Pharyngula

Get the popcorn!

Floridians are meeting to discuss evolution! You just have to read one account, complete with quotes, of a creationist mob trying to articulate their opposition to science. There are plenty of amusing examples of dumbitude, but this one is my favorite:

Referring to the discovery that Pluto no longer is considered a planet by scientists today, Kendall said scientific opinions can change as scientists explore new information.

You have to understand…this fellow Kendall was using that as an argument against evolution.

Comments

  1. #1 FutureMD
    January 30, 2008

    The reference to the “discovery” that Pluto is not a planet is funny in itself. It makes it sound like we found a sign on Pluto that said “not really a Planet, sorry.”

  2. #2 talapus
    January 30, 2008

    The link appears to have been slashdotted, er, … pharyngulated.

  3. #3 Sili
    January 30, 2008

    FutureMD,

    I thought we sent new Horizons there to read the fine print.

  4. #4 Hank Fox
    January 30, 2008

    Gomers.

  5. #5 Hank Fox
    January 30, 2008

    Gomers.

  6. #6 KiwiInOz
    January 30, 2008

    They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It’s not replicable. It’s clearly a belief,” Kemple said. “

    As compared to, say “They believe that 6000-10000 years ago there was nothing (but god), then suddenly after six days there was everything.”

    And yes, Kemple is wrong in so many ways, but he also misses the irony.

  7. #7 Dutch Delight
    January 30, 2008

    I’m left wondering who was the first to discover Pluto was not a planet and if he got the chance to name it again?

  8. #8 James
    January 30, 2008

    PZ & co.,
    Is it worth writing to Florida school boards over this, or is it waste of time? Entertainment value aside, I’d love to act.

  9. #9 jeff
    January 30, 2008

    Somehow, by changing what we call a ball of rock out there, we can actually falsify its existence. So they learned that lesson, and now they’re applying it to evolution. No big deal.

  10. #10 Blaise Pascal
    January 30, 2008

    The more I read quotes like that, the more I become convinced of my developing hypothesis that its not evolution that’s the problem, but change. I mean, think about it:

    They reject the notion that the earth, and the life that lives on it, has radically changed over millenia, in favor of the notion that since its creation the earth, and the life on it, has been relatively constant in form and function.

    They consider it a failing of science that when confronted by evidence scientists will change what they consider the “truth”, as compared to the superior “truth” of the never-changing Bible (or other revealed religious work). They also reject any evidence that the Bible has changed.

    Politically, they held it against John Kerry that he changed his opinion on issues after gaining more evidence, while they are (or were) proud of W’s insistence of sticking to a decision or opinion once made even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    As such, an appeal along the lines of “Scientists don’t know what they are doing because they ‘discovered’ Pluto isn’t a planet and changed their collective minds.” works because, to them and their audience, Change Is Bad. Admitting error is bad. They don’t make mistakes, or at least the folks they listen to don’t. d/dt (mind) = 0.

    As opposed to folks on this side of the debate, the more highly trained of which observe change, quantify error, embrace the notion that Science isn’t revelation, but conversation. We understand that Principia Mathematica, On The Origin of Species, and Über einen die Erzeugung und Verwandlung des Lichtes betreffenden heuristischen Gesichtspunkt are not handed down from on high, absolute truth not to be questioned, but rather are brilliant insights by people — humans, with flaws and errors of their own — who saw what others saw and put it together differently than anyone else did at the time. Their work is added to the conversation and built upon by others as time goes by.

    We embrace change; they fear it. We don’t understand how they can think that way; they don’t understand how we can think this way. I think I’m onto something here.

  11. #11 Will E.
    January 30, 2008

    Forget the popcorn; for shit like this, I need a good stiff drink.

  12. #12 Sir Craig
    January 30, 2008

    For a while there I thought the article was going to be more balanced than anything we would expect from Baptist News – sure, they included in the beginning the inane, nay asinine comment about Pluto, but it was followed up with quotes from a couple of actual sane people saying that the new standards were non-dogmatic and meant to prepare students not just for further, continued higher education but for the real world.

    And then comes the Baptist punchline. Example after example of creationist soundbites, from “the new standards stifle openmindedness” to “evolution is unproven” without mentioning which parts are unproven. It is also clearly evident that these pinheads have no idea what evolution is. (“They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something.” This is NOT evolutionary theory, but I think everyone here is aware of that.) They parade a list of so-called “well-educated people” who disagree with evolutionary theory, and not a one of them is connected to any biological study. Plus a “senior fellow” of a “think tank” from the CWA? Please…

    Let’s just hope the school board isn’t half as retarded as these creationists.

  13. #13 idlemind
    January 30, 2008

    So, even though in itself it changes not a whit about what we know concerning the-dwarf-planet-formerly-known-as-planet-pluto — no change in hypotheses, no discredited theory — this change in categorization is supposed to prove that scientists are so fallible that they don’t know a planet from a peanut?

    The fact is that a slow accumulation of data suggested that Pluto really was just one member of a substantial class of trans-neptunian rocky snowball, leading to this change in categorization. Whereas the Bible, like Dewars, never varies. Fundamentalists consider this proof of science’s weakness, when it’s just proof of the Bible’s irrelevancy.

  14. #14 MAJeff
    January 30, 2008

    “My objection to their proposal is that, at its core, the suggested science standard relative to evolution is a set of beliefs unproven. They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It’s not replicable. It’s clearly a belief,” Kemple said. “You can give it a name and call it evolution, but it is nonetheless a set of beliefs.”

    Kemple noted that a set of beliefs is typically considered a religion or non-religion. A large number of educated people believe evolution is not correct, he noted, and thus, as a set of beliefs, it should not be taught without stating its shortcomings.

    Robin Brown, a retired middle school science teacher from Polk County, quoted from a number of well-educated people who disagree with the theory of evolution. Drawing from philosopher Karl Popper, astronomer Fred Hoyle, law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson and quantum physicist Paul Davies, Brown discussed ideas promoted by these men that argue against evolution and/or develop the idea of Intelligent Design.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work. [/Kent Brockman]

    The pathetic thing is that these folks think they’re actually engaging in intellectual debate instead of showing off how intellectually vacuous they really are.

