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Education Science

Tennessee Bill Helps Teachers Challenge Evolution 735

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

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:21AM (#35756984)

    But it *has* been observed. You've heard of antibiotic resistant bacteria, right?

  • by spedrosa ( 44674 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:22AM (#35756996)

    It is both observable and has been repeated in many experiments.

    Some of them are not even experiments per se: see antibiotics and bacteria.

  • by Johnny5000 ( 451029 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:23AM (#35757014) Homepage Journal

    Well, the bill itself specified "[t]he teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to,
    biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human

    So it could apply to any of those things you talk about, but the bill itself is specifically aimed at the topics a certain segment of society finds especially distasteful.

  • by Shikaku ( 1129753 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:26AM (#35757058)

    I pray that a teacher will actually question the so called science of evolution, as something not observable or repeatable.

    Vaccine resistance.

  • by kanweg ( 771128 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:27AM (#35757078)

    OK, let's suppose you're not trolling and you're not unwilling to challenge your own views. Not unreasonable assumptions, so watch this: []

    And that's based on objective machines (DNA sequencers and computers comparing the sequences). The link is highly recommended for schools and teachers.

    That means no Adam, no garden of eden, no eternal sin, no Jesus dying for our sins.


  • by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:28AM (#35757102)

    Not observable?

    I guess that depends on your definition of "observable", since it was Darwin's observations that species that had left the mainland had evolved into new species that were better adapted to their new environment. We have observed hundreds of human and pre-human skeletons showing an evolution over a period of a million years from chimpanzees to modern humans. Countless other observations have been made. We have even recently observed that bacteria, when selective pressure (antibiotics) is applied, they tend to evolve (ie, "superbugs").

    Not repeatable?

    Again, lab experiments have shown this time and again. Take two bacterial colonies, start turning up the heat over a number of generations and you'll eventually have two separate colonies of thermophiles. In the wild, convergent evolution has been seen a number of times. The textbook example are birds and bats. They belong to different classes (mammalian vs avian) and from the fossil record, we know that the wings developed after the species split off, but both creatures have very similar wing structure.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:37AM (#35757244) Journal
    Simple organisms like flowers, dogs, horses, etc. Mankind has been running evolution experiments at least for all of recorded history.
  • by Zombie Ryushu ( 803103 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:48AM (#35757438)

    There are a few things that you need to understand about why this is an issue. Christianity collapses entirely without the Creation story. While under Judaism, it was just a parable to explain the creation of the world, Christianity gives this story teeth for the following reason: The basis for Jesus's sacrifice was that Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. From the Instant that happened, with the exception of a few Jews that followed the laws of Moses, 99.999% of all Humans all born on Earth before or since were damned to Hell. Thats the only reason the evolution issue is an issue at all. If this myth isn't true (and it isn't.) Christianity collapses and Jesus died for absolutely no reason than being a cult leader the Romans wanted to execute. (make no mistake, Christianity IS a doomsday cult.)

    A few things about the Judeo-Christian God Yahweh:

    - He started out as part of a War God along side two other gods, Ba'al, and Asherah. When their followers were eradicated Yahweh was given the title of 'Elohim'
    - Jehovah is Yahweh in German
    - He is a male God. Who advocates male supremacy and is VERY misogynistic
    - He is very mean, cruel, and most Humans have a morality superior to Yahweh, in his original form. Yahweh has been watered down a whole bunch.
    - Yahweh is often refered to as 'The Lord' due to Censorship in English copies of the Bible. It is considered a violation of the Ten commandments to call Yahweh, 'Yahweh'.

    The issue is that for reasons of social control. US Christians do not believe their civilization will survive without Christianity. Yahweh is a tribal god that his followers keep extending and expanding his powers. Yahweh is not real, he is only as powerful as his followers say he is. As such, without an all powerful Yahweh to bind everyone, and keep the masses in line, A whole lot of people who make a whole lot of money, and have a whole lot of power stand to lose their power if belief in Yahweh fades.

    Another thing is there are Humans in this world who believe the myth of Heaven and Hell. To those people, when the 'end' comes, they are supremely worried that Yahweh will let exactly zero Humans (or at least not them) into Heaven. The creation myth is a big part of the idea that Jesus died for the original sin of Man. The religion doesn't work if the Garden of Eden never happened.

  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:51AM (#35757468)

    That's been tried. The corporations started cheap schools that only educated people just enough to work in the corporation's factories. (At a wage where the people couldn't afford to send their children to a better school.)

    Countries that had public education then out-innovated the non-public education countries, and were better competitors in the global marketplace.

  • by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:52AM (#35757478)
    This is a fallacy that keeps getting spouted off by ID proponents.

    Genetic information CAN be gained... but even if it couldn't, it wouldn't matter. The amoeba... one of the "simplest" forms of life, has one of the largest observed genomes to date.

    Simply through mutation of existing genetic information, the passing of it through sexual and non-sexual reproduction we can observe (yes OBSERVE) changes in genotype and phenotype.
  • by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @10:56AM (#35757560)
    Oh... and I don't need to cite an experiment. I can point to a real world example.

    Down's syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome. THAT is additional genetic information right there.

