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Education Government Science

2016's First Batch of Anti-Science Education Bills Arrive In Oklahoma (arstechnica.com) 510

An anonymous reader writes: It's only January and we're already seeing the first anti-science education bills of 2016 going through the Oklahoma legislature. The state's lawmakers fight over this every year, and it looks like this year won't be any different. "The Senate version of the bill (PDF) is by State Senator Josh Brecheen, a Republican. It is the fifth year in a row he's introduced a science education bill after announcing he wanted 'every publicly funded Oklahoma school to teach the debate of creation vs. evolution.' This year's version omits any mention of specific areas of science that could be controversial. Instead, it simply prohibits any educational official from blocking a teacher who wanted to discuss the 'strengths and weaknesses' of scientific theories.

The one introduced in the Oklahoma House (PDF) is more traditional. Billed as a 'Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act' (because freedom!), it spells out a whole host of areas of science its author doesn't like: 'The Legislature further finds that the teaching of some scientific concepts including but not limited to premises in the areas of biology, chemistry, meteorology, bioethics, and physics can cause controversy, and that some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on some subjects such as, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.'"

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2016's First Batch of Anti-Science Education Bills Arrive In Oklahoma

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  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:36AM (#51365329)

    Why don't we add an amendment to this law saying that anyone in violation will be considered to be a witch and burned at the stake accordingly.

    This must be why Oklahoma is such an economic powerhouse. Oh wait, turns out they are the dead last state in GDP. I'm sure these progressive laws had nothing to do with that, not a thing.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:47AM (#51365417)

      I would really like to believe that Democrats are just as stupid as Republicans. I don't see any reason why there would be a monopoly on stupid. And I certainly have seen lots of stupid democrats individually, And yet, my unscientific impression is that whenever something truly idiotic tries to become law there a preponderace of republicans backing it. How can this possibly occur? Same is true with the presidential race.

      What is the mechanism that causes this lack of collective filtration for logic in one party but not the other.

      Or am I mistaken? does the internet selectively bring me stories of republican idiocy and remove the democratic party stunts? If so this would explain a lot of why people are so angry and polarized these days.

      I'm not talking about subjective disagreement. it's okay for people to disagree on some things. But legislating science? surely reasonable people in both parties would recognize the pattern here.

      • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:59AM (#51365509) Homepage

        I would say a small part of it is that there is no equivalent to the Tea Party among Democrats. I mean, I've never heard anyone describe a politician as "Liberal in Name Only" (LINO), but you hear the calls of RINO all the time from the right.

        It's like they're trying so hard to prove that they're more conservative than the next guy, that it removes options from the playbook (to mix my metaphors a little), because using one of those options, why that means you're a RINO.

        So they have to cater to the ultra-conservative core of the party who espouses these views.

        • I don't understand. Since you've heard the term Republican In Name Only, why'd you choose "LINO" instead of "DINO" for the opposing side?
          • He is saying DINO is not a thing. No one is insulted by being called a DINO. They will just laugh. You actually see RINO used on the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal with a complete straight face.

        • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:48AM (#51365953)

          I would say a small part of it is that there is no equivalent to the Tea Party among Democrats. I mean, I've never heard anyone describe a politician as "Liberal in Name Only" (LINO), but you hear the calls of RINO all the time from the right.

          Probably the closest group on the liberal side in terms of kookiness, is the so called SJW's. But that is a very small and not organized group, and most people recognize them for what they are. Not a real threat, more part of the noise. Some of the things they demand are sortakinda being addressed, but aside from silliness like "banning bossy" and women only coding classes, they really are fringing it. Their ideology would be proven just as useless as the teabaggers "I got mine - screw you!" and unworkable financial ideas.

          It's like they're trying so hard to prove that they're more conservative than the next guy, that it removes options from the playbook (to mix my metaphors a little), because using one of those options, why that means you're a RINO.

          What I don't get, is how did the kooky base get to decide what a Republican is? While I'm a registered independent, until 2000, I was a pretty reliable Republican voter - at least 75 percent. Mostly on financial issues. Then they party turned. First the Trotskyite neocons, then the Teabaggers took over. Now we're looking at Trump and/or Cruz?