  15. #15 danley
    January 30, 2008

    Dem der scine kin cjange. It burns so bad I’m fucking charred like a goddamn amberjack.

  16. #16 idlemind
    January 30, 2008

    B.P.: Bingo. Change makes them anxious. Known unknowns make them nervous, while the unknown unknowns are scary beyond all reason. It’s a refusal to Grow Up and glimpse the world as it is.

  17. #17 Pierce R. Butler
    January 30, 2008

    Is it worth writing to Florida school boards over this, or is it waste of time?

    The individual school boards are IMHO pretty much a lost cause, particularly for those outside each district in question.

    The decisive decision is due from, and constructive comments are needed at, the Florida State Board of Ed. Florida Citizens for Science has a call to action with all of the relevant addresses.

  18. #18 Triphesas
    January 30, 2008

    Only to a creationist is the ability to reevaluate past conclusions based on new data a bad thing.

  19. #19 Tom K
    January 30, 2008

    “They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something.”

    The fact that people seriously think that this is a scientific a conclusion of the big bang theory and evolution probably highlights the shortcomings of the science education people have been given at school.

  20. #20 Pierce R. Butler
    January 30, 2008

    My previous attempt at answering James @ 7 was held for moderation because I got too cute with links. Short version: Florida Citizens for Science has a call to action with all of the relevant addresses.

  21. #21 CS
    January 30, 2008

    If I close my eyes and believe it hard enough and all the people I surround myself around believe it too…then it is reality. How very post-modern of these braindead hicks.

  22. #22 James
    January 30, 2008

    Pierce: Thank you! I know a few folks in Florida, too, perhaps I can get them to chime in if they’re in the affected counties.

  23. #23 extatyzoma
    January 30, 2008

    oh jesus, that pluto argument is one of the best yet. So its been discovered its not a planet and so now we have some new and unique appreciation of pluto that we didnt before.

    the trouble is that some people will hear that and find it a reasonable argument but these are people who will laugh at you you tell them if a shark is a fish and a goldfish is a fish then you are also a fish.

  24. #24 Moopheus
    January 30, 2008

    “Drawing from philosopher Karl Popper, astronomer Fred Hoyle, law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson and quantum physicist Paul Davies”

    Which one of these things is not like the others?

  25. #25 raven
    January 30, 2008

    The more I read quotes like that, the more I become convinced of my developing hypothesis that its not evolution that’s the problem, but change. I mean, think about it:

    You are overintellectualizing. They are just ignorant hicks. They never got much of an education and don’t value education or see why anyone else would. So being an antiscience bigot and religious fanatic seems perfectly natural to them. I bet if you looked, the dumber the comments, the less educated they are, and the farther down the socioeconomic ladder they are.

    Pigs wallow in mud, fundies wallow in ignorance.

  26. #26 Bride of Shrek
    January 30, 2008

    Has anyone told Pluto yet?

  27. #27 extatyzoma
    January 30, 2008

    kiwinoz already did this but i just gotta do it again…

    “My objection to their proposal is that, at its core, the suggested science standard (please no!) relative to creationism is a set of beliefs unproven. They believe that thousands of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It’s not replicable. It’s clearly a belief,” Kemple said. “You can give it a name and call it creationism, but it is nonetheless a set of beliefs.”

    its funny but i agree!!

  28. #28 raven
    January 30, 2008

    “Drawing from philosopher Karl Popper, astronomer Fred Hoyle, law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson and quantum physicist Paul Davies”

    The list is bogus. Karl Popper once said evolution wasn’t falsifiable but never said it was wrong. He later changed his mind and said it was falsifiable. Asshole liars.

    I’d be surprised if Hoyle was antievo. He had a competing theory to the Big Bang, steady state. Nothing wrong with that but few buy it today. I have no idea who Paul Davies is, but why should I care what a quantum physicists thinks about treating allergies, training my goldfish, or evolution anyway.

    Phillip Johnson is a fundie lawyer and a father of ID. He recently said ID had no proof and wasn’t ready for prime time. He is rumored to be very old and not in good health.

  29. #29 raven
    January 30, 2008

    They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It’s not replicable. It’s clearly a belief,” Kemple said. “

    Friggin moron doesn’t even know what evolution is. I think he confuses it with the Big Bang cosmology. Of which there is mountains of proof. Or how old the universe is, try 13.7 billion years old. Or what the Big Bang actually was.

    Teaching science in Florida schools sounds like a good idea. When will they start, if ever? A first time for everything.

  30. #30 Brownian, OM
    January 30, 2008

    Obviously, these poor saps have never had the pleasure of finding things out.

  31. #31 KiwiInOz
    January 30, 2008

    Posted by: Tom K | January 30, 2008 9:59 PM

    My kids switched over to Americas Next Top Model the other day. The model wannabes were posing atop elephants, and one of them commented that being on the elephant made her feel closer to dinosaurs, because elephants were in the dinosaur family.

    Now they are not brain surgeons, but where was that old time elementary science education?

  32. #32 Les Lane
    January 30, 2008

    Is a religion that’s comfortable with scientific incompetence likely to be comfortable with theological incompetence?

  33. #33 Carlie
    January 30, 2008

    The Pluto thing doesn’t really fit, either. Scientists did not “discover” that Pluto wasn’t a planet. What they discovered were several other bodies that made their current classification scheme unworkable unless either Pluto was reclassified as not a planet or a lot of other things got named as planets, and they decided it made the most sense to change the category Pluto got put in.

  34. #34 foxfire
    January 30, 2008

    re #13:

    The pathetic thing is that these folks think they’re actually engaging in intellectual debate instead of showing off how intellectually vacuous they really are.

    “Amen”(sorry MAJeff – word fits). The ignorance about the basic nature of science – what science is and how it works is astounding.

  35. #35 Brownian, OM
    January 30, 2008

    On the other hand, maybe these people have a point. I’m sure they’d be much more comfortable mashing mice into poultices for their ailments then relying on those stupid “scientific” doctors and their ever-changing advances in medicine.

