredibly stupid population in the end because of the exodus of high IQs...

    Will that happen? Probably not...but I guarantee that if I lived there with children, I would be pulling my kids out of the system and getting out of the state.
  • by RamsÚs Morales ( 13327 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:58PM (#13985058)
    When I was in school, a Jesuit-run catholic school, one father (priest) explained a group of science/religion-confused girls that the origin of man, and all species, was explained by Evolution, so they should pay attention to the biology prof. (which had a PhD in biology, by the way). He also explained to the girls that Genesis was only a metaphor, with deep theological implications for cristians, but it had nothing to do with the origin of man.

    Of course, for most protestant cristians (as in Kansas), catholics are devil-worshipers, and the pope is Satan himself. So telling this story was just waste of time.

    By the way, I'm atheist, and hold in high regard jesuit priests, for giving me an excellent scientific education, devoid of any supernatural ideas.
  • Re:Not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AndrossUT ( 721573 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:59PM (#13985062) Homepage Journal
    Well, Kansas is scientifically flatter than a pancake. e9/v9i3/kansas.html []
  • by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:03PM (#13985096) Homepage
    We need students and employees who are well prepared in the sciences and are capable of thinking independently
    As a Kansas resident, I have more than a passing interest in this subject. The funny thing about the controversy is that the people opposed to thinking independently are the ones who insist that a collection of ideas be taught as established fact, no longer subject to critical analysis. Nobody is demanding that schools teach that YHVH made Adam out of mud. They're saying that evidence continues to come in to refine theories. Kinda like when Einstein came up with some ideas that didn't exactly agree with what Newton said before.
  • by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:06PM (#13985117)
    Does Kansas really want to become like Utah? Let's be honest. Utah is not seen very highly by many Americans and by others. That may be very well due to the excessive role religion plays in every aspect of the state.

    I know a lot of people and I don't know anyone that thinks poorly of Utah because of its education system. Utah is the topic of a lot of jokes due to the high concentration of Mormons, but the jokes are never malicious.

    Also, even though I am not Mormon and don't agree with their beliefs, every single Mormon I've met in my life has been extremely intelligent. If they are products of the schools of Utah I wouldn't think twice about having my children go to school there.

  • Re:Not surprising (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:06PM (#13985122)
    Calm down now. There are a lot of good scientists that live and work in Kansas so don't pass out your critique to broadly. No doubt it's clear who runs the state educational system but as in most political battles, it's usually a tight race.

    I will be removing the KU Alumni license plate frames from my F150 tomorrow in a display of disgust and NO, the KU Alumni system will not get one red cent out of me ever. And for the record I am a liberal, atheist, KU produced scientist who now pays taxes in a different state and draws a decent check. I thank the taxpayers of Kansas for giving a non-resident a full tuition scholarship, a very competitive scientific education, and an opportunity for fantastic postdoctoral work. Too bad that when I'm finally in position to return the favor, a slim majority of voters decide to wreck the system that developed my success.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:16PM (#13985204)
    > The issue here is that they redefine science. Truly a sad day.

    Behe redefined science at the Dover trial, and had to admit under crossexamination that astrology meets his definition of science.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:17PM (#13985215)
    Universities noticed that they can't gaurentee that graduates are up to spec in English and math so they started giving tests. When I went to school they factord in your SAT scores and then gave you a short writing test and a math test. They weren't very hard to pass, but if you didn't you had to take remedial courses.

    If this ID thing spreads, you'll see the same for science. It'll be a simple test most likely, no acid titrations or anything, it'll just see if you have a basic science background, and if you understand what science is. If not, remedial science for you.
  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:19PM (#13985234) Homepage
    I've never heard of buttermilk biscuits described as "cookies". I think you're a little confused there. Must be all the limes.
  • by squidinkcalligraphy ( 558677 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:19PM (#13985235)
    In fact, further to this, many religious folk consider ID to be _incompatible_ with Creationism, and, indeed, blasphemous. Consider that an omnipotent being, could, at creation, set all of the constants and whatnot so as to set of the evolution process, which would eventually lead to what we have now. For intelligent design to hold true, He/She must have botched the figures at the start, requiring constant meddling and fudging to get the desired outcome.