          Hellamighty - one's a Putin Clone, and the other - well, you need to look up what Dominionists are.

          I keep having this recurrent dream that Barry Goldwater is resurrected and saves the Republican Party from itself.

          So they have to cater to the ultra-conservative core of the party who espouses these views.

          It's like Chanty Binx determining what a true Democrat is.

          • If you can hardly see anyone to your left, and the only people you see speaking on the right are far-right, you should seriously consider that you might not be in the middle.

            It sounds like you are (or maybe were) a "country club republican". Don't worry if you've never been to a country club, it isn't an actual requirement.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            What has happened is the Republican party allowed the religious right to hijack them. It started in 1988 with Pat Robertson. Back then, it appeared to be just a freak occurrence, but then the religious conservatives began to see that they could begin to influence the political scene. The Tea Party was the easiest thing to hijack. Remember, it wasn't started as a social conservatism movement, but a fiscal one. It was a reaction to the perceived lack of fiscal responsibility of government.

            Unfortun
            • If you are a fiscal conservative the Republicans are not your party either. They like cutting taxes but are too chicken to cut spending in any serious way because they know if they do they'd get kicked out in the next election. The result is that the rate of change in the national debt goes up during Republican administrations and down during Democratic administrations. Here's a post on it by David Brin: So Do Outcomes Matter More Than Rhetoric? [blogspot.com]

      • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:09AM (#51365591)
        The one percenters can't win an election, not enough voters even when half the voters stay home. They require a large block of people who vote as directed, and the religious right provides those voters. So long as the men in charge of their congregation get their quid pro quo, the voters will be directed to keep voting republican forever. Of course this does require the occasional "Christian" act in public, like this bill.
        • by cat_jesus ( 525334 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @01:18PM (#51366787)
          I am told that a republican congressman recently confided to a pundit that he spends all his time in Washington trying to convince people he's not crazy and then he spends all his time in his district trying to convince people he is crazy. The monster the republicans have created has gotten loose.

          Your observation is correct, however. The Republican party exists to forward the agenda of the rich. They don't have the numbers needed to win elections in a straightforward manner so they have to manipulate the stupid, rig elections and disenfranchise voters. Basically, they have to cheat, steal and bribe their way to power.

          Also consider that democratic officials generally start from a background of community service, whereas republicans are often drafted by the party from business roles. You will rarely see a business person run as a democrat because democrats generally understand that government isn't a business and can't be run like a business.

          Republicans have gone so far over the ideological cliff that they can't even compromise any more. Compromise is a foundational principal in a democracy and they revile compromise so much that the hint of working with a democrat is enough to get you run out in a primary.

          The media has a great deal of blame for this situation. They have allowed the republicans cow them into reporting their insane shit with a straight face and have legitimized anti-science and anti-intellectualism. The republicans have also forced the media to portray global warming(and any other issue) into a 50/50 opinion split instead of a Fringe 1% of scientists paid for by Big Oil and Big Coal vs the rest of the legitimate scientific community. Fact checking is a thing of the past and political reporting has devolved into click bait and doing what you can to get more viewers. This means not talking seriously about policy and instead creating Punch and Judy shows.

          When you hear "there is a liberal bias in the media" what's being said is there is a factual and intellectual bias in the media. Unfortunately, that is no longer true. The media have been cowed by the constant accusations of being biased and there really isn't a liberal media beyond a handful of websites and Democracy Now which doesn't run on any national network.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think this is a brilliant strategy on the part of the Republican Party. They have figured out that half of all voters are below average intelligence. In addition, a significant number of voters with above average intelligence are high earners. Huge numbers of both groups are greedy and self-centered.

        The republican party is going after the stupid vote! It's easier to get stupid self-centered people to vote against their interests than it is to get smart self-centered people to vote against theirs.

      • I would really like to believe that Democrats are just as stupid as Republicans. I don't see any reason why there would be a monopoly on stupid. And I certainly have seen lots of stupid democrats individually, And yet, my unscientific impression is that whenever something truly idiotic tries to become law there a preponderace of republicans backing it. How can this possibly occur?

