Why do scientists hate freedom so much?

Oh, maybe cause ‘academic freedom’ is the post 9/11 jingoist new buzzword radical Christians are using to squirt warm, salty Creationism, Global Warming Denialism, and pro-life arguments into public schools.

YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!

Via NCSE:

The State Board of Education, district boards of education, district superintendents and administrators, and public school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.

In a SCIENCE classroom, the SCIENCE behind evilution, global warming, and stem cells is NON CONTROVERSIAL. It is what it is.

  • Populations of organisms change over time.
  • The Earth is getting warmer because of human generated carbon emissions.
  • Embryonic stem cells are totipotent, ie they can develop into any kind of cell.

Fantastic.

These issues only become ‘controversial’ when ANTI-SCIENCE is brought into the mix.

  • The Christian god created the universe 6000 years ago.
  • We dont need to stop global warming because Jesus is coming back tomorrow.
  • Our lord and savior Jesus Christ made embryonic stem cells totipotent to make babies to trap souls, not to cure paralysis.

Kids dont need to learn to be ‘respectful’ of anti-science in science class.

They need to learn about science.

Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.

‘Scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of scientific theories’… When does this shit come up in class anyway, outside of Creationism?

In which fourth grade class do they learn about the pros/cons of stem cell research? When do they debate whether B-cells can revert to a pluripotent state to redevelop into macrophages?

Are there really that many high school seniors losing sleep because they think sometimes non-adaptive alleles can become fixed in a population by chance alone, while their teacher is a staunch adaptionist?

Really??

If you are really concerned about students and teachers free speech rights in the classroom, contact your local ACLU to volunteer.

If you are just a Creationist trying to give Creationist teachers and brainwashed children a free pass, grow a fucking pair of balls. Have the courage of your convictions. Call your bullshit what it is– CREATIONISM– and be proud of it, just like Jesus wants. Hiding behind vague legislation, calling it ‘Academic Freedom’ so your radical religious views are more palatable to the general public? You are pathetic.

Comments

  1. #1 Chayanov
    January 6, 2009

    Funnily enough, in my Human Origins class, I already talk about the strengths and weaknesses of current research, including real controversies, not manufactroversies. Thanks, idiots, but I don’t need you politicians and creationists giving me permission to do my job. Sheesh.

  2. #2 Tyler DiPietro
    January 7, 2009

    “Are there really that many high school seniors losing sleep because they think sometimes non-adaptive alleles can become fixed in a population by chance alone, while their teacher is a staunch adaptionist?”

    I decree from here on out that Kimura’s Neutral Theory be mandatory reading for high school biology students. From what I hear it has some neato differential equations.

  3. #3 Miguel
    January 7, 2009

    If by “respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues” they mean “bitch-slap the anti-science buffoons”, then I’m all for it.

  4. #4 Neil
    January 7, 2009

    As a biology teacher (UK though not US) I find this baffling.
    I teach my students (or try to) not to blindly accept stuff but to look at the evidence. Not just when covering evolution but with everything. This of course does not mean giving balance to both ‘sides’ in real science there are no ‘sides’ only evidence, the total lack of any evidence contary to modern evolutionary theory makes it impssible to be balanced, there is no balance.
    I would hope the same is true in the US, I suspect it is from reading the NCSE advice.

  5. #5 Stephen Bahl
    January 7, 2009

    “Are there really that many high school seniors losing sleep because they think sometimes non-adaptive alleles can become fixed in a population by chance alone, while their teacher is a staunch adaptionist?”

    I’ve never fully recovered from it. The horror, the horror.

  6. #6 becca
    January 7, 2009

    “respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.”
    *thinks back to a sympsoium where two Uni Chicago profs got into an argument in the Q&A that left all the ‘normal’ academics rather scandalized with the intensity of it all*
    *giggles at the idea of how rare it is scientists respond appropriately and respectfully to actual differences of scientific interpertation*

    Ah, come on erv… you’re just mad that the young kiddies are going to learn a skill you never managed.
    *ducks*

    “In which fourth grade class do they learn about the pros/cons of stem cell research?”
    If stem cells had been a bit more advanced when I was in fourth grade, our classroom might have. I think fourth grade was the year we put ciggy the cigarette on trial (and while that is looked at as non-controversial now, there are actually some medical sub-questions re: secondhand smoke which really were controversial; and certainly how we should integrate the medical information to form just laws [which was the focus of the unit] is still controversial to this day, and rather educational to discuss, IMO).
    But fourth grade might have been the year we did the unit on acid rain, and discussed the pros/cons of various measures of addressing the problem (is it just me, or does nobody ever talk about acid rain anymore?).

