Zack Kopplin Rocks

In the video above, you can see my creation/evolution hero of the last school year. Zack Kopplin is a Louisiana high school senior (heading to Rice University next fall) who decided to fight the misnamed Louisiana Science Education Act. That bill, passed in 2008, opens the door to creationist materials in science classrooms. It is the only one of these so-called academic freedom laws that has passed a state legislature, though dozens have been proposed.

It passed the Louisiana Senate unanimously a couple years ago, but Zack found a Senator to sponsor his repeal bill, he got 43 Nobel laureates to endorse his effort, he even got the New Orleans city council to pass a resolution supporting his repeal act. And yesterday, he brought a phalanx of fellow students, as well as teachers, scientists, and legislators, to testify in favor of the repeal in the Senate Education committee. A committee, it should be noted, chaired by the original sponsor of the LSEA!

Against Zack’s 43 Nobelists, the creationists brought … a letter signed by 15 pro-creationism scientists, many from the private Baptist Louisiana College. A college whose mission “is to provide liberal arts, professional, and graduate programs characterized by devotion to the preeminence of the Lord Jesus, allegiance to the authority of the Holy Scriptures, dedication to academic excellence for the glory of God, and commitment to change the world for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The creationists also had an envoy from Governor Jindal’s office, urging against the bill’s repeal. Jindal, you may recall, was a biology major at Brown University, where he originally planned to become a doctor, before studying political science on a Rhodes Scholarship. When the creationist bill passed, Jindal’s genetics professor Arthur Landy urged him:

In order for today’s students in Louisiana to succeed in college and beyond, in order for them to take the fullest advantages of all that the 21st century will offer, they need a solid grounding in genetics and evolution. Governor Jindal was a good student in my class when he was thinking about becoming a doctor, and I hope he doesn’t do anything that would hold back the next generation of Louisiana’s doctors.

I guess Jindal’s turned his back on that part of his life, but as long as Louisiana’s turning out smart, dedicated students like Zack Kopplin, I wouldn’t give up hope.

Comments

  1. #1 David
    May 28, 2011

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/05/science_law_and_economics_come046871.html

    Louisiana Preserves Science Education Act That Encourages Academic Freedom to Discuss Criticisms of Darwinism

    *

    “In China we can criticize Darwin but not the government. In America you can criticize the government but not Darwin.”–Chinese palaeontologist (Wall Street
    Journal, “The Church of Darwin,” Phillip Johnson, August 16, 1999.)
    http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/chofdarwin.htm

  2. #2 Jill
    May 28, 2011

    David, this is not about criticism of Darwin. For all we know, Darwin left the seat up, refused to scoop the cat litter box, farted in bed, and didn’t hang up his clothes. I’m sure Mrs. Darwin criticized him plenty.

    This is about the difference between that which is demonstrable in FACT and that which has to be taken SOLELY on faith. There is ZERO evidence, other than a book written by men with an agenda, that a great white alpha male in the sky created the earth in six days and made a man out of clay. That’s why they call it FAITH.

    I’m all for creationism being taught as part of a comparative religion course. Because that’s what it is — a religious belief. It is NOT science.

  3. #3 Anthony McCarthy
    May 28, 2011

    The biggest misfortune in biology is the absolute popular identification of evolutionary science with the persona of Charles Darwin. It’s possible to accept, entirely in the fact of evolution and to be critical of Charles Darwin, his inner circle and family and the recent Darwin craze. It’s also unfortunate that evolution has been used in anti-religious invective since shortly after the publication of The Origin of Species. The creationism industry wouldn’t have had nearly as much to work with if it hadn’t been provided with enormous amounts of material by “Darwinists” from Charles Darwin’s time to today.

    Charles Darwin has turned into a political prop without an awful lot of good to science. His myth has proved most useful to the creationism industry. Bit the cult of personality around him will continue because it’s also generated its own industry. That he, his closest colleagues and his children carry a lot of counterproductive baggage with them is enough to show the folly of that.

    I’ve seen that the anti-choice industry is trying to turn Margaret Sanger into a similar political tool. I hope that Planned Parenthood is smart enough not to get suckered into a futile and useless protection of another long dead figure, who, indeed carries a lot of baggage. So far, they seem to be.

    The science has moved on, use the science to promote science.

    The Louisiana law isn’t primarily about religion, it’s about political demagoguery by the aristocratic party, class and regional resentment (some of that justified, if misdirected) and deflecting peoples attention from the right-wing oligarchs who have their boots on their necks. People who believe they are good, right-thinking supporters of truth and science mocking those people as ignorant rubes is only helping the Jindals with their work.