  36. #36 Marcus Ranum
    January 30, 2008

    They believe that millions of years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It’s not replicable.

    Creationist idiots believe that 6,000 years ago there was nothing and then suddenly there was something. They have no proof. It’s not replicable.

    I begin to believe in miracles. It’s a miracle that these fucktards are able to learn basic potty-training, and how to speak and write.

    raven writes:
    Pigs wallow in mud, fundies wallow in ignorance.

    Actually, left to their own devices and with enough space, pigs are fairly clean animals. But you can leave a fundie in a library and it’ll still wallow in ignorance.

  37. #37 Marcus Ranum
    January 30, 2008

    I don’t get it. Religions change their mind all the time. Like the mormontards who decided that black people actually can get into heaven (as servants) because they were too chicken to stand by their beliefs in the face of the civil rights movement. Or the various christiantards who’ve decided that homosexuality is OK because they realized that their congregations and ministries are already full of gays. Religions change their “mind” constantly – and based on opportunism, political expedience, or convenience. At least the scientists who argued about whether Pluto was a planet or not weren’t worried about whether the disagreement was going to hit them in the collection-plate.

  38. #38 Max Udargo
    January 30, 2008

    On the other hand – on the bright side – this David Campbell dude fucking rocks:

    “Did we eliminate other concepts? Yes, we did,” said Campbell, who identified himself as a lifelong Christian. “We did not include Intelligent Design based on legal work and on decisions made earlier. I would also point out that we eliminated dogmatic ideas like flat earth, astrology, geocentrism and the prospect that canals on Mars were actually constructed by intelligent life.”

    Within the scientific community, Campbell asserted, there is no argument about the specifics of evolution. “The standards we prepared are designed to prepare students for the real world — advanced high school courses, college courses and ultimately the real world in life,” he said.

    Campbell also stated, “Biology without evolution is like physics without movement, like chemistry without the periodic table. It’s the glue that holds our subject together.”

    Somebody give that man a lifetime’s supply of microphones.

  39. #39 Ryan Young
    January 31, 2008

    I truly believe florida is a microcosm of america’s problems.

  40. #40 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    January 31, 2008

    It amazes me that these people allege with certainty that there are flaws and errors in evolutionary theory which must be taught in public schools and yet they won’t share their evidence with the scientific community.

    There are thousands of scientists going over the evidence for evolution, and every one of them would love to find a flaw or error in the current consensus or even just a way to expand the explanatory power of the theory.

    They claim that some scientists are privy to this evidence but for reasons not fully explained, are refusing to publish and earn themselves citations, fame, job promotions and Nobel prizes.

    Not only are they ignorant of science, these people really, really don’t understand scientists.

  41. #41 Drekab
    January 31, 2008

    but these are people who will laugh at you you tell them if a shark is a fish and a goldfish is a fish then you are also a fish.

    Please explain. (something along the lines of sharks and goldfish branching apart before humans branched apart from one of them?)

  42. #42 Josh Rosenau
    January 31, 2008

    Kendall is not a fellow, there are two X chromosomes involved.

    James asked: “Is it worth writing to Florida school boards over this, or is it waste of time?”

    Polite (and I emphasize POLITE) calls or emails to the Board are always welcome. The key is to win them over, not to rant at them. These are Jeb Bush appointees, and are probably looking for an easy way out. Emphasize that it’s good science, that doctors and biotech workers need this, and that this isn’t a religious issue.

  43. #43 Sigmund
    January 31, 2008

    Its not evolution theory that is the major problem here, its science itself, and in particular the scientific method. In truth the ideal outcome for most of these religious individuals would be the elimination of science from the public education system entirely – perhaps history and geography too, just in case. That is, after all, the ultimate goal of the discovery institute as detailed in the wedge document. We need a ‘Florida Citizens Against Science’ organization to join all these fundies under one unified theme.

  44. #44 truth machine
    January 31, 2008

    The reference to the “discovery” that Pluto is not a planet is funny in itself.

    What’s not funny but sad is your poor reading comprehension. It is not “that Pluto is not a planet” that was “discovered”, it’s that Pluto is no longer considered a planet, and indeed one can discover such things … by, say, reading newspapers or blogs. And the reason that Pluto is no longer considered a planet is because of other discoveries, such as Eris and Ceres. Kendall is quite correct that “scientific opinions can change as scientists explore new information”. But, as PZ points out, it’s absurd to take the evolution of scientific opinion in the light of new evidence as an argument against biological evolution (especially as contrasted to religious views that aren’t based on evidence at all).

  45. #45 truth machine
    January 31, 2008

    “Drawing from philosopher Karl Popper, astronomer Fred Hoyle, law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson and quantum physicist Paul Davies”

    Which one of these things is not like the others?

    You presumably mean Johnson, but the question rather misses the mark, as none of them are biologists and only two of them (Johnson and Hoyle) reject(ed) the ToE.

    I’d be surprised if Hoyle was antievo

    There are apparently lots of things that you would be surprised by, raven, that you wouldn’t be if you weren’t so intellectually lazy. Although how anyone who has paid any attention to this subject could be unaware that Hoyle is the source of the “junkyard Boeing 747″ argument escapes me.

  46. #46 Amadan
    January 31, 2008

    Meanwhile, over here in decadent liberal atheistic soft-on-terrorists Yurrp, we prepare for the growth of our biotech industries as Murka promotes Peace, Moxy and Freem by institutionalising ignorance.

    Visa application forms are available in through your local consular office, guys. See you all over here soon.

  47. #47 Happy
    January 31, 2008

    The Pluto thing doesn’t really fit, either. Scientists did not “discover” that Pluto wasn’t a planet. What they discovered were several other bodies that made their current classification scheme unworkable unless either Pluto was reclassified as not a planet or a lot of other things got named as planets, and they decided it made the most sense to change the category Pluto got put in.