    Not too many religious people like the idea of an imperfect Creator; that leads into all sorts of nasty areas.

    btw - I am an atheist, though see no particular problem with some God/Giant Squid/Super-Intelligent Shade of Blue setting off the Big Bang, since it doesn't really matter anyway.
  • by CupBeEmpty ( 720791 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:27PM (#13985312)
    As a molecular biologist I am curious what part of my science actually supports intelligent design?

    The problem is that intelligent design is NOT SCIENCE. Science is the logical analysis of observed data. Itelligent Design accepts that it is not possible to describe the emergence of species. At the point where you state that it is impossible to analyze things based on observable evidence you stop being science. If for no other reason that intelligent design is not science I think it should be left out of science classes.

    There is an enourmous difference between pointing out the holes in a theory and abandoning the scientific process. That is what they appear to be doing here.

    "Oh there are still things we don't know about evolution"

    "That means that science can't describe what we see."

    "I see... so lets abandon the scientific process because it hasn't really ever definitively described anything"

    "Exactly like the 'theory of gravitation' which we also can't prove."

    "Well lets still teach evolution but then teach 'crazy' along with it."

    "Sounds good to me."


  • A day of mourning (Score:2, Interesting)

    by macemoneta ( 154740 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:29PM (#13985329) Homepage
    We should celebrate this with a day of mourning, for the children whose future has been compromised by this decision. The effects, unless rapidly reversed, will be more devastating to these children than any natural disaster. This disaster was man-made, and the parents allowed it to happen. They could stop it. hey could pull they children from school. The teachers could strike. The ancillary service providers could refuse service. The adults in this situation could make a choice. If they sit by and allow this travesty to proceed, you can't blame those that enacted the policy. They become only the messengers.
  • Redefining Science (Score:2, Interesting)

    by iliketrash ( 624051 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:33PM (#13985367)

    As a precedent to the Kansas Board of Education redefining science, I recall, in my days as a graduate student at the University of Illinois, learning that the Illinois legislature (or was it the Indiana legislsture?) had once redefined pi to be exactly 3. (This must have been many decades before Intel tried a similar stunt with the Pentium divide malfunction.)

    Also, I recall a short-lived comic strip in the U of Illinois student newspaper which was based on the premise that the laws of nature are legislated and the laws of man are fixed. It was hilarious beyond description, but liberal arts students wrote letters of complaint to the editor because they didn't get the jokes and felt that the strip made fun of them, or something like that. I shit you not. An example of what the writer dealt with was the meaning of red shift in the world of his characters--it dealt not with Doppler effects on light from receding stars, but the tendency of democratic governments to move towards Communism.

    If anyone recalls this most excellent of comic strips I would love to hear their recollections. I believe it appeared for only a few weeks in the Daily Illini sometime between 1984 and 1989.

  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:46PM (#13985489) Journal
    Look at that last part again--the board rewrote the definition of science. That's astonishing--and by doing so, the board has admitted outright that "intelligent design" isn't science. If it were, they wouldn't have had to change the definition.
    It's like Sharp's corollary of rule #1 of spam []:

    Spammers attempt to re-define "spamming" as that which they do not do

    So, Kansas simply redefined "science" as what they do not do...

  • by hot soldering iron ( 800102 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:53PM (#13985552)
    I agree with your sentiments about the "flat-lands". We moved our family completely out of the state, and have no intentions of ever returning if we can help it. The entire psychological atmosphere of the state and local governments is harsh, "take-care-of-yourself-or-leave", elitist, and generally unkind. Mustn't forget closed-minded, er... I mean "religously fundamental". Naw, screw it. They were f*cking freaks building planes and raising cows. Half the population are convinced God loves only them and their way of life, and shows it by making them live in a state with a brutal environment. The other half are degreed professionals with six-figure incomes, and condescendingly tolerate everyone else because they are badly outnumbered. I have good memories of a few people that I met there (they were all from other states also), but we have NO good feelings toward the state as a whole. Period. I learned to think for myself by reading SF (I miss Robert Heinlein!)and learning technology. The schools in America aren't designed to "teach". They are designed to act as priso^H^H^H^H^H day-cares to keep kids out of the way of the adults. Note how severely they treat truancy, there's a reason for that!
  • I'll agree all ideas should be given fair weight. At issue is whether than means a particular idea gets "equal" weight, or "any" weight when dealt with "fairly".