        While Democrats do not have a monopoly on smarts, at this moment in time, they are not ideologically locked in.

        What has happened is that the Republican party has become locked in to it's base. And whereas most politically savvy people one time noted "Who is the base going to vote for otherwise?", at this juncture, the kooky base tail is wagging the dog.

        So we're getting what we get. Some places like Oklahoma, where they swing far right, and have relied on oil to cover their financial ineptitude, are exp

      • What is the mechanism that causes this lack of collective filtration for logic in one party but not the other.

        The common parent organisation of both parties has allocated expression-of-stupid to one of the parties such that it may better appeal to its target voters. This may be compared to the deliberate quality-banding imposed by VW group across the Seat Skoda VW Audi brands.

      • It's the Sorting Hat (Score:5, Informative)

        by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:36AM (#51365835)

        The sorting hat is just putting these people in Slytherin.

        Google "Nixon's southern strategy" for some insight on this sorting hat. over the last century the parties have nearly flip-flopped in role. It used to be that the party that became the Democrats were the party of the "evil" southern slave holders and republicans, the party of abe lincoln, were busting that up. This continued through reconstruction. Then there came a gradual flipflop culminating in FDR amd the rise of a liberal dominated government. But even their the south was still democratic. It was Nixon who set the stage to flip the south to the republicans and chose his platform accordingly. THe democratic party went into decline as there was an anti-liberal backlash against the vision of humphrey and mondale. The Democrats didn't recover until clinton, when the party swung the party away from liberal and to the center. Or to be more correctly, this change happened in that era, and clinton rode the wave.

        So people do sort themselves regionally. The parties that adopt those regions behave like them. the platforms shift accordingly.

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:16AM (#51365653)

      Why don't we add an amendment to this law saying that anyone in violation will be considered to be a witch and burned at the stake accordingly.

      This must be why Oklahoma is such an economic powerhouse. Oh wait, turns out they are the dead last state in GDP. I'm sure these progressive laws had nothing to do with that, not a thing.

      Oklahoma is a perfect example of modern day conservative values as applied. Freaky thing is it gets hard to blame the liberals when they've all been run out of power. http://oklahomawatch.org/2015/... [oklahomawatch.org]

      But I'm certain the Oklahoma legislature will tell us the cure is more tax cuts, a sure fire way to increase revenue. Any state that lives and dies on oil prices to shore up their ideological ideas is going to have a problem.

      Let us help - pray for Broklahoma.

    • by Tulsa_Time ( 2430696 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:27AM (#51365759)
      Oklahoma is 29th in state GDP.
    • by valdezjuan ( 83925 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:28AM (#51365763)

      That's pretty much what it reminds me of. Reading these always brings to mind how advanced the Arabic people were until the strict adherence to religious doctrine basically removed many of them from the sort of social/political evolution that comes from hearing/debating ideas that aren't your own. It also smacks of the current trend of downplaying scientific discoveries as mere 'theories' that are 'equally as valid' as Christian doctrine.

    • I may not even disagree with your opinion, but don't spout incorrect information. Oklahoma isn't even in the bottom 10 states, by GDP [wikipedia.org].
  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:37AM (#51365331)

    This year's version omits any mention of specific areas of science that could be controversial. Instead, it simply prohibits any educational official from blocking a teacher who wanted to discuss the 'strengths and weaknesses' of scientific theories

    Sounds good to me. I'm sure there a still a few flaws or mechanisms we don't understand in theories like evolution, or the theory of gravity, and those should be pointed out and discussed to show that science is always evolving. And of course it can sometimes be difficult to tie everything together in string theory (see what I did there?). Too bad for the good Senator though that creationism isn't considered a scientific theory.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      If I were a science teacher I would specifically teach how the theory of gravity (General Relativity) has far more weaknesses than evolution. Also how the germ theory of disease has had to undergo changes when asymptotic carriers, viruses causing cancers, and bacteria causing ulcers, etc. were discovered.
      • Re:That's reasonable (Score:4, Informative)

        by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @12:25PM (#51366283) Journal

        theory of gravity (General Relativity) has far more weaknesses

        Such as?