    True. But the more interesting about this obviously wrong “fact” is that its conclusion actually proves his main point to be wrong.
    If “scientific opinions can change as scientists explore new information”, why is evolution theory still in charge if there is all that solid-but-yet-unseen scientific evidence these guys always insist on having?

  48. #48 Fernando Magyar
    January 31, 2008

    Amadan,is mining fossilized carbon considerd part of biotech over in Yurp?
    Just askin.

    Meanwhile, over here in decadent liberal atheistic soft-on-terrorists Yurrp, we prepare for the growth of our biotech industries as Murka promotes Peace, Moxy and Freem by institutionalising ignorance.

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/3451
    The Universal Mining Machine

    Posted by Ugo Bardi on January 24, 2008 – 9:49am in The Oil Drum: Europe
    Topic: Environment/Sustainability
    Tags: energy, minerals (list all tags)

  49. #49 jtwurth
    January 31, 2008

    @ #26
    raven – Check out this post by PZ for a little more insight into Paul Davies and his idea that science is just more faith-based-beliefs. PZ did a pretty good job of taking his argument apart, piece by piece.

  50. #50 One Eyed Jack
    January 31, 2008

    I am forever dumbfounded by creationists that try to support their opposition to evolution by quoting the opinions of academics that have no background in biology.

    I don’t care how intelligent you are in your given field, it does not make you an expert in other fields. If I want to build an airplane, would I ask a biologist or an aerospace engineer? If I want to study high energy particles, do I consult a biologist or a physicist? I think the answer is clear, so why should we be impressed when a mathematician, physicist, or engineer speaks about evolution?

    It’s so glaringly obvious, but abundantly ignored.

    -OEJ

  51. #51 Mold
    January 31, 2008

    I agree with Raven. Most of the Dover Creationists reminded me of the slow kids from school. The ones that were nice and all but never quite got anything past fifth grade.
    Watching the PBS special confirmed that view. The school board members that ascribed to creationist dogma seemed to have jobs that required showing up. They could have been Amish for all the good the public school system did for them.

    Since their universe is mostly slow kids (the smart ones moved away to find paying and meaningful work)they really can’t see the problem with ID. All their friends voted for Bush (from an apocryphal Pauline Kael quote on Nixon) and most of the neighbors work at equally suck jobs. Consider their life a version of Appalachian isolation. Only when they become public do they understand just how off they are.

  52. #52 Jim A
    January 31, 2008

    “I would also point out that we eliminated dogmatic ideas like flat earth, astrology, geocentrism and the prospect that canals on Mars were actually constructed by intelligent life.”

    Ahh yes, the “fellow travellers,” of ID.

  53. #53 Jim A
    January 31, 2008

    And the reason that Pluto is no longer considered a planet is because of other discoveries, such as Eris and Ceres. umm…. Ceres was discoverd in 1801 and Pluto in 1930. Ceres had ceased to be considered a planet LONG before Pluto was discovered. So it can hardly be said that it’s discovery influenced the decision that Pluto shouldn’t be classified as a planet. Rather its existance as a large object that orbited the sun that had been considered a minor planet or asteroid influenced the taxonomy that astronomers decided to adopt. To some extant the definition of planet was determined by what they wanted to include and exclude rather than the other way around.

    and indeed one can discover such things … by, say, reading newspapers or blogs. This use of the word discovery is more akin to the way IDers us the word than the way scientists do. Their epistimology centers on reading the received knowlege or revlations of others. They simply don’t understand that neither exists in science. While blind adherence to doctrine does happen in the scientific world, it is considered a failure of the scientific method, not some sort of critical defense of “scientific fact.”

  54. #54 CalGeorge
    January 31, 2008

    What they do in Florida for fun:

    Motorcycles, monster trucks, sports & strongmen to take part in evangelistic event presentations

    ORLANDO (FBC)–Hands-on evangelistic training will be offered at the 2008 Evangelism Conference March 2-4 at the First Baptist Church of Orlando.

    New to the conference this year, the Tuesday afternoon session will feature six different special evangelistic event presentations. These presentations will take place outside on the First Baptist campus.

    The F.A.I.T.H. Riders, Christian motorcyclists, will have motorcycle demonstrations. Their ministry is aimed at reaching people with their motorcycles who may not normally be a part of an organized church or Bible study.

    CrossHeir Outfitters will feature outdoorsman ideas, focusing on Christ-centered outdoors experiences. The mission of the CrossHeir ministry is to deepen the faith of people, nurture congregational life, and lift up leaders for Christian service. CrossHeir’s 50-foot ministry trailer will be onsite for viewing and demonstrations.

    Team Impact, who share the Gospel message with feats of strength, will speak about their ministry and give a demonstration. Through partnerships with local churches, Team Impact has reached entire cities and communities. In 2007, Team Impact went into 52 schools in the Orlando area in one week and over 600 decision cards were filled out during the Team Impact crusade at the First Baptist Church of Orlando.

    Wild Horse Ministries with Paul Daily, the Horse Whisperer will show how he shares the plan of salvation while taming a horse. In this unique ministry, Daily does not “break” untamed horses, but “gentles” them until they let him bridle, saddle and ride them–all within two hours. Daily uses this ability to reach people who shy away from organized religion and church. The submission of the horse is used to illustrate the submission of man to God.

    Monsters on a Mission, an outreach utilizing monster trucks, will have a vehicle onsite for viewing during the session. This extreme outreach ministry bases their ministry approach on Bible verse John 3:16 and is aimed at reaching unchurched families.

    Men’s Sporting Ministry, an outreach of the First Baptist Church of Bonifay, will be onsite during the session to discuss their many outreach strategies. Hunting, fishing, high school football, luncheons, rodeos, wild game feasts, and archery tournaments are some of their annual evangelistic efforts. In each of their activities the Gospel message is intentionally shared.

    Enough said.

  55. #55 Mena
    January 31, 2008

    Does the bible consider Pluto to be a planet? Gee, everyone knows that there are only six planets. At least the religionists didn’t flip flop about that.
    Oh, a Google search for “planets bible” turns up only really out-there woo. Twenty first century indeed.

