RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (4) < [1] 2 3 4 >   
  Topic: Texas and Antievolution, The 2008-2009 follies< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 14 2008,09:44   

Texas has an avowed antievolutionist and IDC advocate as its chair of the State Board of Education. The board itself has enough antievolutionists to set whatever policy they like. Texas state textbook decisions can change textbook content through the nation.

There are plenty of issues that are expected to play out in the coming year in Texas. This thread is for collecting the news and handling the comments on all that.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 14 2008,09:45   

The Houston Chronicle endorsed Laura Ewing for the District 7 SBOE position. Bob O'H posted a comment on my blog questioning Ewing's position on antievolution, and Ewing has responded there.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Texas Teach



Posts: 2082
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 14 2008,16:39   

Wesley, do you know if there's a good break-down somewhere of who's running for each district and where they stand on this?

ETA: 100!

--------------
"Creationists think everything Genesis says is true. I don't even think Phil Collins is a good drummer." --J. Carr

"I suspect that the English grammar books where you live are outdated" --G. Gaulin

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 14 2008,16:42   

wow laura ewing sure pwned bob.  get some.  bacteria and anti-biotics.  yeah!

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
stevestory



Posts: 13407
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 15 2008,11:09   

It's going to get ugly

   
Dr.GH



Posts: 2324
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 15 2008,16:15   

This from J. Spaceman on TalkOrigins news group

October 15, 2008

AUSTIN - Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today sharply
criticized the inclusion of three strident evolution opponents,
including two authors of an anti-evolution textbook, on a panel that
will review proposed new science curriculum standards for Texas public
schools. The inclusion of the two textbook authors raises serious
questions about conflicts of interest and whether political agendas
took priority over giving Texas students a 21st-century science
education, Miller said.

“It’s simply stunning that any state board members would even consider
appointing authors of an anti-evolution textbook to a panel of
scientists,” she said. “Are they coming here to help write good
science standards or to drum up a market for their lousy textbook?”

The textbook, Explore Evolution, is intended for secondary schools and
colleges, according to its U.S. distributor, the anti-evolution
Discovery Institute in Seattle. Because of that, the State Board of
Education could consider it for the state’s approved list of science
textbooks in 2011.

The two authors are Stephen Meyer, who is vice president of the
Discovery Institute, and Ralph Seelke, a professor of the department
of biology and earth sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
A third panel member, Charles Garner, is a professor of chemistry at
Baylor University in Waco.

All three are supporters of the anti-evolution concept “intelligent
design”/creationism and have signed the Discovery Institute’s “Dissent
from Darwinism” statement. In addition to their textbook, Meyer and
Seelke testified in 2005 against evolution in hearings called by
religious conservatives who controlled the Kansas State Board of
Education.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read it at http://www.tfn.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5455

PZ Mierz has more at http://scienceblogs.com/pharyng...._in.php

Edited by Dr.GH on Oct. 15 2008,14:17

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Fross



Posts: 71
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 21 2008,20:25   

sorry.  I leave TX for a few years and it all goes to sh@#

I think we're doing alright here in NC though.  :)

--------------
"For everything else, there's Mastertard"

   
Dale_Husband



Posts: 118
Joined: April 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 25 2008,01:00   

As a native of Texas, I am naturally VERY concerned about the status of science education here. Boy, am I going to be biting my nails for the next year or two, at least!

--------------
If you need a man-made book to beleive in a God who is said to have created the universe, of what value is your faith? You might as well worship an idol.

   
Doc Bill



Posts: 1039
Joined: April 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 25 2008,11:26   

Alan Leshner in the Houston Chronicle.

refers to Discovery Institute fellow Steven Meyer as

Quote
a leader of the "intelligent design" religious campaign


I'm surprised the DI hasn't leapt to decry such a "mischaracterization!"

  
stevestory



Posts: 13407
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 27 2008,00:19   

I suppose we'll all have to familiarize ourselves with the events going on in Texas, since there's just nothing going on in the rest of the ID world. I'll try to read some articles about it Monday.

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2008,08:42   

Getting involved in Texas: how to join the organizations helping to make a difference.

More DI Misinformation. Rob Crowther tries to say that calling the same old arguments a different name makes it all better.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Dr.GH



Posts: 2324
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2008,12:43   

AAAS Addresses Texas Science Standards. AAAS CEO Alan Leshner published an op-ed in the October 22 Houston Chronicle that was critical of efforts by some members of the Texas State Board of Education to water down the teaching of evolution in revisions to the state science standards.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Henry J



Posts: 5760
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2008,13:32   

Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 29 2008,07:42)
Getting involved in Texas: how to join the organizations helping to make a difference.

More DI Misinformation. Rob Crowther tries to say that calling the same old arguments a different name makes it all better.

cdesign proponentsists all over again?