  4. #4 TBruce
    May 28, 2011

    Does anyone know who this “Chinese paleontologist” is? i have repeatedly seen references to this person who supposedly lectures worldwide, but he doesn’t seem to have a name.

  5. #5 Anna, formerly from Texas
    May 28, 2011

    He’ll like Rice University.

  6. #6 NBR
    May 28, 2011

    Kids like this give me faith in the future. They need our support and encouragement. Good for Zack.

  7. #7 Anthony McCarthy
    May 28, 2011

    Does anyone know who this “Chinese paleontologist” is? i have repeatedly seen references to this person who supposedly lectures worldwide, but he doesn’t seem to have a name. TBruce

    That’s a good question, I wonder what he’d say for himself. But I have a feeling, considering what he’s quoted as saying, he might not want to be named.

    The Johnson column is an example of the problem with focusing on Darwin instead of the science. The science is overwhelming, evolution is the most documented phenomenon in science, focusing on the science is far more impressive than squabbling over whether or not Charles Darwin this or that. It gives the creationists too much to work with.

  8. #8 John Kwok
    May 28, 2011

    Zack has been my hero too. He sucessfully lobbied the Louisiana State Board of Education back in December, preventing the Louisiana Family Forum – which was – and remains – a key supporter of LSEA – from purchasing textbooks containing any pro-creationist content. He intends on continuing the fight against LSEA as a Rice University freshman.

  9. #9 John Kwok
    May 28, 2011

    Correction -

    He sucessfully lobbied the Louisiana State Board of Education back in December – despite strong objections from the Louisiana Family Forum – which was – and remains – a key supporter of LSEA – from purchasing textbooks containing any pro-creationist content.

  10. #10 John Kwok
    May 28, 2011

    Correction -

    He sucessfully lobbied the Louisiana State Board of Education back in December – despite strong objections from the Louisiana Family Forum – which was – and remains – a key supporter of LSEA – from purchasing textbooks containing any pro-creationist content.

  11. #11 hyphenate
    May 28, 2011

    Zach is going places–GOOD places! If all the students out there in the country had the critical thinking skills that he is demonstrating, this country wouldn’t be so far in the hole, with most of the other industrial nations far above us in education.

  12. #12 David
    May 29, 2011

    Jill wrote: “I’m all for creationism being taught as part of a comparative religion course. Because that’s what it is — a religious belief. It is NOT science.”

    I’m not saying creationism and intelligent design should be mandated in science classes. And neither does the Louisiana Science Education Act.

    Still, I wonder how many students would say they have the academic freedom to critique evolution in their science classes? There should be school district and state polls of high-school and college/university students studying evolution, asking two questions:

    In this class: a) Is evolution taught as fact, theory, or both fact and theory? b) Do you have the academic freedom to critique evolution? [Students should answer anonymously.]

    The same two questions should be asked of their instructors.

    The article, “Valley of the Whales,” in the August 2010 issue of National Geographic, is a good example of an evolutionary article.

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2010/08/whale-evolution/mueller-text

    Teachers should be encouraged to distribute such articles and three different colored markers to each student, then ask them to mark the verified facts with one color, the opinions with another, and the suppositions with another. Students should be taught to weigh the factual evidence, evaluate statements,and recognize the writer’s
    purpose and point of view.

    Edward Blyth, English chemist/zoologist (and creationist), wrote his first of three major articles on natural selection in The Magazine of Natural History, 24 years before Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published. Why then, do most people think of natural selection as Darwin’s idea?

    Blyth didn’t attribute God-like qualities to natural selection, as some evolutionists do today. At least some are willing to admit: “Natural selection can only act on those biologic properties that already exist; it cannot create properties in order to meet adaptational needs.” Noble, et al., Parasitology, 6th ed. (Lea & Febiger,
    1989), p. 516.

    See:
    http://www.icr.org/article/natural-selection-creationists-idea

    http://creation.com/charles-darwins-illegitimate-brainchild

  13. #13 SLC
    May 30, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #3

    I must say that I fail to understand what Mr. McCarthy is getting at in his comment. The notion that biologists somehow worship at the church of Darwin is as nonsensical as a notion that physicists worship at the church of Newton or the church of Einstein.

    The fact is that Darwin, like Newton and Einstein, was a fallible human being who was ofter wrong, as were the latter two. Newton was wrong about chemical processes being able to turn lead into gold and that a purely particulate of light could explain diffraction and interference. Einstein was wrong about the existence of black holes and was almost certainly wrong about quantum mechanics. Just as Darwin was wrong about inheritance being an analog process when it is, instead, a digital process. The fact is that Newton, Darwin, and Einstein were right far more ofter then they were wrong, which is why they are celebrated today. Or as Enrico Fermi once put it, a scientist who has never been wrong is a scientist who has accomplished little of consequence.