    As for teaching evolution in biology class, it's like this: evolution can be shown to work using a series of experiments that are repeatable. By doing the experiments, you can see that various bits of (for example) the evolutionary hypothesis are or are not borne out by your results. This provides you, personally, with some level of confidence that when you interact with or upon Nature, within the limits of your experience you can anticipate consequences. This isn't a belief system, this is a school of hard knocks, like Bart Simpson finally realizing that no matter how many times he slams a door on his fingers, it's always going to hurt. Intelligent Design does not add understanding to this process.

    IMO, a belief system comes into play when considering what to do with the knowledge gained: ethics. A belief system comes into play when considering how to ponder the questions of why: faith. A problem with weaving faith into a primary or secondary science class such as Kansas proposes to do is that the aim seems to be to cut off the discovery of the workings of Nature before it runs up against someone's preconception of Nature's workings.

    Much as I consider that a PETA activist arises from a childhood of clean supermarkets and "Bambi", I feel the driver for creationism and ID in science class is a childhood envisioning the Lord wavying a wand over Creation in a 168 hour week. Much as I'd hope a (in this case) Christian believer's understanding of the Gospels as a whole would become more learned and sophisticated by adulthood, I'd hope their childhood conception of Genesis would mature as well. Frankly, the recipe for Creation ain't in the KJV, and for the majority of the Kansas School Board to in essence decide they've got the workings of the Lord all figured out (the magic wand) is child-like in the most literal sense.

  • by Dolly_Llama ( 267016 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:08AM (#13985655) Homepage
    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.

    It's great that religious precepts can lead to an increased interest in a scientific topic. Additionally, the LDS interest in geneology has had great effects for history and archivism in general.

    But let's be honest, they do it so they can find and baptize ancestors who weren't privileged enough to have heard 'the word'. It's a casual coincidence that allows the LDS to support science in this way. You can be damn sure that if some other field of study threatened either the faith or the church organization, they would come down as hard against it as any flat-young-earther in Kansas.
  • by rahultyagi ( 924414 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:27AM (#13985804) Homepage
    A little OT probably, but I'd recommend the book which contains the quote that you mentioned. "The Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan is everything that the Kansas Education Board members need to know. In fact, it is something that ANYONE who cares a bit about science, knowledge and argument needs to know.

    The problem with any theory is not that of natural versus supernatural. It is, in most cases, that of falsifiability. Any statement that is not falsifiable by its very nature does not give you ANY insight into anything in the world. Which means that regardless of whether it is the "truth" or not, it doesn't matter either way.
  • by rgoldste ( 213339 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:28AM (#13985812)
    I at first had a lot of sympathy for this argument, but over the years I've come to reconsider my position on the question: who should have authority to define what science is? "Scientists" might seem a logical answer, but virtually all scientists I've talked to (dozens of them) can't really explain the term means. At best, they talk about the scientific method, but a) that term is somewhat fuzzy, too, and b) science != scientific method.

    I majored in philosophy, so naturally I thought philosophy could tell me what science is. And it does. In hundreds of different ways. Probably the most famous definition is Karl Popper's, which roughly states that science is the set of assertions that is predictive and falsifiable, but hasn't been falsified despite strong attempts to do so. There are a couple problems with this theory, though, and the theory spawned a huge amount of controversial literature. To this day, philosophers debate what "science" is.

    Control of education is something that should squarely fall under the control of politicians and the political process. Public schools can compel students to study history, math, etc. despite the parents' wishes because the curriculums are determined via representative democracy. In other words, the parents collectively and indirectly choose what to teach their kids in public school.

    I'm not convinced that scientists should have control over our public schools' science curriculum any more than I'm convinced that priests should set the curriculum for (comparative) religion classes. Public education is so crucial to our society that it should be set by the people or their duly elected representatives, not some unelected technocracy. Sure, the technocracy can educate the representatives. In this case, though, the very uncertainty of the term in question makes an even stronger case for politicians, rather than technocrats, defining "science" for public schools.
  • There is an old quote from Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring, among others) from when she was visiting the ocean with her grandmother. The grandmother, exasperated with all of young Rachel's questions said:

    "You know, Rachel, God created all of this."

    "I know that Grandma. What I want to know is *how* God created it."

