Respectful Insolence

Duck, everyone!

Matt (a.k.a. The Pooflinger) has found a PDF file containing a brand new FAQ about Kansas’s new science standards, the ones that purport to “teach the controversy” about evolution. While I’m on a roll about evolution (and, yes, the next installment of my Medicine and Evolution series should come by the end of the week, Monday at the latest), I thought I’d mention this. Naturally, seeing what a target-rich environment the FAQ is, the Pooflinger can’t resist proceeding to do what The Pooflinger does best: Flinging poo at the FAQ, giving it a great fisking.

A brief excerpt:

From the FAQ:

Q: How do parents want evolution taught?

A: Parents want evolution taught honestly. Most Polls conducted by highly regarded organizations show that more than 80% of the public oppose an “evolution only” curriculum, i.e., one that discourages critical analysis of evolution.

The Pooflinger’s response:

Parents want evolution taught honestly? Sorry, but bullshit. The parents who really want evolution taught honestly aren’t the ones bullying teachers into silence and protesting that evolution needs to be balanced with their religious teachings… they are the ones showing up to school board meetings to affirm the scientific consensus and joining or forming groups such as KCFS. Who gives a shit, anyway, what the majority of the uneducated and ill-informed public wants science to say? Goddamned lemmings. Go ahead and jump off that cliff… I have a Darwin Award set aside just for you.

Also, since when does “evolution only” disallow “critical analysis” of the theory? These parents don’t want real critical analysis at all… they want creationist talking points to be introduced in class to help give their precious fundie pupae some ammo against us evilution supporters. Without having “critical analysis” carefully defined in the standards, the door is opened for all sorts of bullshit arguments against evolution. I’d be willing to bet that the first time Johnny Fundie Pupae comes home from a class where a well-informed teacher shows them the antievolution arguments and then proceeds to deconstruct each of them in a short and concise way, his parents will be clamoring to have said teacher removed and possibly burned at the stake. “Evolution only” just means that there is no scientific alternative to teach, which there isn’t. Do we want to lie to our kids? I certainly don’t… not by a longshot.

I love a good fisking, particularly when accompanied by much throwing of poo at a worthy target; so you really should read the rest when you’re through here. In fact, why should Matt have all the fun? Feel free to add your own comments about this misbegotten propaganda piece.

My addition:

Q: Are the changes educationally appropriate? It has been argued that many biology teachers will disregard them.

A: Yes. They seek objective discussions of origins that are less stressful for students and teachers. Teachers testified that they are afraid to teach origins objectively because of pressure from institutions of science and education. Professor Warren Nord argued that a liberal education requires teaching both sides of controversial issues.

Translation: “Less stressful”=”Let’s not trouble any fundamentalist parents who can’t stand it that science contradicts their literalistic interpretation of the Bible and would sacrifice the science education of others (whose parents may not share their religious beliefs) in order to protect their children from such heresy. The FAQ also conveniently leaves out the fact that it is those opposed to the teaching of evolution, not those eeeviiilll atheistic evilotionists, who are the very ones making teachers afraid to teach origins objectively, which, in an honest assessment, would involve teaching evolution and dissecting the obvious fallacies of creationism, both the young earth and “intelligent design” varieties. It is those who want to foist a religious view of the origins of humans and the diversity of life that contradicts the known scientific evidence who are upset that those nasty scientists have the temerity to complain and urge the teaching of actual science.

Your turn.

Comments

  1. #1 pough
    March 28, 2006

    I’m fine with that one FAQ example. The evolution should remain honest; it’s the criticisms of evolution that need to be dishonest. So let’s just rewrite it a bit:

    Q: How do parents want evolution taught?

    A: Parents want evolution taught honestly. Most Polls conducted by highly regarded organizations show that more than 80% of the public oppose an “evolution only” curriculum, i.e., one that discourages bullshit criticisms of evolution taught alongside honest evolution.

  2. #2 ebohlman
    March 28, 2006

    Oh great. “Both sides of controversial issues,” my ass. What’s next, both sides of the Holocaust “controversy”? Really, when it comes to evolution, the actual “two sides” are:

    1) The diversity and interrelationship of living organisms is a natural phenomenon that can be explained by the same laws of nature as other natural phenomena and can be investigated by the same scientific methodoloy as other natural phenomena.

    2) The diversity and interrelationship of living organisms can only be “understood” by postulating non-observable, non-falsifiable, non-testable principles whose truth or falsity is determined by the intensity of the believer’s emotions. Science cannot even in principle investigate the matter; speciation cannot in fact be understood by mankind at all; the only way to deal with it is to recite from memory the pronouncements of authority figures. The same methodologies that have been so useful in explaining other aspects of the natural world simply fail to explain speciation, even though they always (well, as close to “always” as is possible in science) produce verifiable and verified predictions.

    Position 2) is really little more than a proclamation that there’s no such thing as physical reality; the world is little more than a collection of conflicting emotions and desires. “Fact” is just what the Powerful call their wishes. Everyone has their own personal reality, and the various realities are fundamentally incompatible and in fact at war with each other.

    An even simpler statement of position 2) might be “the height of Western Civilization was achieved in the years between the fall of Rome and the rise of Charlemagne.”

  3. #3 IAMB
    March 28, 2006

    Thanks for the bump Orac.

    The above comment would really make a great addition to the original. If the evil little gopher hiding in the darkest recesses of my brain were to take control, I’d be honestly tempted to use some of my more interesting programs to add the suggested changes into the actual pdf that’s online.

    However, since I actually have some morals, the most I can bring myself to do is fantasize about what I could do. Damn morals anyway… and damn copyright laws.

  4. #4 outeast
    March 29, 2006

    Do it, IAMB!! Sod those so-called morals – a quick reappraisal of your moral system will in any case reveal that a hatchet job is the moral course to take and that leaving this unsabotaged when it lies within your power to wreck it is the immoral path. Heed my words!

  5. #5 bfranky
    March 29, 2006

    According to the new “Department of Homeland Decency: Decency Rules and Regulations Manual” there are strict guidelines for teaching evolution today in the Homeland. “Those who teach evolution will accompany those lessons with photos of monkeys and apes in unattractive poses in zoos, doing the things they usually do, like eating bananas and picking things off each others’ heads. The study of Intelligent Design will be accomanied by beautiful photos of God sitting on a cloud and pointing at the beautifulness of the Homeland.” Check it out at http://www.homelanddecency.com

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