    The fact is that the opposition of creationists to the Theory of Evolution has nothing at all to do with Darwin. If Darwin had never existed, the creationists would be lambasting Alfred Russell Wallace as the devil incarnate.

    The notion that humans evolved from apelike ancestors is an anathema to the creationists because it conflicts with their holy scriptures which claim that humans are unique and distinct from the other animals, a claim that has no scientific evidence whatever to support it. In contrast, the evidence for common descent, which is the basis of evolution, has only accumulated tons of evidence since 1859 when the, “Origin of Species,” was published.

  14. #14 TK
    May 30, 2011

    About the Chinese paleontologist story: I read about this on the TalkOrigins website. Apparently this quote first started when Jonathan Wells told someone about it in 1999 and later mentioned it in his book “Icons of Evolution” and it has been making the rounds ever since. Wells refuses to give anyone the scientist’s name, saying it would expose him to persecution.

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/iconob.html#chinesepaleo

  15. #15 Anthony McCarthy
    May 30, 2011

    The notion that biologists somehow worship at the church of Darwin is as nonsensical as a notion that physicists worship at the church of Newton or the church of Einstein. SLC

    Oh, give me a break. Darwin worship is endemic to a certain strain of Dawinian fundamentalism, as Stephen Jay Gould noted. I didn’t raise a “notion that physicists worship at the church of Newton….,” you did. Physicists don’t try to convince people of the rightness of physics with “Newton Day” or “Einstein Day”. I’m unaware of a huge industry of costume dramas and popular accounts of even Einstein who was certainly a very popular figure. Certainly nothing to compare with the Darwin industry.

    If Darwin had never existed, the creationists would be lambasting Alfred Russell Wallace as the devil incarnate. SLC

    It would be as stupid to be trying to argue for the FACT of evolution using Wallace as a substitute for arguing for the science, with the science. However, I’m not aware of Wallace writing something as full of ammunition as The Descent of Man. And I’m unaware of Wallace encouraging Francis Galton as he was beginning down the road that turned into eugenics. Darwin’s encouraging letter on the publication of Hereditary Genius has been known at least since the time that Galton reprinted it in his memoir. And, as far as I know, Wallace didn’t have a passel of children who, like Galton, knew Charles Darwin personally and more far more intimately than anyone alive today and who were major figures in Eugenics, even up to the eve of WWII. I have looked for people as intimately associated with Charles Darwin who objected to eugenics as a distortion of natural selection and have never found a single one. If you know of any, I’d love the quotes and citations.

    I wouldn’t want to take the chance of risking creationists finding any dirt on Wallace because I certainly haven’t read everything he wrote. Though what I’ve read would be far easier to defend than The DoM.

    Arguing Darwin with creationists is playing into their hands because they can argue him, they’re far more likely to lose if it’s a matter of arguing the enormous amount of science supporting it. You’re not guaranteed to win but that’s the strongest case, not the personal of Charles Darwin.

  16. #16 Anthony McCarthy
    May 30, 2011

    And, I forgot, Galton explicitly said that his cousin and confidante Charles Darwin was his great inspiration in eugenics. Are you going to argue that Galton didn’t know what inspired him or that you know C.D. better than he did? You can but don’t be surprised when that doesn’t win over anyone in your fight with a creationist who has gone to the bother of reading Galton on that.

  17. #17 SLC
    May 31, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy

    The views of Darwin on his cousin, Galton, are of no more relevance to the theory of evolution then the antisemitism of Philip Lenard and Johannes Stark are to their contributions to physics, for which they received Nobel Prizes.

  18. #18 Anthony McCarthy
    May 31, 2011

    You think you’re telling me something I haven’t already said, SLC?

    What do you think my comments about dumping the cult of personality in favor of arguing the science is about? Darwin’s been dead more than a hundred twenty years, most of the evidence of evolution has been found since then.

    The Darwin industry is run by some rather clueless people, if the promotion of science is what it’s supposed to be about.

    The hundred years of productive use that the anti-evolution industry has made of their product should be enough to show them that it’s probably useless for increasing the acceptance of science. A lot of that is due to what Darwin said and what those closest to him said and did. Creationists are fully capable of reading what Darwin wrote, what his colleagues and children wrote and what they did. And they’ve done that long ago. Denying that record isn’t there doesn’t make it go away. This leads me to think that promoting science isn’t the real motive of a good part of the Darwin industry.