  
Glenn Branch



Posts: 19
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 30 2008,11:04   

<delurk>
Zombie Jamboree in Texas
</delurk>

  
JLT



Posts: 740
Joined: Jan. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 07 2008,10:08   

The Disco institute links to reviews of the proposed Texas science standards. I read (well, sort of) Meyer's and Garner's reviews - now I feel sick.

A highlight from Garner's review:

   
Quote

About Section 7: Evolution
The section in the proposed TEKS dealing with biological evolution has been greatly expanded (from two expectations in the current TEKS to five in the draft), probably reflecting the influence of outside groups who are frustrated with the general public’s skepticism about the more speculative claims of the theory. Although minor degrees of evolution are strongly supported by direct evidence (e.g., antibiotic resistance), the significant amount of evidence for greater degrees of change (i.e., major changes between groups) is necessarily circumstantial in nature. Circumstantial evidence supports conclusions of “the evidence is consistent with…” rather than “the evidence demonstrates that…” These limitations should be made clear in the presentation of this subject, and indeed in any field based on circumstantial evidence. In addition, in my experience and that of many objective scientists, assumptions and speculation are more common in evolutionary biology than in perhaps any other field of science. Many published reports that mention evolution are not in fact evidence for evolution at all; rather, they simply attribute their observations to the process or interpret their data assuming it to be true. In many papers, there appears to be no need to invoke evolution to explain the results, but the authors feel obliged to make their belief in the theory evident as a kind of scientific political correctness. Much has been said about how “science classes should be limited to science, not religion,” and I entirely agree. But speculation and assumptions are not science either. At the very least, assumptions should be identified as such. I am entirely supportive of teaching more about evolution in high school biology IF what is known versus what is speculated or assumed are clearly identified as such, and if the limitations of circumstantial evidence are clearly discussed. This could be accomplished if the TEKS apply a standard requiring that the “strengths and weaknesses” be learned by students.


Meyer's is even worse. Compared to him Garner is open an honest about his intentions.

--------------
"Random mutations, if they are truly random, will affect, and potentially damage, any aspect of the organism, [...]
Thus, a realistic [computer] simulation [of evolution] would allow the program, OS, and hardware to be affected in a random fashion." GilDodgen, Frilly shirt owner

  
Venus Mousetrap



Posts: 201
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 07 2008,10:58   

Quote (JLT @ Nov. 07 2008,10:08)
The Disco institute links to reviews of the proposed Texas science standards. I read (well, sort of) Meyer's and Garner's reviews - now I feel sick.

A highlight from Garner's review:

   
Quote

About Section 7: Evolution
The section in the proposed TEKS dealing with biological evolution has been greatly expanded (from two expectations in the current TEKS to five in the draft), probably reflecting the influence of outside groups who are frustrated with the general public’s skepticism about the more speculative claims of the theory. Although minor degrees of evolution are strongly supported by direct evidence (e.g., antibiotic resistance), the significant amount of evidence for greater degrees of change (i.e., major changes between groups) is necessarily circumstantial in nature. Circumstantial evidence supports conclusions of “the evidence is consistent with…” rather than “the evidence demonstrates that…” These limitations should be made clear in the presentation of this subject, and indeed in any field based on circumstantial evidence. In addition, in my experience and that of many objective scientists, assumptions and speculation are more common in evolutionary biology than in perhaps any other field of science. Many published reports that mention evolution are not in fact evidence for evolution at all; rather, they simply attribute their observations to the process or interpret their data assuming it to be true. In many papers, there appears to be no need to invoke evolution to explain the results, but the authors feel obliged to make their belief in the theory evident as a kind of scientific political correctness. Much has been said about how “science classes should be limited to science, not religion,” and I entirely agree. But speculation and assumptions are not science either. At the very least, assumptions should be identified as such. I am entirely supportive of teaching more about evolution in high school biology IF what is known versus what is speculated or assumed are clearly identified as such, and if the limitations of circumstantial evidence are clearly discussed. This could be accomplished if the TEKS apply a standard requiring that the “strengths and weaknesses” be learned by students.


Meyer's is even worse. Compared to him Garner is open an honest about his intentions.

God damn it why won't these people just go AWAY.

It really is sickening watching these childish tactics of pretending you don't really mean what you mean. WE KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO DO, IT HASN'T ESCAPED OUR ATTENTION THAT CREATIONISTS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO IT FOR DECADES, THAT YOU'RE ALL BASICALLY CREATIONISTS, AND THAT YOU SAID TEN YEARS AGO, ON PAPER, THAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO THIS IN THE NAME OF GOD. You lying scumbags.

The more they do it, the less I believe in their god, who should totally be frying their asses with holy lightning.