    “When do they debate whether B-cells can revert to a pluripotent state to redevelop into macrophages?”
    Seriously, if we could get people to the point where K-12 covers this, I think we’d be much better for it. That’s what they should be teaching…

  7. #7 DC
    January 7, 2009

    My son is in 9th grade honors HS biology right now. There is zero time or room to learn anything but the massive amount of interelated details. It is so far beyond my 1975 HS biology. There is no relevant debate. The goal of this specific class is gain mastery of the material and to set up for AP Bio in the 10th grade (to get a score of 4 or 5), or to score high on the SAT II E/M in June and move onto Chemistry. That is why we are paying massive private school tutition and stay out of range of the local fundies.

    The school moves the kids back to regular bio if they fall to a low C since they won’t be able do well on the SAT II at that piont, and defintely will not move onto A/P. If you want to be a creationist, you are welcome to be one, at home. You will get a ‘F’ by answering with creation answers – don’t like it? Change schools now. But you will not be permitted to obstruct the others who will have to compete with the rest of the high acheivers in 3 years for top college admissions.
    The parents, kids and school have zero interest in anything like some bogus ‘balance’ nonsense. Its not on the SAT II or the AP Bio test.

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    January 7, 2009

    On the bright side, now the history teachers will be free to Teach the Controversy(TM) over whether Jesus existed. . . right?

  9. #9 Janine
    January 7, 2009

    No Blake, now the history teachers will be free to Teach The Controversy(TM) over whether The Holocaust happened. And the Lunar Landing were staged. And Wilson allowed The Lusitania to be sunk. And all of Israel was enslaved by Babylon.

  10. #10 Andrés Diplotti
    January 7, 2009

    They’re talking nonsense. A response to creationism can be appropriate. A response to creationism can be respectful. But both? Sorry, can’t do. That’s like trying to divide by zero.

  11. #11 rrt
    January 7, 2009

    After Dover, a lot of people predicted this is the direction they’d shift…just trash science education in general and leave the door wide open. But I think it’s a wrong to say this is about creationism anymore. I don’t think we’ve been forcing them in a certain direction with the courts. I think we’ve just been pruning back the bush, and now we’re down to the root. When you look at so many of their statements, the Wedge doc being the best example, you can see that this is really about science. To them, science is a competing religion. Anything that explains reality without invoking their particular Sky Fairy is inherently opposed. So yeah…whether they call it materialism, science, evilution, atheism or satanism, it’s all ultimately the same thing. So of course science must be trashed.

  12. #12 Sili
    January 7, 2009

    (is it just me, or does nobody ever talk about acid rain anymore?).

    Is it still a problem? Didn’t we introduce strict standards about sulfur content and emissions?

    Well, I guess China should have an enormous problem now. Anyone know?

  13. #13 abb3w
    January 7, 2009

    These issues only become ‘controversial’ when ANTI-SCIENCE is brought into the mix.

    Not quite. Controversy, however, is a natural feature of POLITICS, which despite the degrees granted in “Political Science” is not yet a Science.

    In particular, the morality of performing stem cell research can be debated, even without theological premises. (However, it’s bloody hard to hear any such debate amidst all the religious screaming.) Of course, morality is also not a formal scientific field. (Yet.)

  14. #14 elucifuga
    January 7, 2009

    This is just one of three bad bills introduced so far in the Oklahoma Lege that readers of this blog are likely to despise (for good reason!). Two others are:

    Senate Joint Resolution 8 (SJR 8)calls for a vote of the people to amend the State constitution to allow prayer in public schools. The Oklahoma Constitution now has much stronger provisions for church/state separation than the U.S. Constitution. SJR 8 would be declared unconstitutional in Federal courts, but that does not stop the legislators in this most red of all states from trolling for their perceived votes of their fundie constituents.