    But the most successful tool that the Darwin industry gladly hands to creationists is the class and regional bigotry which is what many of its fans really care about. But if you let people know that you have no respect for them you will never convert them to your way of thinking.

    The campaign of derision against stereotypical hillbilly extras in a bad production of Inherit the Wind has been a failure. It’s been in the period after the play was made into a movie, 1960, that creationism has had its greatest political success. Which should show you how ineffective a strategy that’s been. Even the Dover decision ultimately depends on politics. If McCain-Palin had made the last two appointments to the Supreme Court, I wouldn’t be too certain that an appeal of Dover would sustain the ruling or that a law passed in a Bible belt state wouldn’t have overturned it.
    Depending on fictionalized Clarence Darrows and H. L. Menckens is an even stupider strategy for defending science.

  19. #19 SLC
    May 31, 2011

    I hate to break it to Mr. McCarthy but there is no cult of Darwin, any more then there is a cult of Newton or a cult of Einstein. This is a fiction perpetrated by creationists and IDiots. The notion that there is a “Darwin industry”, any more then there is a Newton industry or an Einstein industry is nuts.

    Furthermore, the notion that creationism can be combated by only talking about the science behind it is naive. The creationists and the IDiots deny the evidence supporting evolution, just as the HIV/AIDS deniers deny the evidence supporting the relationship between HIV and AIDS and the climate change denialists deny the evidence supporting global warming. There is no evidence, no matter how extensive or how overwhelming that will convince the denialists of the error of their ways.

    In particular, the opposition to evolution is a religious position; Mr. McCarthy would be hard put to find an evolution denialist whose position is not a product of his/her religious views (the only exception I am aware of is David Berlinski, the faux mathematician and self identified non-believer).

    Mr. McCarthy says that creationists are capable of reading Darwins writings. It would make no more sense for someone to learn about the theory of evolution by reading Darwin then for someone to learn about celestial mechanics by reading Newtons’ Principia or learn about the theory of relativity by reading Einsteins’ two 1905 papers on the subject. They would be much better advised to read the books by Ken Miller and Jerry Coyne which reflect the theory of evolution as it exists today, not 150 years ago.

    As for showing respect for creationists and IDiots, respect is something that has to be earned. They are no more deserving of respect then are the germ theory denialists or the flat earthers.

  20. #20 Anthony McCarthy
    May 31, 2011

    SLC, are you purposely misrepresenting what I said or do you genuinely not understand what I’m saying. Or, perhaps, you don’t want to deal with the argument I’m making but the one you wish I had made. But which I have never made.

    Creationists don’t use Darwin to “learn something about evolution” they do it to find ammunition to use against the acceptance of science, and they find it there.

    In particular, the opposition to evolution is a religious position

    It’s far more complicated than the two-sided religion vs. science analysis of it. A lot of the fans of the Darwin side are about as ignorant of evolutionary science as the opponents of it are. For a lot of them, it’s as much an anti-religious effort as it is a pro-Biblical literalism effort for their opponents.

    The strife has a lot less to do with science or religion than it does class and regional and ideological promotion. Effectively, it’s a political and not a scientific brawl. The opponents are fighting a much better political fight because they don’t have to appeal to a complex scientific case, they can appeal directly to peoples’ understanding of the class and regional disdain using the ridicule which the “pro-science” side hands them on a silver platter. And they can use the clear class, racial and ethnic snobbery of the Darwin circle as well.

  21. #21 SLC
    May 31, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #19

    I really would like Mr. McCarthy to inform us as to the identity of prominent biologists who are in the “Darwin Circle”. This is as idiotic as claiming that prominent physicists are in the “Newton Circle” or the “Einstein Circle.”

    I find Mr. McCarthys’ problem with Darwins’ writings to be irrelevant. If all of Darwins’ writings were burned tomorrow and his presence expunged from the historical record, a la 1984, it would not have the slightest effect on the creationists and the IDiots. They would just go quote mine another historical figure, such as Alfred Russell Wallace or Ronald Fisher (who was a far bigger racist then Darwin).

    I would agree with Mr. McCarthy that the clash between those who accept the theory of evolution and the creationists/IDiots is a matter of culture (very heavily influenced by fundamentalist religion). Well so was the denial of the theory of relativity in Nazi Germany, which according to the leadership there couldn’t possibly be right because Einstein was Jewish. Or what would have been denial of Newtons’ scientific discoveries if it have become known in his lifetime that he was an Arian.

    Re Mr. Rosenau

    At this point, it might be appropriate for Mr. Rosenau to weigh in on this discussion to give us the accommodationist slant on things.