    Just because YOU can't figure out how an organism can gain information (and likely this is because you don't know enough about biology) doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

    That is the basis of intelligent design. "I can't figure out how it could happen, that means that it doesn't - And no... I refuse to learn more so that I might be able to figure it out". That's fundamentally the basis of irreducible complexity - I can't figure it out the evolutionary mechanism, therefore it must have been designed. It's sad because others DO... and every example of irreducible complexity offered up by the ID community has plausible processes by which they could have evolved.
  • taninim (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Friday April 08, 2011 @11:09AM (#35757814) Homepage Journal

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

    According to creationists, the large reptile/bird creatures we call "dinosaurs" were called taninim (sing. tanin) by the ancient Hebrews. Some dinosaurs, those too big to fit in a 450 by 75 by 45 foot barge built under the direction of Noah Lamechson, died in the great flood of 1656 Anno Mundi. Smaller ones, such as the velociraptor Deinonychus famous from Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton [], may have been hunted to death before the flood. Still other creatures were aquatic, such as the plesiosaur (one of the possibilities for Heb. leviathan), but could not adapt to the post-flood composition of seawater. As for fossil records and radioisotope dating, young-Earth creationists have their own theories on how the flood interferes with those.

  • Re:My school prayer (Score:4, Informative)

    by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @12:09PM (#35758948) Homepage Journal

    Must stop citing Euclid ;-).

    I see the smiley, but I think this raises an interesting point. When you cite Euclid, you are citing truths that can be reproduced and verified. Or in one case, disproven. In any event, it doesn't require anything to be taken on faith.

    Now when it's possible to sit at home with a blank universe and say "Let there be light", that's when the Bible gains equal credibility in scientific matters. Assuming the data can be replicated, that is.

  • Missing the point (Score:2, Informative)

    by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Friday April 08, 2011 @01:18PM (#35759972)
    The Right doesn't want an educated populace, but an ingnorant, compliant, god-fearing one. On this facet, every fundamentalist religion is in complete agreement.

    If it weren't for the invention of the con game known as Religion, we'd be travelling amongst the effing stars by now.
  • Re:My school prayer (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2011 @03:35PM (#35761872)

    While I can't speak for Intelligent Design, Creationism is not thought of as Science period. Rather, it is an ideology behind how to choose ones assumptions when applied to Science. The fact that a Creationist Scientist chooses to use the assumption that the Earth is young enough to use one side of an equation (non-stable elements) when using Carbon Dating vs. a non-Creationist Scientist choosing to use the assumption that the Earth is old enough to use the other side of the equation (stable elements) is thereby evidenced; and has nothing to do with the validity of the Science behind it; just a different set of assumptions. Creationist Scientists - when allowed to be - are usually more up front about those assumptions too.

    In other words, it's a challenge of the underlying assumptions behind the Science - assumptions that are not necessarily scientifically testable. (And yes, I'm aware of the various loops in the dating process; the above is just an example of how one might choose different assumptions. Nothing more.)

    Dude. You're just plain confused. Or incoherent. Or both.

    Creationism isn't science, but it has been promoted as such by creationists, because they wanted to get it taught in school science classes.

    They failed. Because it really, really isn't science, and courts agreed that creationists were being duplicitous liars in trying to depict it as such. It's religion.

    Intelligent Design is warmed-over "Creation Science". It was and is nothing more than an attempt to repackage creationism under a new name, hoping nobody would notice it still isn't science and still has no place in a science class. The very same people and institutions which tried to shove "creation science" down the public's throat are behind ID, and they swear up and down that ID has nothing to do with creationism. (What was that about "creation scientists" being open about their assumptions again? We have decades of evidence showing that they try mightily to hide them, lest the public realize what they're really trying to do.)

    You're right about one thing - creationism is a challenge to the underpinnings of science. But it's not a challenge to something that's testable. Rather, it's a challenge to the foundational idea that the universe can be empirically tested. Instead of examining it, creationism insists that God did it and tells us to shut up and go home, it's all over, you can't learn anything more.

    Well, I'm sorry sir, but science didn't stop at the prescribed boundaries, and scientists learned that your holy book doesn't tell the true story of the history of the planet. And no, that's not just a matter of picking one unprovable assumption over another.

    If you're young, don't blindly trust the lies your elder "creationist scientists" are telling you about real science. For example, as a consequence of their indoctrination, you have negative knowledge about how carbon dating works. You're not just wrong, you're not even on the same planet as wrong. "Loops"? Arbitrary choice of one side of an equation over another, where one side is "stable elements" and the other is "unstable elements"? Apparently you don't even know math, because if you did you'd know that equations have no meaning without both sides. Furthermore, radiometric dating as done by real scientists is about examining the proportion of unstable isotopes to their decay products (typically stable), or (in the case of carbon dating of plant or animal fossils) the proportion of the unstable to stable carbon isotopes. There is no arbitrary choice of a side involved. Unstable and stable elements are not somehow in opposition to one another. The only "assumption" involved is that nuclear physics works and can be used to analyze the meaning of isotope and decay product ratios, and we don't exactly need to go on faith for that. (Here's a slight hint: it's part of the very same physics used to design nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs.)

    Realize also that probably ever

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. -- F.M. Hubbard