        So far general relativity has failed none of the tests thrown at it. This means it is not weak and well largely never be overturned. That's because it produces observably correct answers and so those bits are correct and will remain so.

        It's known to be incomplete, much like Newtonian machanics. That just means it's incomplete and won't be overturned any more that Newtonian mechanics have been overturned.

        So far the main missing thing is detection of gravitational waves. This is not yet lacking to the point where people have doubts about relativity being correct. It's still well within the problems of detecting very, very weak effects.

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        The history of the germ theory of disease is also interesting and should be taught.
        The first evidence, little critters that could only be seen in a microscope was denied by some famous people who refused to even look as it was impossible.
        At first all the evidence for the germ theory was statistical in nature, more people died who drank from certain wells that had leaky cisterns full of shit nearby, denied by people who didn't want to pay to fix the infrastructure. Then the evidence that the closer to the di

    • If they're going to force the teaching of creationism in public schools, why not similarly force evolution in their churches?

  • This is an amateurish approach. If you really want to change how a subject is taught, you go through the curriculum departments of the school districts. Of course, for that to work you have to require teachers to put in training hours, and you might have to pay them for that time.

    If a school dislikes how a science teacher doesn't teach science, they can find any number of reasons to grade that teacher as underperforming, and that teacher won't advance in pay. It will be impossible to prove that it was
    • they can find any number of reasons to grade that teacher as underperforming, and that teacher won't advance in pay

      I wasn't aware that teachers' pay was based on performance, but on seniority.

      • by TWX ( 665546 )
        Around my area, there's much more than simple seniority to higher pay. Teachers have to take continuing education classes, they have to meet performance criteria, and they have to take on extra-curricular activities, like being the sponsor/minder of after-school activities. Two of those are subject to the whims of the administrator- if the admin doesn't like the teacher they can deny them sponsoring activities, and can give them poor evaluations. All the continuing-education in the world won't help if th
      • I wasn't aware that teachers' pay was based on performance, but on seniority.

        Well, I guess they won't be advancing in seniority.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 25, 2016 @12:11PM (#51366163)

      Yeah, that's kind of a problem. We live in a Bible Belt state. My wife is a middle school science teacher. State law requires evolution to be taught. But the School Board doesn't allow the word evolution.

      Weirdly, that's probably the best thing possible. By not using the word, she gets to bypass all of the kids preconceptions. She also teaches scientific method, ecology, genetics, nuclear physics, plate tectonics (and a few other subjects). She has them openly debate genetic engineering and the pros/cons of different types of nuclear power.

      When she's done, they know the subject wells enough that her guest speakers from a local university are generally shocked to find 8th graders more articulate on the subject than their freshman and sophomore students. In a district that doesn't permit the word evolution.

      FYI She's religious, believes in evolution and old earth, but never tells the kids her beliefs. She teaches them how to think and decide for themselves.

  • Academic freedom? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:38AM (#51365349) Homepage

    Yeah, right. This is about allowing stuff which has no resemblance to be presented as science.

    Teach your religion in your church. Stop trying to raise kids who can't distinguish facts and science from personal belief and wishful thinking.

    This is just thinly veiled attempts at putting religious beliefs into school as if they are facts.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      Teach your religion in your church.

      So, separate but equal for minority views then? Which views are the minority views in Oklahoma?

      • by Kierthos ( 225954 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @12:21PM (#51366249) Homepage

        When comparing churches and schools, church is the more appropriate venue for religion, and school is the more appropriate venue for education.

        You want to religion taught in schools? Outside of religious schools, the problem becomes "What religion gets taught?", and there's a bundle of problems involved with that.

        A few years back, Louisiana's state legislature was trying out the use of school vouchers for religious schools (in addition to secular schools). All well and good until, shock and horror, non-Christian schools applied to be included in that.

        Oops.

        That's the problem. If you allow religion and religious ideas to be taught in schools, you have to allow them all, not just the ones you like. Which tends to cause the same people who are pro-Creationism to have screaming fits and chew holes in the carpet.

  • by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:39AM (#51365353)

    Why? Because too many people think that there is one, and explaining why evolution is right and ID/creationism is bunk is a Good Thing.