  
J. G. Cox



Posts: 38
Joined: Dec. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 11 2008,13:10   

The Texas SBOE is holding its first public hearing on curriculum standards on Wednesday, Nov 19th. This session includes the opportunity for public comment.

If you are in or near Austin, TX, please come and testify. The Texas Freedom Network has all the info you need to do so nicely consolidated, so contact them if you are interested (even if you have no interest in their political stance). You are required to register with the SBOE either Friday or Monday (Nov. 14 and 17) if you want to testify.

Hearings start at 9:00 am. The portion of the hearings relevant to evolution are scheduled for the end, which should be well after lunch. However, some shenanigans are likely, so show up early because it is possible for them to table everything and go right to the public testimony.

That said, I'm planning on testifying, and I wonder what y'all think I should talk about. We only get 3 minutes. I was thinking about hitting the Dover trap idea, and pointing out that since the supposed 'weaknesses' are present only in creationist literature, and have no presence in actual scientific discourse, that lost lawsuits are an inevitability. This would only hurt local school districts and the kids. If I go this route, I'm considering pointing out that past public statements by SBOE board member(s) also leave a religious trail that any lawyer can follow, which makes the inevitable lawsuits even more perilous for local schools. I'm not sure if that would help or hurt, though.

I was also thinking doing the St. Augustine thing, and proclaiming that broadcasting empirical statements that are blatantly false only hurts one's religion by making its proponents seem foolish. I thought that this might be a good rhetorical strategy because the underlying motivations behind all this mess are undeniably religious. However, I'm not sure my heart would be in that argument, since I don't honestly wish for the continued health of religion.

Whadda y'all think?

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 11 2008,13:29   

Any half-way competent intellectual property lawyer is going to be able to demonstrate that the arguments presented by the antievolutionists as "weaknesses" fall into two classes: misrepresentations of scientific findings (telling falsehoods to students serves no secular purpose) or the very same arguments found only in the ensemble of religious antievolution arguments. By copious IP case law, the latter will then be treated by the court as derivative works; the religious antievolutionists cannot shed the history of the ensemble of arguments by the dodge of saying, "But we're only talking about science now." I don't mind laying this out in the open, because I see no escape on this point: either the religious antievolutionists give up the arguments they have used in the past or they reveal their agenda thereby. Practically, they can't give up their past arguments, because that is all they've got.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Dr.GH



Posts: 2324
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 11 2008,15:13   

Quote (J. G. Cox @ Nov. 11 2008,11:10)
The Texas SBOE is holding its first public hearing on curriculum standards on Wednesday, Nov 19th. This session includes the opportunity for public comment.

If you are in or near Austin, TX, please come and testify. The Texas Freedom Network has all the info you need to do so nicely consolidated, so contact them if you are interested (even if you have no interest in their political stance). You are required to register with the SBOE either Friday or Monday (Nov. 14 and 17) if you want to testify.

Hearings start at 9:00 am. The portion of the hearings relevant to evolution are scheduled for the end, which should be well after lunch. However, some shenanigans are likely, so show up early because it is possible for them to table everything and go right to the public testimony.

That said, I'm planning on testifying, and I wonder what y'all think I should talk about. We only get 3 minutes. I was thinking about hitting the Dover trap idea, and pointing out that since the supposed 'weaknesses' are present only in creationist literature, and have no presence in actual scientific discourse, that lost lawsuits are an inevitability. This would only hurt local school districts and the kids. If I go this route, I'm considering pointing out that past public statements by SBOE board member(s) also leave a religious trail that any lawyer can follow, which makes the inevitable lawsuits even more perilous for local schools. I'm not sure if that would help or hurt, though.

I was also thinking doing the St. Augustine thing, and proclaiming that broadcasting empirical statements that are blatantly false only hurts one's religion by making its proponents seem foolish. I thought that this might be a good rhetorical strategy because the underlying motivations behind all this mess are undeniably religious. However, I'm not sure my heart would be in that argument, since I don't honestly wish for the continued health of religion.

Whadda y'all think?

Since you are short of time, there is a similar argument by Aquinas on science:

"In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to be observed, as Augustine teaches.  The first is, to hold to the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it be proved with certainty to be false, lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing." - Thomas Aquinas, c.a. 1225 - 1274, Summa Theological (1273).

It is shorter than the usual quote by Augustine (which is also mentioned by Aquinas).

I like to take along a Bible, preferablely a KJV. Just after reading the Aquinas quote, I hold it up by the 3 physical pages that contain Genesis 1 through 11. The entire young earth creationist dogma reduces to their insistance on a "literal" interpretation of these three pages. They insist that the entire rest of the Bible is false if those 3 pages have any meaning other than that peculiar to YEC.

Only the most adamant athiests would agree with such a radical position, as there is no way to resolve the YEC dogma with physical reality.