  56. #56 Pierce R. Butler
    January 31, 2008

    Moopheus: … philosopher Karl Popper, astronomer Fred Hoyle, law professor and author Phillip E. Johnson and quantum physicist Paul Davies”

    Which one of these things is not like the others?

    Fred Hoyle, ‘cuz he’s the only one without a “P” in his name.

    Kin Ah get mah Dixie County high skool diploma now?

    James @ 20: The appropriate place to apply pressure is the State Board of Ed (see Florida Citizens for Science links in comments 18 & 40); those individual retro school boards are pretty much a lost cause.

  57. #57 Kristine
    January 31, 2008

    Has anyone told Pluto yet?

    Yes. It wasn’t pretty.

    I’ve been noticing mucho “who has a degree in biology” statements being made after some quote from a creationist in an article. I wonder who checks these facts, if anyone (probably no one). It seem that people are making false claims to legitimacy (which goes on all the time on the creo-carny circuit), or the educational system isn’t reaching some people, or the bible-college-science-degrees are proliferating.

  58. #58 raven
    January 31, 2008

    I’ve been noticing mucho “who has a degree in biology” statements being made after some quote from a creationist in an article. I wonder who checks these facts, if anyone (probably no one). It seem that people are making false claims to legitimacy (which goes on all the time on the creo-carny circuit),

    Good point. Many of the bible colleges give out degrees in biology. The I. Creation Research Institute in Texas wants to give out advanced degrees.

    And there are any number of places where one can send in 4 cereal box tops and a few bucks and get a Ph.D. in whatever you want.

    The latter is so common that in some states it is illegal to list diploma mill degrees on a resume or CV.

  59. #59 Ryan Hayes
    January 31, 2008

    We all know (because of our educations and experiences in and with science)that all science includes uncertainties, imperfections, and debates–by definition.
    Objectivity IS a key component.
    Alternative hypotheses are necessary.

    But as a scientist and former high school science teacher, I assert that middle and high schools are NOT the place to present students with fringe theories and debated minutia related to something as well-supported and fundamental as evolutionary theory. Particularly when the “alternatives” do not qualify as scientific.

    Middle school and high school children are just beginning to learn about science, its history, its past and present conclusions, and a little bit about how it works. Adding any emphasis to truly radical fringe ideas and obscure contested details distorts reality, skews the true validity of evolutionary theory, and contaminates the young students’ incipient understanding of science.

    Yes, they MUST learn the essential uncertainty scientific processes, and they MUST learn to be skeptics–but they need the very substantial foundations before they can objectively evaluate broadly fundamental ideas like evolutionary theory. To suggest that a 14-year old can generate a truly informed opinion on the validity of major theories of science is more than a stretch. Millions of adults don’t know objectivity from fantasy.

    As a scientist and one-time high school science teacher, I see the biggest problem with this idea of teaching the

  60. #60 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2008

    Of course the sheer ignorance of Kendall’s view of Pluto’s “change of status” also explains it. Kendall’s scared of change. Change is imperfection in many religious views, and thus it is bad.

    The fact that scientists’ opinions about Pluto in fact changed not one whit over this minor taxonomic shift is lost on her. And even if it were explained, she’d go off to the creationist websites and find where scientists did indeed change there minds, therefore science is inferior to religion….

    Seriously, one of the main judgments against science by these people is that it can change, although one of the major lies of the IDists is that “Darwinism” is fundamentalism which cannot change. Despite the latter claim, any change that they see is pounced upon by the IDists to say that, for instance, since non-Darwinian issues have to be brought up, then “Darwinism” is wrong.

    so they’re also fundamentally opposed to change, of course, and “design” is a comforting fiction of the past and of the present among the gullible. It’s simple, easy to understand (God did it, so get on God’s side), and it doesn’t change (the supporting lies do, but the “God did it” does not, even if God needs a pseudonym in ID). In fact, its very unfalsifiability in principle is one of the most frequent arguments in favor of it, as they claim that we’d have to be able to rule out the possibility of design before we could “honestly oppose” ID (this has been stated at UD often). Creationism and ID are conservatism in the worst sense of the word, “resting assured in the arms of Jesus,” while science is uncertainty and a constant stream of research and study.

    It’s the virtues of science that these people oppose (when they’re not projecting, anyhow), because so many of them lack either the ability or the will to put up with the discipline of science. Which would not be so bad, except that they’re trying to shield their children from the discipline of scientific thinking as well.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  61. #61 Ryan Hayes
    January 31, 2008

    Sorry, the above comment needs a little editing of extraneous partial sentences at the end…

  62. #62 Ryan Hayaes
    January 31, 2008

    I meant my post (#57), not yours Glen D.

  63. #63 Phoenix Woman
    January 31, 2008

    “Referring to the discovery that Pluto no longer is considered a planet by scientists today, Kendall said scientific opinions can change as scientists explore new information.”

    See, it’s the magic word “opinion”. It’s their way of implying that scientific research, because it’s mutable, is no better than what we what think of Britney Spears, whereas Biblical Truth Stands Unchanging Forever (unless, of course, you don’t ignore all those councils trying to determine what Bible “books” are real and what are Apocrypha).

  64. #64 JimC
    January 31, 2008

    over 600 decision cards were filled out during the Team Impact crusade at the First Baptist Church of Orlando.

    So most of the kiddies attending that church where heathens?

    shares the plan of salvation

    This is something that has really started to bother me. It’s all about fear and hell, this is why religion is so effective. It’s the emotive part of the brain. He talks about the plan of salvation, salvation from what? Hell. A hell created by the version of God who know seeks to save one from it.

    Without hell does the entire religion fall apart?

  65. #65 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2008

    The language in the proposed standards, Kendall said, is dogmatic when it asserts that “evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all biology.”

    I reiterate what I’ve said previously, I think it should say “evolution is a fundamental concept underlying all biology,” not “the fundamental concept.”