    The idea or belief of Intelligent Design does not excuse someone from trying to understand the design and our place in it. As you say, most ID supporters use faith as a cop-out to try to prevent people from asking questions. To somewhat paraphrase Kant, saying that God is good and what God commands is good is circular; it does not provide a foundation for moral thought or right-action. Belief in God does not free us from the need for either moral or scientific reasoning.
  • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:08AM (#13986401)
    Actually, 20 years ago, Creationism wasn't necessarily associated with Biblical literacy. There were always variants that looked the way ID does now. However, the "young earth creationists" hijacked the movement or became the dominant wing. That's one of the developments that lead to the invention of ID.

    Because the Supreme Court saw that the young-earth variant was clearly religion, and struck down the state laws requiring it be taught, the anti-evolution brigade came up with ID.

    If you read the wedge document [], written by the Discovery Institute, you see that their goals include:
    To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

    The evidence of evolution is so strong, that they are forced to admit it occurs, though they refer to a "micro-evolution". However, despite stating the precepts of ID in a way that would technically allow explanations like the Flying Spaghetti Monster as designer, the quote above proves that they have religios indoctrination as their true goal.

  • by NonAnonymousNonCowar ( 929692 ) <> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:10AM (#13986411)
    I have been reading these posts for about an hour now and am largely disppointed by the widespread misunderstanding that abound "in both camps".

    I am a creationist, and, I hope, a thinking man as well. Personally, I see too much left unexplained by evolution for this to be the complete answer. Does this just mean that science just hasn't had enough time to develop answers for everything? Perhaps.

    This topic seems to strike a nerve among many people, a topic that is as polarizing as any I've seen. Aside from the ever-useful and edifying ad hominem attacks towards Christians, evolutionists might be wise to investigate some of these scientifically sound claims that are being made by bona fide *smart people* of science. Personally, I'm not afraid to look evolution square in the eye, kick the tires, take it around the block once or twice, and still not buy into it because of evidence that I see that brings doubt to evolution.

    Things like:
    Evolution from lower life forms indicates an increase of genetic material from the lower form to a higher. 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.

    Initial assumptions used in radiometric dating. Radiometric dating methods compare a radioactive element to it's 'daugher' decay product. 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.

    For myself, I have many other pieces of evidence that provide me with a 'preponderance of the evidence' indicating the fallability of evolution. I am not writing to try to support ID, but I am writing, rather, to support the notion that thoughtful criticism of evolution is a good thing and should be supported. The same critical thought, I would hope, that creationism, pastafarianism, and others should welcome and stand on their own merit.

    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.
  • by m0rm3gil ( 567905 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:14AM (#13986435)
    The problem with your explanation is that ID discourages steps 1 and 2. As soon as you hit a gap you already have your answer. The designer did it. This means you don't have to test anything.

    There have been many questions brought up along the same lines where science didn't have an answer (e.g. for years nobody could explain how kangaroos could hop). An ID proponent would say "god did it." A biologist would say "I don't know but I'm willing to accept grant money to find out."

    As a result we know that kangaroos have unusual muscles capable of storing energy they absorb on landing.

    Ask a biologist or a geneticist about how they'd spend money to advance the theory of evolution and they'll talk about an experiment.

    Ask an IDer and they'll talk about education, legal challenges, and campaigning.

    Make no mistake - ID is a social and cultural agenda, not a scientific one.
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:44AM (#13986590)
    To this day, philosophers debate what "science" is.

    Yet scientists don't, and regardless happily go about improving hte world.

    I'm not convinced that scientists should have control over our public schools' science curriculum any more than I'm convinced that priests should set the curriculum for (comparative) religion classes.

    Your analogy is flawed. Comparative religion isn't a subject in which a priest is an expert. Comparative religion is, depending on the exact nature of the class, either a branch of cultural study (anthropology, etc), or a branch of philosophy. Personally, I think an anthropologist or a philosopher who has studies cultural philosophy would make a fine person to set the cirriculum for a comparative religion class.

    Public education is so crucial to our society that it should be set by the people or their duly elected representatives, not some unelected technocracy.