  • Can anyone explain to me how discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a theory is anti-science? Particularly in light of part D which states, "This section only protects the teaching of scientific information and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine."

    • by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:43AM (#51365383)
      RTFA: "The bill responds to that uncertainty by ensuring educators can just teach whatever they want as long as they think it's science"

      Ok Potsy...
      • The senate bill, the one that talks about discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a theory, says what it says. Read the bill.

        The sentence you quoted from the article wasn't even referring to the senate bill, it was talking about the house bill.

    • Because these politicians are wanting to teach the non-science in science class along the science and pretending that it's all the same.

      It's not. The very nature of science is that we accept that we just don't know. Proof and counter-proof. Falsifiability.

      Religion, however, has a long history of "the True Faith", where you cannot question the doctrine.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:58AM (#51365493) Homepage

      Can anyone explain to me how discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a theory is anti-science?

      Because what it really is a way for people to make spurious claims about what they claim are weaknesses in the science, when in reality they want to air things which are purely religious and 100% not founded in science.

      And through this, they want their anti-science bullshit presented on the same level as real science.

      So, imagine someone saying "obviously these fossils cannot be 400 million years old, as we all know the Earth is only 6000 years old". That's not science, it's religious belief being presented as fact.

      These people aren't proposing a rational discussion of the limits of science, they are trying to redefine the playing field by pretending any old shit they make up is on the same level as science.

      In this case, "Academic Freedom" is apparently the right to claim anything as fact, teach it as if it is science, and have a law which says they're allowed to ... because freedom.

      This is about redefining what is actually science to lower the threshold and call any old crap science .. most notably, religious belief.

  • With education like this, one is assured a steady stream of H1B Visas and Americans working at McDonald's...
  • As long as they teach the Pastafarian creation story.
  • Government schools (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 )

    are beholden to politics. Don't like it? Get the government out of schools.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:54AM (#51365459) Homepage
      Sure! Then the rich Bible thumpers can teach their kids Jeebus, the rich non-Bible thumpers can teach their kids that poor people are unworthy, and the poor people won't have schools. Great idea!
      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        Vouchers would give every parent, rich or poor, religious or anti-religious, the opportunity and the freedom to choose a school that teaches lessons according to their personal needs.

        • by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:19AM (#51365675)
          The purpose of vouchers is to defund the public school system and divert the money into private schools. It means that nobody will choose to send their kids (money) to the poor neighborhood schools except the poor folk who can't afford the commute. Poor kids will go to poor schools in poor districts, middle class kids will go to good schools in good districts. It's segregation by income.
          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            Poor kids will go to poor schools in poor districts, middle class kids will go to good schools in good districts. It's segregation by income.

            Which is exactly like the non-voucher system we have now. Poor children live in poor areas served poorly by poor schools.

            With vouchers to pay the bills, poor parents can get together and open a new school right next to the old one, so everyone has a choice.

        • by DogDude ( 805747 )
          Sure! Government funded ISIS madrassas would be a great idea!
          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            That's the story here. Government funded teachings someone doesn't like. The only choices are:

            - No government funding
            - Government funding to teach one particular set of views against the will of minorities
            - Government funding that is neutral

            Which one?

            If you think it's OK to suppress minority views, then tell the anti-creationism people to stop complaining and accept the will of the majority in Oklahoma.

            I don't think it's acceptable. People should have the right to choose an education, regardless of wheth

            • by DogDude ( 805747 )
              Science has nothing to do with opinion, whether it be minority or majority. Either our schools teach science, or they don't.
            • It's OK to suppress discredited beliefs, not minority views. In superstitious areas, the majority will have the stupid, discredited beliefs.
        • As long as:
          1. Private schools that accept vouchers may not require any additional payment and any additional payments or donations by parents must go into a general fund, for the benefit of all pupils.
          2. Private schools that accept vouchers may accept children on a neutral basis.
          3. Private schools that accept vouchers may not expel pupils except under conditions that state schools would.

          There are probably other restrictions needed, but the reality is that most of the "success" of charter schools or schools

          • by Kohath ( 38547 )

            ...the reality is that most of the "success" of charter schools or schools that accept vouchers is that they are selective in the pupils that they accept and keep in the school.