    Her “argument” about science changing that follows the above quote (Pluto…) shows another fundamental flaw in her understanding. Evolution is “fundamental” to biology because it works, not because it’s “true” in some religious sense, and there would be nothing whatsoever that is wrong or dogmatic regarding the recognition that evolution is fundamental to biological science today even if evolution were overthrown tomorrow.

    For “biology” is not some grand truth replacing Kendall’s religion, it is merely science which deals with life as best we know how to do it. Her problem with that is the problem of “going against God’s will,” since how would one decide against God (as her religion apparently dictates the situation) based on a science that might change?

    Well, Kendall, first off there’s really a vanishingly small chance that evolution will be overthrown at any time. It’s about as likely as General Relativity being found to be “wrong” in the sense that it should be completely discarded. That is, philosophically we know that neither is or can be “proven,” but both rest on observations which are like those we depend on for our lives and for deciding whether to free or to execute people (DNA evidence–and I’m anti-death penalty, if far from being an activist on the issue).

    And perhaps more importantly, you have no reason to believe your Bible in the first place, so that even if evolution were on shaky grounds, instead of being on the solid grounds where it is, it would still be infinitely more solid than are creationism and ID (as in, divide any evidence for evolution by the zero evidence for “design”, and the limit is infinity). That’s as close as you’ll ever come to “actual infinity” in this life, the infinitely better case for evolution (or anything else with evidence) than the “case for design” (or anything else with no evidence).

    It’s really something versus nothing, and in science class one should teach something, rather than the nothing you want to interject into actual science.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  66. #66 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2008

    Quoting Janice Shaw Crouse, a senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank for Concerned Women for America, Brown said many scholars aren’t willing to break ranks and publish their questions and doubts.

    I like this. It’s the way to turn the near-total agreement among scientists that evolution, like the laws of thermodynamics, holds true today as much as ever, into an “argument” against it. Yes, they agree, but they are very afraid, you know.

    What, Christian scientists have no courage, no strength of conviction from their faith? Is this what Christianity is all about, a bunch of cowards refusing to disagree, because they’re afraid for their jobs? Didn’t Christians used to face lions for their faith? So I guess you’re saying, Shaw, that God is dead, that faith means nothing, that indeed there is no evidence against evolution being presented (you can’t call Behe’s shit “evidence”), and that nonetheless there are a bunch of cowardly religionists who disagree with evolution.

    What, dimwitted buffoon, do you think tenure is all about? Sure, moonbats like Gonzalez became don’t get tenure, but Behe has a job for life, despite being an incompetent jerk making a lot of money (at least for a professor) by scamming people. Are you really telling me that tenured professors, with guaranteed jobs, are still cowering idiots who don’t dare to question “Darwinism”, all because they’ll be ridiculed for it? Surely, if they were so certain that ID will triumph with a new set of “open-minded students,” at least a few of them would put up with the slings and arrows to champion the new science, so that posterity will remember them for the heros they are. Other scientists have done this, why not Christians, why not IDists?

    Paraonoia, it’s all that they have. “Darwinism” won out in the Soviet Union over the pseudoscience of Lysenkoism, in part because there were courageous atheists (and maybe theists as well) who were willing to risk real persecution (that is, prison, exile, torture), and in part because the damn theory of evolution by investigable means just happens to work. Paranoia from these IDiots would have it that tenured professors who would at most have to put up with some name-calling and shunning at conferences, won’t stick up for God and the “truth of ID”.

    Either their religion is the most pathetic belief in the world, or these cowardly “dissidents” just happen to fear that their stupidity will in fact be exposed.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  67. #67 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2008

    Behe has a job for life, despite being an incompetent jerk

    Just to be fair to Behe, I’m not saying he’s incompetent at biochemistry. He has certainly found his area of incompetence, however, and appears more than happy to have his public persona rest upon matters that he is incompetent to discuss.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  68. #68 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work.

    Oh, it works just fine when the voters have an idea of what they’re talking about.

    Please explain. (something along the lines of sharks and goldfish branching apart before humans branched apart from one of them?)

    Bingo. We are more closely related to the goldfish than both of us are to the sharks. Ever eaten ray wing? You’ll notice.

  69. #69 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work.

    Oh, it works just fine when the voters have an idea of what they’re talking about.

    Please explain. (something along the lines of sharks and goldfish branching apart before humans branched apart from one of them?)

    Bingo. We are more closely related to the goldfish than both of us are to the sharks. Ever eaten ray wing? You’ll notice.

  70. #70 Vic
    January 31, 2008

    Les Lane (#30) asked:

    Is a religion that’s comfortable with scientific incompetence likely to be comfortable with theological incompetence?

    There’s such a thing as theological competence?

    Or did you mean to say ‘theological incontinence‘? But, if so, I suppose my earlier question still stands…

  71. #71 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    Sorry, I should have mentioned that rays are just flattened sharks with crushing teeth.

    Paranoia from these IDiots would have it that

    They have never thought that far.

    They have never in their life had a thought of such length. They aren’t used to thinking.

  72. #72 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    Sorry, I should have mentioned that rays are just flattened sharks with crushing teeth.

    Paranoia from these IDiots would have it that

    They have never thought that far.

    They have never in their life had a thought of such length. They aren’t used to thinking.

  73. #73 pwe
    January 31, 2008

    I skimmed through the posts, and apparently nobody else noticed this:

    “The issue really goes to the basic question of whether our schools are places of learning or indoctrination …,” Kemple said. The proposed standards, she noted, come from people who have a set of beliefs and want children’s education to be based on those beliefs, he said.

    That proves evolution, if nothing else does!

    - pwe

  74. #74 SLC
    January 31, 2008

    Re Pluto

    Actually, the reclassification of Pluto is mostly due to the fact that improved observation techniques showed that it was much smaller then was thought when it was discovered.

  75. #75 Dahan
    January 31, 2008

    “They have no proof. It’s not replicable.”

    Lots of things aren’t replicable, but can be deduced from data. I’m pretty sure that my mom got pregnant from my dad and that I’m the result. Pretty hard to replicate that one though. So I guess there’s no proof I’m my parent’s son.

    What the hell is he talking about?