    That presupposes that democratic processes are always better than their alternatives. This has shown to be emperically false (most corporations and households are not democracies), and indeed is hardly the principle under which our country was founded.
  • by unapersson ( 38207 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:47AM (#13986911) Homepage
    Do you have evidence that these rules didn't exist before the bible though? If anything, the society of today is more moral of that in the bible, there's stuff in the bible about not coveting your neighbour's property, yet nothing against child abuse or wife beating. It's an anachronism that doesn't represent modern morality. All these things suggest that the bible is just the word of people rather than the word of man, more representative of its time than any universal morality.
  • by timbo234 ( 833667 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:20AM (#13987036) Journal

    You have a hard case selling intelligent design as not being a theory. It is a very minority theory, I grant you. And yes, it is proveable. All we need to do in order to prove intelligent design is to find the people who designed and seeded life on earth.

    That could be $deity. It could also be aliens who are watching our progress from a secret base on Venus that the EU Venus probe could discover in the next couple of years.

    This is another of those nonsense arguments that IDers put forward when they're cornered about testability. If life really did come about from another planet (and yes this is a testable theory, although so far there is no evidence to support it) then where did that life come from originally? No matter how many recursions you go through at the end the original 'Intelligent Designer' always has to be something supernatural - ie. outside the physical universe and therefore untestable.

    Intelligent design is just an item on the list, although one that is not well supported. Evolution is an item, although one that is well supported. Tomorrow, that could all change. That is beauty of science.

    The 'Intelligent Design' you are talking about is completely different from that being advocated by the religious right and taught in Kansas schools. Its also not an opposing possibility to evolution as it explains nothing about how life came about - ie. where did the aliens/asteroid/whatever come from?

    Insisting that ONLY evolution CAN be right and ONLY evolution CAN be taught is just as wrong as saying that ONLY intelligent design can be right.

    Science does not deal in absolute explanations. It deals in best explanations.

    No one's insisting that ONLY evolution can be taught - you can teach ID or whatever you want in a religion class or church sunday school where it belongs. However at the moment the only scientificly valid theory with significant real evidence to support it is evolution.

    It worries me more that so many /. types are unwilling to concede that evolution should ever be quetioned by anyone for any reason, ever. That makes me wonder if we didnt' quit teaching science in the US a long time ago...

    Although I can't speak for others on this site I think you've seriously misread and misunderstood most of the comments posted if you think that. People just don't want non-science like ID taught as science for political reasons.

  • by -da craz- ( 467628 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:39AM (#13987447) Homepage

    It's funny on the surface, but the more I think about it the scarier it gets.

    I was taken to this place as a kid. I was shown the dinosaur and human foot prints near each other. Inside of the musuem I was shown an excavated human foot fossil "so large that the person who made it was at least ten feet tall, and *gasp* that was one of the petite women!"

    I was told that all humans were ten feet tall 6,000 years ago because the ozone was different back then; it supposedly kept in molecules that made humans, plants, and beasts grow to gigantic sizes and live for hundreds of years. Outside of the musuem was a large, cylindrical metal tank. They told me that inside that tank they reproduced the atmosphere from early Earth and were growing gigantic tomatoes. They told me this was their proof that everything they said was true. Of course, I was never shown the tomatoes or anything remotely nearby the magical tank.

    I was told the Earth is no more than six thousand years old and that scientific evidence everywhere backed this up. I was told that carbon dating is complete nonsense and full of mathematical errors.

    I believed every word they told me. Much of the pseudo-science they fed me stuck with me through childhood and throughout much of high school. It felt smart to be going against the status-quo. I wasn't even sure what to think about radiocarbon dating until I took an Archaeology class in college, where I learned about various techniques used in various types of radiometric dating. Thank FSM for college and for excellent professors. I don't know where I, or the rest of the world, would be without such respectable people.

    What scares me is that I might just be lucky for turning out alright after all of that. My mom still respects that place and thinks they preach a good, true message. She would probably like to take my little sister there some day. I can easily imagine the school districts in this part of Texas pulling the same kind of Intelligent Design scandal on our confused children. I'm surprised we didn't set the precedent for it.