            Which is only good if you care about children getting a good education. If you think educating children is a secondary goal for schools, then yeah, put the children who want to learn together with children who don't.

            • Which is only good if you care about children getting a good education. If you think educating children is a secondary goal for schools, then yeah, put the children who want to learn together with children who don't.

              You misunderstand. Charter schools mostly don't actually provide a better education for the bright children. They just select bright children so that the averages look better.

  • Finally... (Score:4, Funny)

    by oh_my_080980980 ( 773867 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:49AM (#51365431)
    Teachers can teach that evolution was put into motion when Gil Gerard, star of the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, used a time machine, went back and ejaculated into the primordial ooze.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      Teachers can teach that evolution was put into motion when Gil Gerard, star of the television series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, used a time machine, went back and ejaculated into the primordial ooze.

      Well given that I could never see Erin Gray putting out, what other choice did he have?

  • Belief in science (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JestersGrind ( 2549938 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:58AM (#51365503)

    The great thing about science is that it doesn't care what you believe in. If you don't believe in gravity and jump off of a tall building, you will still splatter when you hit the ground. By the way, there is no such thing as anti-science, only pro-ignorance. Let's call it for what it really is.

    • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:26AM (#51365743)

      The great thing about science is that it doesn't care what you believe in. If you don't believe in gravity and jump off of a tall building, you will still splatter when you hit the ground. By the way, there is no such thing as anti-science, only pro-ignorance. Let's call it for what it really is.

      I don't agree. Ignorance isn't the same thing as science. Ignorance measures the level of knowledge you have on a topic. Whereas science isn't so much about the facts, but is a system for interrogating the world and determining what is true to the best of our abilities. Science is about gathering and evaluating evidence.

      I agree that creationists are ignorant. But the main thing they're ignorant about is how science works. Their stance is anti-science because they are promoting creationism as a viable alternative to evolution, whilst being unwilling to understand how our evidence for evolution arises or even the difference between a theory and an idea. Creationists are anti-science because they inappropriately use sciency-sounding terminology to sow confusion and misunderstanding. They are also anti-science because their own ideas are not testable and exhibit serious logical flaws that they ignore. None of this is ignorance: it's a systematic effort to deceive, which is much worse.

  • by CCarrot ( 1562079 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:58AM (#51365505)

    What do they have against Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World"?

    Oh. It's the whole stem cell research [wikipedia.org] debate...aka, the tired old abortion debate but with sexier, scarier, sciencey language. 'nuff said.

  • by drolli ( 522659 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:02AM (#51365539) Journal

    Creation: does not make falsifiable predictions (since for every lack of evidence you can always claim that "the creator decided not to do it that way" -> is no scientific theory

    Evolution: makes falsifiable predictions -> is a scientific theory.

    Discussion over.

    • Funny. I haven't heard of any falsification test (for the universal theory) that didn't end with "Evolution decided not to do it that way" yet. What did I miss?

      Since I'm not posting as AC, I should probably mention that I'm a bit religious, but not a literalist, and very much not a young-earther. I'm somewhat dubious on the Big Bang Theory (which is essentially "Fiat Lux" translated into secular terms) for scientific reasons, but don't have a preferred alternative.

      Evolution on the smallest scale (bacteri

  • by KenDiPietro ( 1294220 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:14AM (#51365625)
    Here's where I object to this type to "educational reform".

    If we allow this charade to come to its logical conclusion, in a couple of decades, a large percentage of Oklahomans will become largely unemployable in any capacity past menial labor. And if we accept that the demand for menial labor is going to steadily decrease, this leaves many of these people relegated the welfare ranks, ironically where the Republicans would prefer to let them starve.

    This means that "we" (the larger SlashDot community) will eventually have to pay to carry these "miseducated" Americans or make the judgment call to let them get by on their own, something that I would be reticent to do.