  76. #76 MikeM
    January 31, 2008

    #41

    What you’re saying, Sigmund, is exactly why I consider science so important in helping me decide who I’ll vote for. It’s a cultural indicator. If they’ll treat ID as a credible theory, they’ll treat ANYTHING as a credible theory.

    Right now, I’m leaning very heavily towards Obama, but if he says something about, “Well, we should teach the controversy”, that’d probably kill it for me. Happily, for me at least, he shows zero signs of that.

    And what sad for me is that I think about 30% of Americans (a solid majority in some states) think ID is completely credible. They’re letting superstition get in the way. “Oh, we’re here for a reason, and that reason is God!”.

    I just don’t want to see those people in power.

    Of the 45 people who spoke at this hearing, does anyone know how many defended ID? I can’t see it in the article.

  77. #77 mothra
    January 31, 2008

    The Baptist press didn’t even touch on the dogma of atomic theory of matter, the theory of quantum mechanics, cell theory of biology, germ theory of disease. I think the Baptists are getting lazy and soft. How can a self-reproaching (oops- respecting)Baptist accept any rational use of inductive causality in the face of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent sky god? It’s intellectual slovenliness I say! This calls for a wholesale reform of our indoctrinational (oops-educational) system. Too long have they sat in the forefront of progressive movement! Too long have they merely decried the single-mindedness of reason! Too long have they accepted the tool of a scientifically bases technological society into their homes, offices, and there very HOUSES of WORSHIP! They should be ashamed and draw a collective breath (with Jimmy Swaggart) and yell in clear collected hysteria “We have sinned!” :)

  78. #78 Michelle
    January 31, 2008

    …The DISCOVERY that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore? It’s not a discovery, it’s a fine-tuning of a classification. What the hell are they babbling about?

  79. #79 raven
    January 31, 2008

    What else is odd: Not just biology but all other sciences conflict with their bronze age mythology. To be consistent they should also oppose teaching astronomy, geology, paleontology, history, anthropology etc.. These people are so dimwitted they probably don’t even know what the other sciences say. Or care. They are just repeating creo talking points from some card deck their leaders gave them like parrots.

    Clearly they are antiscience. Just as clearly they live in the 21st century surrounded by the products of science, long lives through medicine, cheap and abundant food, the technological miracles we take for granted. Bunch of parasites, reaping the benefits of demon controlled, atheistic scientists while condemming them.

  80. #80 Dahan
    January 31, 2008

    “To be consistent they should also oppose teaching astronomy, geology, paleontology, history, anthropology etc..”

    That’s the next wave of attacks, after biology.

  81. #81 raven
    January 31, 2008

    That’s the next wave of attacks, after biology.

    Glad to hear it. It’s time for them to stop picking on biologists and start picking on astronomers and geologists. Those fields both have “just theories” that the universe is 13.7 billion years old, the earth is 4.5 billion years old and a sphere circling the sun. All of which conflicts with their mythology.

    Time for some other field to wade in the creo muck.

  82. #82 mothra
    January 31, 2008

    Unfortunately, there is no immediate punishment for being so wrong. The Baptanic hoards, if they succeed, will cripple U.S. science and education. But the ‘fruits’ of their misdeeds will not sprout to supplant scientific inquiry for a generation. The present morons are not punished.

    Shortly after Pluto’s ‘demotion’ to dwarf planet, I had a conversation with twp fundamentalist Christian graduate students (yeah anyone can get accepted at a state institution for higher learning) and they already had the talking points down- “Science is always changing, why should we learn and facts or theories.” It caused me to write up a short (4) page history of astronomy for them. They did get degrees and I was on neither committee.

  83. #83 Glen Davidson
    January 31, 2008

    What else is odd: Not just biology but all other sciences conflict with their bronze age mythology. To be consistent they should also oppose teaching astronomy, geology, paleontology, history, anthropology etc..

    They’re quite deliberately shooting at cosmology, which relates to astronomy, with their “fine-tuning” gibberish. UD’s front page:

    Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted. The problem, therefore, is not merely that science is being used illegitimately to promote a materialistic worldview, but that this worldview is actively undermining scientific inquiry, leading to incorrect and unsupported conclusions about biological and cosmological origins. At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.

    And since they’re opposed to “naturalism” or “materialism” dominating the sciences, they’re really against any sort of science fundamentally. I mean, why don’t they just say that “Materialistic ideology has corrupted the study of physics, linguistics, and chemistry,” while they’re at it? Clearly the only reason they chose “biological and cosmological origins” to attack is due to their religious prejudices, and not to any discovered problems in the methods used to do biological and cosmological science (though the latter does have many more outstanding basic questions than does biology).

    More to the point, biology involves chemistry and physics, so if you attack biology for being “materialistic,” then by proxy you’re attacking physics and and chemistry for being “materialistic.” There really is no end to the mischief inherent in their attacks on biological science, and although they really do want to be able to pick and choose which science to destroy and which parts to keep, they’re trying to give weapons to the most anti-science forces among them to be able to destroy empiricism, and thus science itself.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  84. #84 dc
    January 31, 2008