    This kind of bad information is all over the place. I almost had to bring a skeleton home to convince my sister that women and men have the same number of ribs. A college buddy of mine, who has gone through sixteen hours of college science courses but apparently still hasn't gotten the message, was willing to fight me to the death saying that men have more ribs than women. I couldn't believe it. He didn't care whether it was true or not; it was what he had been told to believe. After all of this I've started hand-writing letters to my sister, often emphasizing what science is and what it isn't. I've warned her to look out for people who claim that it proves universal facts and for people who claim that it's invalid for not proving universal facts. I wish someone had told me these things at a younger age. How much more valuable information would I have absorbed since then? Please, people, teach your kids how to reach their own conclusions!

    Thank you, digitalgimpus, for remindming me about that creepy place.

  • by Shaper_pmp ( 825142 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:50AM (#13987678)
    Nope. My parents didn't give me any indoctrination at all, and in fact were religious (both Church of England, father even Church Warden for a time).

    I grew up exposed to both evolution and genesis, and even as a very, very young child could see that details of the Genesis story were contradicted even in the Bible in different places... and was entirely unsupported by evidence... and people even used to get tetchy when I asked perfectly innocent questions about details of their faith ("If Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel, who did Cain and Abel marry to have kids?"). I concluded (as the majority of intelligent people the world over have also done) that Genesis was intended as a metaphor - a helpful story to teach you important lessons, not the literal truth.[1]

    In contrast, evolution (while, obviously "only" a theory) was supported by the overwhelming preponderance of evidence. It was also the simplest answer to the problem (don't tell me that "successive gradual beneficial developments being passed to offspring" is a more convoluted proposition than "positing the existence of an omnipotent, self-created being who can violate known laws of physics at will, create an entire universe and yet who still has a parochial interest in one tiny, unremarkable corner of it... and often displays suspiciously human motives and emotions").

    And please don't trot out the old saw about "giving the students more choice" - many of the students are already indoctrinated from birth with ID/Creationist/fundamentalist propaganda, and have Comparative Religion classes, so they have plenty of exposure to both sides of the "debate".

    ID is not science. By any meaningful definition of the term, it does not belong in Science classes. This is not about giving students a choice between two scientific theories, but about weakening the whole of science in favour of faith.

    Frankly, and finally, my feelings on Creationists' beliefs in a literal interpretation of Genesis were pretty much summed up when I first read the Illuminatus trilogy, by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea:

    "They didn't know what the symbols and paradoxes meant. Instead of following the finger that points to the moon, they sat down and worshipped the finger itself."

    'Nuff said.

    [1] Important point, related to this. This whole furore about evolution isn't an example of "Science" crushing "Faith". It's about science disproving one narrow, frankly daft interpretation of one religion, that (primarily because of said daftness) is hugely in the minority in the world.

    Many people with more enlightened faiths happily balance science and faith together, and see no conflict there. Most of the rest of the religious world (even the Pope!) watches the actions of a few US fundamentalists with amused bemusement.

    The creationists and ID proponents in Kansas are no different to those who screamed and ranted at Copernicus, for exiling us from a special place in the universe. Or Aristotle, for proving the earth was round. Science moves inexorably onward. Sometimes it disproves or counter-indicates even ideas we hold very dear to our hearts. These ideas are wrong. Get over it.
  • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:51AM (#13987683) Homepage Journal
    My impression of the jesuits is also pretty good. Mainly because they tend to see science as a way of observing and learning about their God's creation - a natural conclusion from that view is that denying observable scientific fact would be the same as refusing to accept what God has created.

    So while I might disagree with them about that existence of God thing, at least they aren't generally anywhere near as narrow minded as most other christian groups.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:41AM (#13987888)
    Are you saying the intelligent designer isn't intelligent or that it designed stuff to look like it was designed by someone who isn't intelligent?
  • Re:This is stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TheHornedOne ( 50252 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:51AM (#13987938)
    RyoShin, here's where you're misguided. I am not addressing your faith, just your assertions.

    "I'm no scientist, and I don't have any deep knowledge of evolution and the proof and theory behind it (at least that hasn't stuck with me from 10th grade biology,) but to my knowledge, evolution has deep scientific background, despite not being a proven fact."

    I am a scientist with a B.S in Physics and Ph.D in Biology, and let me assure you that evolution is as solidly supported, scientifically, as the so-called Theory of Gravity. In fact, gravity is probably less-well understood, from a mechanistic standpoint.

    "In an alternative vein, Intelligent Design/Creationism does have a few specs here and there that support it, but not nearly enough that would indicate the theory without some religious notion already in place."