    Add to that, the fact that the Republicans will refuse to accept any responsibility for this catastrophe or will hand us the line that this was done by the old Republican Party and that the new, improved Republicans would never have enacted this type of legislation. Alternately, maybe they'll simply claim it was the liberal media that caused the problem, seeing as it would be hard to pin this on terrorism, drugs, or pornography.
  • One of the best things about science is that, while we accept things "as they appear to be" and formulate theories about why that is, and what the mechanisms are that govern what we see, those theories are continually up for examination and re-examination in light of new evidence that is not explained by the existing theory. If the new evidence can be independently verified, and the results replicated, then the theory can be adjusted.
    So, by (at least as I read it based on the summary) allowing teachers and

  • OP is quasi-correct.

    Science, by definition, is an analytical tool which is based on constant questioning and testing with the goal of disproving proposals (too lazy to reserach the plural of hypothesis...) As with any tool, it has a limited scope of applicability.

    It is impossible to ultimately prove or disprove anything without complete, ultimate knowledge of all that was, is, and will ever be. Given that is impossible, science is properly viewed as a constantly fluctuating qualifier component of probabilit

    • Re:Dogma is dogma... (Score:5, Informative)

      by serviscope_minor ( 664417 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @12:58PM (#51366605) Journal

      You are confusing dogma with facts.

      The earth is approximately spherical. This is not dogma, it's been observed. Anyone questioning this and for example postulating that it is flat over a large scale is generally considered a fool.

      People who demand Darwinist macro evolution theory is fact

      It is a fact. It's been observed to happen in the lab up to and including speciation of macroscopic organisms. Secondly, the tree of life has been arrived at by two completely independent means and yields almost identical results. That is overwhelmingly strong evidence and combined with everything else is enough to raise it to the level of a fact.

      In this case, I mean MACRO evolution

      That's a term made up by creationists. There is no micro and macro evolution---there is only "evolution".

      Charles Darwin was very clear about this weakness of his theory and gave examples which disqualified the theory.

      No he didn't. There is no evidence that disqualifies evolution. If there was, it wouldn't be a great theory and we'd be looking for something better. There are things he couldn't explain but that doesn't mean they can't be explained now.

      Scientific discovery did not stop 150 years ago.

      Only someone woefully ignorance of science would think that. We'e filled in a lot of the gaps. We know much more now about how evolution occurs and the mechanisms by which it occurs. We have much much more data and have better predictions from the theory.

      But the principle of evolution and the consequent apearance of new species is a fact.

      If there is not a God, you'll never know.

      I know there is no god to the same extent that I know there are no unicorns (if you like I'll describe my unicorn theory to you). Do I have incontravertible proof either way? Nope, but neither seem particularly likely, so I shall carry on with my life as if unicorns (and god) don't exist.

      Oh and for fun: first define "god".

  • It has been used and abused so much, it's become meaningless kind of like the sign on front gate of that horrible place, "work sets you free." (yeah, godwins law here. didn't RTFA).
  • by cgfsd ( 1238866 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:50AM (#51365983)
    Schools should now teach De-Evolution, the process of becoming a politician.
  • by ComputerGeek01 ( 1182793 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @12:00PM (#51366049)

    Maybe it's just me, but I kind of like that they are teaching both nearly contradicting sides of these topics. I think, in a rare moment of idealism for myself, that it encourages a more flexible mind compared to this dogmatic "This is how it is or else you're some dumb redneck" ad-hominum BS that most "intellectuals" preach everywhere they go. The scientific method requires us to prove the same thing, over and over and over again, it doesn't matter that you think of it as a waste of time, that's how it has always been. How are you going to motivate people to experiment when you just say "Don't bother, we already know the answer. Look it up in your textbook."? You can't. In some ways it's even better that we are starting with stuff that is easily debunkable, that allows their minds to build momentum. It allows them to build confidence by actually achieving something for a change. I don't even care that they then have to deal with the pinheads that are going to tell them they are wrong, because dealing with those people diplomatically is yet another life lesson to learn.

  • Whether it's evangelical christians, muslims, or proponents of 'social justice', when science gets in the way, it's demonized. We're still in the dark ages.

  • Simple (Score:4, Funny)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @12:45PM (#51366451)
    Let them pass this silly law, then sue them demanding equal time for the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory of creation and all of the hundreds of other creation myths. We have constitutionally mandated separation of church and state, so not giving equal time to EVERY creation myth is a violation of the constitution!

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