    I was a speaker at this meeting (Thanks, Max Udargo, for the kudo.) and am one of the authors of the standard causing the furor. The ID side has evolved yet again following Dover. Many (though not all) of their supporters at this meeting stated explicitly that they did not want to teach ID or religion in the science classrooms. They “merely objected” to the dogmatic treatment of evolution as fact even though the word “fact” is nowhere in the evolution standards. Opponents’ use of “dogmatic” was a leitmotif throughout the evening as was the denial of any desire to insert ID into the science classroom. Eight or nine of these folks were obviously working from the same generic script with minor variations. Say what you want (and I did) about their understanding of science, they are damn smart in their politics. They are pitching this as a fairness issue and they are winning converts on local school boards and, probably, with at least two influential state legislators. As usual, many of the speakers hadn’t heard the DI gospel of “ID isn’t religion.” The old school creationists used the line about evolution being false because, “I ain’t never seen a fish turn into a monkey or a mouse into a cat,” and at least one speaker denied that he came from a monkey because he didn’t have a tail. I would have paid dearly for a good photo of an early human embryo at that point. Two speakers parroted the mined quotes from Gould and Dawkins about how the Cambrian Explosion disproves evolution and would have gotten away with it if I hadn’t ad libbed a caustic remark about quote mining followed by, “The last time I spoke with Professor Gould he said,…” Priceless but obviously not worthy of quoting in the Baptist Witness. I guess that is one controversy they don’t want to teach. There were a couple of “teach the controversy,” comments and a few ID endorsements (evolution of complex structures and so forth) but ID was not the big issue that supporters of the standards expected. The thrust of the arguments from the best “prepared” opponents to the standards was that the evolution language was too “dogmatic,” evolution is flawed and science teachers should teach the flaws, and that there are alternatives to Darwinian evolution. None of them understood the distinction between evolution and selection. None of them elaborated on the vague statements they made nor did they seem to understand what dogmatic means. I stated in my remarks that I would be happy to listen to any scientific alternatives to the concepts in the standards that those present wished to discuss after the meeting and the response to my offer was zilch. My conclusion was that most of the opposing speakers had no intellectual grasp of what they were arguing and were relying on propaganda (“Evolution says there should be lots of transitional fossils but there aren’t any.”) and coaching (Kim basically has a stump speech that she gives over and over again). Get them off script and they are lost. Having said that, this fairness stuff all sounds very reasonable to those who don’t understand the science. That includes the majority of elected officials down here as well as at least two members of the state Board of Education and it is their perceptions that count in whether or not these standards get adopted without modification. Endorsing “fairness” also panders to a large portion of the electorate in an election year. If you want to help us get good science into the classrooms, please see post 18 above with a link to the Florida Citizens for Science website and info on sending your opinions (politely, of course) to the applicable Florida officials. They need to know how flawed the “fairness” argument is, how strong evolution is, and, perhaps, how much adverse publicity and notoriety this campaign to weaken the standards is generating.

  85. #85 Monado, FCD
    January 31, 2008

    Bingo, Dahan! Lots of events for which we have evidence and that we logically believe in are not replicable. Maybe the standards commission would like a link to the talkorigins letter, “Was there a War of 1812?”

    A historic science studies a trail of evidence separately from conducting experiments about possible processes.

    Oh, to tell those gomers to pray that their demons will depart from them the next time they want to invoke the dogmatic science of medicine!

  86. #86 Arnosium Upinarum
    February 1, 2008

    Blaise Pascal #9:

    Glad to see you’ve hit on it.

    I’ve been saying this for over 30 years: These folks are thoroughly allergic to the very idea of CHANGE. They are terrified of it. Since change is not only ubiquitous in nature and is an absolute requirement of the passage of time, these people have developed a pretty nasty complex, and it’s only gotten worse OVER TIME (Hmmm, just can’t avoid that evil “evolution” I guess). This is a culture which has lost almost all of its curiosity to fear. They are SCARED of life, of the world, of nature itself. Of themselves too.

    It’s a culture which cowers from the challenges change necessarily presents. Instead of dealing with problems by the application of an otherwise agile brain which evolved the ability to weigh new information and find adaptive solutions, they rest on their culturally-indoctrinated notion that an unchanging superbeing has everything under control and will solve their problems for them. Their information-processing abilities have effectively been shut off.

    Everything else is peripheral, revolving around this single seminal circumstance which governs all of their thinking.

    That’s basically why buzz-word “blasphemies” such as “evolution” sticks in their craw. They don’t care about the mechanism of natural selection. (If they knew what Darwin was talking about, they wouldn’t use his name as a synonym for the word “evolution”…which is why they add the “-ism” to these words, which all stand for “change”).

    They’re too afraid to penetrate into the pesky mechanistic details. They simply deny that change happens.

    They treat change like a child who strenuously wishes that the boogeyman under his bed would go away. That takes a shitload of “faith” to imagine that the noise under the bed will go away because one wishes or prays hard enough, and that’s what drives them crazy.

    Of course, a little bit of “scientific investigation” with the help of a flashlight could reveal the source of that noise under the bed: it just might be a real thing, like a mouse, say, going about its changeable business. Curiosity wins. Mystery solved. Life, in all its glorious changeability goes on. The curious child might even come to enjoy the sensation of discovering new and wonderful things about the world he or she lives in. Meanwhile, the scared child still cowers under the covers wishing that Big Daddy would make it all go away.

    Ask yourselves what typically happens when mom or dad do come to the rescue. What do they typically do to deal with the boogeyman threat? Do they engage their child on an exciting expedition of exploration to find out what is making the noise under the bed? (That kind of engagement would train a child for scientific thinking). Or do they simply tell their child that they should believe them on their word, that no boogeyman is there because they say so? There’s no better set-up for training kids to bow before religiuos authority when they “grow up”.

  87. #87 jim a
    February 1, 2008

    SLC: What’s the old joke about estimates of Pluto’s size: At this rate Pluto will disappear by 2100.

    Ryan Hayes: Of course Jr High isn’t the place to teach crackpot fringe theories. But it IS the place to highlight the use of scientific method as PROCESS. It is a continual process of testing and refining hypotheses that will NEVER come to a final, complete “Truth.” Science is not a collection of immutable truths, but much scientific knowlege has reached a point where it can be regarded as “fact.” Not because we have deified its authors, but because we have tested and rexamined if for long and hard enough that we need VERY strong evidence to question it. The whole accusation that that the standards are “dogmatic,” is an accusation that science like theology. We do not believe and teach that F=MA because Newton was some sort of secular prophet. We teach that because again and again and again that has been proven to be a useful model for physical behavior. (at speeds that are not close to c) Of course as dc pointed out, most of the people don’t even understand the point that they are trying to make. If science was indeed, a mere collection of “dogmas,” that were to be repeated because the discoverers were apostles, they would be right in condeming it.

  88. #88 spurge
    February 1, 2008

    #83

    I don’t think it is just change that scares them.

    They fear the unknown. They can not stand a question to be answered with “we do not know yet”

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