    I must pipe up here and ask for peer-reviewed citations from respected, accepted journals or conference proceedings to substantiate this claim. If you can't provide any, you can't go around saying this. This statement is the nucleus of the entire problem. ID is entirely a matter of faith with no empirical factual evidence to the contrary. It is nothing but Abrahamic Creation mythology dolled up for the 21st century.

    As a matter of fact, and this would make a lot of ID folks' heads explode to truly consider this, if we could set up an experimental test sufficiently powerful to PROVE Divine intervention, such a test would be capable of DISPROVING it as well. Assuming for a moment that such an experiment could take place, the results, like the obscene revalations of Copernicus, would be probably end up being quite a demotion to the "we're the most special matter in the Universe" crowd. Luckily, no such falsifiable Hypothesis can be constructed and tested experimentally, leaving those folks to their faith.
  • by wodgy7 ( 850851 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:21AM (#13988087)
    Just FYI... you might find this interesting. The finger and moon metaphor was not invented by Wilson and Shea for the Illuminatus trilogy. It's from an ancient Buddhist text called the Surangama Sutra:
    "You are still clinging to your mind to listen to the Dharma; you fail to realize the Dharma nature. This is like a man pointing a finger at the moon to show it to others who should follow the direction of the finger to look at the moon. If they look at the finger and mistake it for the moon, they lose sight of both the moon and the finger. Why? Because the bright moon is actually pointed at; they mistake the finger for the bright moon and are not clear about brightness and darkness."

    This metaphor is one of the classic passages where the Buddha lets his followers know that using their own eyes and mind to discover the world and how it works is more important than blindly following anything he's said. This attitude is one of the many reasons Buddhists have no trouble with evolution.

  • by dnebin ( 594347 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:25AM (#13988114) Homepage
    These religious fanatics think that they need to preach to the world and the world needs to listen. Here in Dover, Pa, the board thought everyone would be behind them, that the community at large would support the introduction of ID into the science class. Well, the community at large gave every one of them the boot in yesterday's election. Not a single person on the board retained their seat. I guess all of their religious ferver blinded them to the reality of the situation that not everyone believes the same thing that they do. So Kansas, just wait. You'll get your choice to be heard. Start organizing now, make sure they hear you coming... Dave Nebinger, proud Dover voter!
  • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:07PM (#13989377) Homepage Journal

    Harry Potter has been criticized by some of the very extreme fundamentalist, but most Christians accept it for what it is -- a great tool to get kids to read.

    I was raised Southern Baptist, first in Tennessee and then in Virginia. I sometimes forget that there are many many rational christians out there who see Harry Potter just as an amusing story, or the Lord of the Rings as a paralell of the Christian story. I would be completely truthful in telling you that I have experienced first-hand many times Christians who regard anything dealing with "magic" as being straight from the Occult - I've been around the people who view the CAP report as something to actually believe.

  • by johnnyb ( 4816 ) <> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:38PM (#13990187) Homepage
    "If the parent tells a child that math is "wrong" because it is not divinely ordained, that is "crap", and should be clearly labeled as such."

    You are confusing ideas with personal attacks.

    Let's say that I come into class, and say something like "there is no such thing as DNA, my parents told me so."

    While their parents are probably stupid, the correct response IS NOT "your parents are stupid." In fact, there is absolutely no reason that the teacher needs to make reference to the parents at all. The case against the _idea_ is completely separate from whether or not the person's parents are stupid. And, again, there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER for a teacher to be badmouthing a child's parents in front of the child.

    Better responses to the above situation:

    "Here is the evidence we have for DNA..."

    "That has been shown to be incorrect"

    "This is not the appropriate place to discuss this"

    "Such an idea is not present in scientific literature, so is out of place for this class".

    "there is no evidence to support such a claim"

    Notice that none of those responses were derogatory toward the parents themselves in any way, but all accomplished the same goal.
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:05PM (#13990893) Journal

    Anyway it's a strange view that, if it's in the genes, it's OK, but if it's caused by the environment, it's somehow less real. Would we convert left-handers to right-handers if we found out it's an enviromental factor that determined their chiral preference?

    I'd worry; lefties will be a convenient target for genetic screening ... all in the name of better public health, of course. Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8216870&dopt=Abstract []

    Quite the contrary, 36.7% of children of LHI were left-handed, while 7.3% children of RHI happen to be left-handed (P < 0.00025).