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 18 2008,09:44   

19 Out of 20 Science Professors Prefer Science

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
JLT



Posts: 740
Joined: Jan. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,07:07   

That's hysterical:

 
Quote
One of the few voices from the other side [the anti-evolution side] came from Paul Kramer, a Carrollton engineer, who said that more than 700 eminent scientists welcome the teaching of pros and cons about evolution. Not allowing debate over untested and unproven theories "seems out of place in a free society” and is reminiscent of book-burning in Nazi Germany, he said.


Source: Evolution proponents descend on State Board of Education

--------------
"Random mutations, if they are truly random, will affect, and potentially damage, any aspect of the organism, [...]
Thus, a realistic [computer] simulation [of evolution] would allow the program, OS, and hardware to be affected in a random fashion." GilDodgen, Frilly shirt owner

  
Henry J



Posts: 5760
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,10:14   

Somebody should point out to that guy that "not allowing debate in the classroom" is not the same thing as not allowing debate. Debate, to have any real meaning*, has to be between people who have familiarity with the subject; students are by definition those who don't (yet) have that familiarity. Sheesh.

(*It also has to be in a format that avoids informed responses being drowned out by breathtaking inanities.)

Henry

  
dvunkannon



Posts: 1377
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,17:42   

Quote (JLT @ Nov. 20 2008,08:07)
That's hysterical:

 
Quote
One of the few voices from the other side [the anti-evolution side] came from Paul Kramer, a Carrollton engineer, who said that more than 700 eminent scientists welcome the teaching of pros and cons about evolution. Not allowing debate over untested and unproven theories "seems out of place in a free society” and is reminiscent of book-burning in Nazi Germany, he said.


Source: Evolution proponents descend on State Board of Education

Someone should point out that the "eminent scientists" include JAD, Berlinski, DDrr.. Dembski, Granville Sewell and many others of suspect sciencieness.

(No disrespect to Mims, Heddle, etc. who are also on that list.)

--------------
I’m referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
I’m not an evolutionist, I’m a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 2324
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,17:49   

I have made a few comments on the Star-Telegram site.

Who are you others?

If you are not posting, why not?

There has been a frequent newspaper site commenter, bobxxx, I have seen at dozens of newspaper sites who is a particularly jackassery sort. They post a little bit of pro-sciecency and a lot of anti-Christian. I am thinking that they are the "anti-Poe," a creationist trying to make us look stupid.

Edited by Dr.GH on Nov. 20 2008,15:52

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 21 2008,14:39   

Quote

I am thinking that they are the "anti-Poe," a creationist trying to make us look stupid.


There are certainly enough of those around.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 21 2008,16:15   

bobxxxx is an old time denizen of world magazine blog.  i think he is the real deal, i.e. an underinformed angry rude person (who is not particularly funny, an important distinction) who just happens to be on the pro-science side.  he went to a catholic school and hated every minute of it.  he was booted from world several years ago and hasn't shown back up.

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 25 2008,11:18   

I've taken a pass at listing things mentioned in the SBOE hearings on the 19th that were standard religious antievolution arguments masquerading as "weaknesses". There's even a board member commenting on a Gish Gallop served up by an antievolutionist as being "science" and just the sort of thing that the board is seeking to promote. That's going to play so well in court.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
midwifetoad



Posts: 4003
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 25 2008,13:05   

Quote
That's going to play so well in court.

I'm not an Obama fan, but I do have some hopes that his science advisers will be this side of reality from Deepshit d'Oprah.

I know a lot of IDiots were counting on the Supreme Court changing in their favor. Perhaps they should go back to their test tubes, if they have 'em.

--------------
Any version of ID consistent with all the evidence is indistinguishable from evolution.

  
bystander



Posts: 301
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 25 2008,14:26   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Nov. 26 2008,06:05)
Quote
That's going to play so well in court.

I'm not an Obama fan, but I do have some hopes that his science advisers will be this side of reality from Deepshit d'Oprah.

I know a lot of IDiots were counting on the Supreme Court changing in their favor. Perhaps they should go back to their test tubes, if they have 'em.

I don't think that it was coincidental that DrDr D left UD just after the election. It wouldn't surprise me if somebody with a modicum of sense said that the only way to move forward in an Obama administration is to start to look sciency again and nix the culture war stuff.

  
bfish



Posts: 267
Joined: Feb. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 25 2008,18:04   

Quote (bystander @ Nov. 25 2008,12:26)
I don't think that it was coincidental that DrDr D left UD just after the election. It wouldn't surprise me if somebody with a modicum of sense said that the only way to move forward in an Obama administration is to start to look sciency again and nix the culture war stuff.

So who was the person with a modicum of sense who tipped off Dembski that he should move on?

  
  92 replies since Oct. 14 2008,09:44 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (4) < [1] 2 3 4 >   


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]