    House Bill 1001 (�Religious Viewpoints Antidiscrimination Act�) has appeared again. An exact bill last year authored by the infamous Rep. Sally Kern (�Gays are more dangerous than terrorists.� etc.). It was vetoed last session by the Governor after a huge response by state and national organizations and many messages from Oklahoma voters. It would allow religion into many aspects of public schools. The same bill is now law in Texas! Although science topics are not directly mentioned in this bill, the legislators who supported it last year did mention �evolution� as a target.

    These bills should be fought with vigor by Oklahoma citizens, not just to kill the legislation, but also to educate folks of the dangers. If these bills make it to a floor vote in the Lege, they will pass, especially this year where both houses are controlled by Republicans, the first time in state history.

    Anti-evolution attempts have appeared in nine of the past ten years in Oklahoma � all were eventually defeated, but this year may well be different. For those in Oklahoma who wish to keep informed on these bills (and other issues), a link for the e-mail subscription to the Oklahoma Evolution List Serve is on the Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education (OESE) website: http://www.oklascience.edu/ For those in other states, there are similar list serves organized by NCSE and AIBS � some more active than others. The Oklahoma Evolution List Serve is perhaps the largest with about 700 subscribers. In addition those who want to help improve science education in Oklahoma can join or donate to OESE on the web site. OESE led the fight in past years to oppose attempts to reduce the quality of sci-ed and continues to promote good science in a variety of means.

  15. #15 Miguel
    January 7, 2009

    @Blake Stacey

    Typical crass remark from a bigoted Christophobe… Oops, sorry! I just had an attack of teh stupid.

  16. #16 ttch
    January 8, 2009

    Will the students be encouraged to “develop critical thinking skills” regarding abstinence-only sex education?

  17. #17 Stephen Wells
    January 8, 2009

    @12: China burns a lot of rather dirty coal. They have air quality issues like you wouldn’t believe. Europe and the USA more or less cleaned up their act, acid-rain wise, which is why you hear less about it these days.

  18. #18 Lab Rat
    January 8, 2009

    heh this brings me back to the first day of lectures at uni, when one of our lecturerers said: “now we are here to teach you how to think and respond scientifically *pause* well, actually no, we’re here to stuff you full of facts about biochemistry, but do try to do some thinking if you have time.”

    he was right, incedentally. =D

  19. #19 Herbert
    January 19, 2009

    Academic freedom is all well and good for researchers pushing the boundaries, but in a high school general science curriculum, it’s a silly idea. There’s enough material to cram in, and it needs to last most of the students many decades, that it’s completely pointless to teach uncertain science.

    Far better to kick it out and teach something that’s sure to remain true in 30 years. Unless it’s so obviously important (such as nuclear weapons during the cold war, computer technology today) that it’s useful despite the rapid change in science.

    The historical fact of evolution (the law of faunal succession, to give it its original 1790s name) is unquestioned. As is Darwin’s theory on the origin of species by means of natural selection that explains how it happens. Now referred to by the shorter name of “theory of evolution”.

    Being the keystone of modern biology and ecology, it’s valuable and important to teach. After all, if you want to understand extinctions, you have to know about the Malthusian struggle that powers natural selection.

  20. #20 William Wallace
    January 22, 2009

    Okay, my two favorite lines ever:

    I think I am going to need a hacksaw.–Jack Bauer, season 2 episode 1

    and

    …squirt warm, salty Creationism…–ERV

    Both are very sick.

  21. #21 dawne27
    February 26, 2009

    you folks are really too much! ha ha ha…the ‘keystone of modern biology/ecology’ (snort)….the idea of evolution is falling apart rapidly with onset of modern day biological research and technology. HA! i can’t believe you people are holding onto such an outdated concept and one HOLES of holes WHY…. because you simply want to continue to be naughty, accountable BABIES! i’m tellin’ ya kids…it’s gonna come back to bite your little arses! open your minds…give peace a chance…discover the truth…you’ll feel better in the morning!

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