    Being a lefty is an inherited trait. []

    Study finds gays more likely to be left-handed than straights


    But exposure to sex hormones and environmental factors such as pollutants and stress during pregnancy can alter the genetic blueprint, contributing to left-handedness.

    "There's something that happens early in development that can shift development towards a left-side bias," says Lalumiere.

    In turn, those blips may also be a factor in determining homosexuality.

    "This study is one more piece of evidence that suggests sexual orientation is at least partly determined in-utero," says Blanchard.

    So, whether you're a lefty or gay or both, you can say you were born that way.

    Other risk factors of being left-handed include being more likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder 03.html []

    n a provocative preliminary study, Chemtob et al. hypothesized that deviations from normal hemispheric dominance may increase risk (Chemtob & Taylor, 2003). They examined hand preference in 118 right-handed male veterans. PTSD prevalence was lowest for respondents reporting a consistent hand preference and right handed parents (44%) and highest for those reporting both mixed laterality and a left handed parent (100%). Moderately high PTSD rates were observed in veterans reporting either a mixed lateral preference or left handed parent (70%). These findings suggest that an imbalance in hemispheric dominance for processing threatening and/or emotional information may increase vulnerability to PTSD following trauma.

    - Chemtob, C. M., & Taylor, K. B. (2003). Mixed lateral preference and parental left-handedness possible markers of risk for PTSD. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 191(5), 332-338.

    Higher risk of schizophrenia if you're a leftie ... 2346.html []

    When this was noted in the data, it was found that they had higher STA scores than those who had not been forced to switch. Also it was found that "males who were non-right handers, and who presumably had mixed-handedness, having significantly higher STA scores than full right-handers" (PsychiatryMatters.MD).

    These results support the claim that left-handedness and being ambidextrous was a risk factor for schizophrenia symtoms.

    Diabetes:,1009,2592.html []

    Our results: people with diabetes are three times more likely to be left-handed than the general population.

    Other connections:

  • by tz ( 130773 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:20PM (#13991006)
    So according to most of the above posts saying ID ought not be taught science is not the search for the truth. It is the search for natural (or material) explanations. Even if they are less likely or even perhaps demonstrably wrong.

    Maybe Vince Foster was the victim of an errant lead meteorite, and the gun and suicide note had nothing to do with it as it might show design, so the CSI team using just "science" can't show any design or plan, only come up with "natural" explanations?

    This is where I differ. I believe "Is X the product of design or natural causes" is both a reasonable and scientific question, and there is no reason it ought not be asked in Kansas biology classes, no more than if they were covering human physiology they should ask if the blackened lung tissue was caused by infectious disease, some internal breakdown, or smoking.

    Should they also bring back eugenics, which Darwin also gave a big push? Remember the full title of his work. But if evolution is correct, then eugenics follow, though I think most people here wouldn't admit they are neo-nazis (or that the Nazis were only wrong in detail, not overview - we breed and engineer animals, and now want to clone, and if we are just beasts with large cerebrums where does ethics come in or at least how can you argue against using our knowlege of breeding).
  • by lowsinon ( 842366 ) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @03:05AM (#13995905) Homepage
    Was I the only one in school who had any serious questions about the current theory of evolution?

    Agreeing with the previous post, critisism is absolutely fundamental to science. However, my educational experience has made it obvious that any question of doubt was a serious issue. I recall an episode of Nova that we watched, which offered no critisism, which of course, I understood. After the video finished, I asked a few questions, in a very scientific, and respectful way, that had obviously been opposed to the video. After the second question I was asked to leave the classroom. When I petitioned the school administration on the issue, I at first was ignored, then marginalized as a conservative with opposing views. That, to me, was a serious disrespect AS A SCIENTIST.

    I believe it is the responsibility of the educator to be able to establish when to discuss the current questions in a theory with respect to the student. It would also be the responsibility of the student to respect the answer given by the educator. Obviously, the greater responsibility, appropriately, lies in the hand of the educator.

    Forcing ID into science class == Bad idea. Respecting fellow scientists == Good idea.

    Let's not force ID into classrooms, but make science classrooms like the scientific community, an open forum for various ideas and discussions.

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