  22. #22 SLC
    May 31, 2011

    Re Andrew McCarthy @ #19

    I must say that I find Mr. McCarthy to be rather impenetrable. I fail to understand what a “cult of Darwin,” a “Darwin Industry,” or a “Darwin circle,” are. As the theory of evolution stands today, Darwin is only a figure of historical interest whose views are of little relevance because he was totally unaware of the findings of modern biology, in particular DNA. The fact that the creationists/IDiots quote mine his writings for ammunition only goes to show their dishonesty.

    If all the works of Darwin were burned and he was expunged from the historical record, much like Winston Smith worked for big brother, the creationists/IDiots would just quote mine somebody else, e.g. Alfred Russell Wallace or Ronald Fisher. Heck, they dishonestly quote mine Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould.

    Mr. McCarthys’ claims that the rejection of science by anti-evolutionists is cultural. I would agree; however, the cultural differences are religious in nature. To quote Ken Miller, if ones religion rejects scientific findings, find another religion.

  23. #23 Anthony McCarthy
    May 31, 2011

    however, the cultural differences are religious in nature.

    Well, I’m always suggesting people read Richard Lewontin, who certainly has no religious motivation in what he says. I’d recommend his essay “Billions and Billions of Demons” and “Darwin, Mendel and the Mind”. The simplification into the “Inherit the Wind” science vs. the ignorant, backward faith heads is the predominant view of the dispute but that view is one of the problems with the would be pro science side. The model is inadequate and the results of the planning with it demonstrate that inadequacy.

    I’ve had enough arguments with the Darwin cult on Scienceblogs and other blogs to be able to tell you that the cult of Darwin is among the more obvious features of the Scienceblog audience. The Darwin industry is also obvious in the multitude of popular and continuing scholarly publication about everything to do with Darwin, fictional treatments, the costume productions, TV shows and movies, right down to Darwin fish pins and bumper stickers.

    The Darwin circle has been talked about for decades, among those are the men who pushed him to publish before Wallace could and so deprive their guy of the priority for the idea he called natural selection. It continued for the rest of his life and beyond, it included Galton and Thomas Huxley as well as numerous other figures within science and beyond, including his family circle which continued his legacy as they saw it, notably within the eugenics movement in Britain.

    From those fights I’ve had with the Darwin cultists I’m not surprised when the stage is reached when the Darwin supporters begin to deny common and obvious features of the Darwin phenomenon and documentary evidence. My guess is that they are emotionally unable to deal with the problems of their habitual mode of thinking about the issue, even in light of its failure. Charles Darwin has ceased to be an historical figure for a lot of them, his writing has come to have little if anything to do with their esteem for him. Many of them have never read a single thing he wrote. With the encouragement of the Darwin industry, they’ve turned him into a club mascot.

  24. #24 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    Mr. McCarthy to inform us as to the identity of prominent biologists who are in the “Darwin Circle”. SLC

    I hadn’t seen this before I answered you. I did identify them. And they weren’t all biologists. If the terms “The Darwin circle” and “Darwin’s circle” is unfamilar to you, you couldn’t have read much about Darwin and the early years of modern evolutionary science. I’ve been reading it in admiring accounts for decades. I’d guess it’s used more by such as support him, though probably far less by actual scientists who might be I don’t know, if English isn’t your first language maybe you aren’t familiar with the idea of a “family circle” a “circle of friends” an “intellectual circle”, though the idea isn’t unknown in other languages. The people with whom Darwin was in intimate communication about his idea of natural selection before it was published were in his intellectual circle. Many of them remained his colleagues and friends until his death. Galton and Huxley were the ones who planned his grandiose funeral.

    If this is what you’re resorting to in your refutation of my comments it’s about as flimsy a life line as there is. Why don’t you explain to me why more people seem to reject evolution these days despite the decades of derision of them as ignorant hillbilly faith heads? That’s been going on since the Scopes trial and Mencken’s coverage of it. He clearly hated William Jennings Bryant for more than his Biblical views. He clearly hated him because he had been a champion of commoners, the same people who Mencken despised in most of what he wrote.

    http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scopes/menk.htm

    It’s one of the more unfortunate things about the Darwin fan club that a lot of its members got much of what they know about evolution from popular entertainment, as I said, the movie Inherit the Wind seems to have been a big part of that. Unfortunatly, it’s about as accurate as “Gone With the Wind”. The movie is extremely dishonest in its treatment of Bryant, who it holds up to ridicule only to have a few smarmy words about at the end. I think that the authors of the script must have also relied far more on Mencken’s account of him than it did the transcripts of the trial.

    Bryant got the science wrong but he got the developing use to which the idea of natural selection far more right than most people did in the 1920s. What he says about the political and intellectual extensions of the idea are impressively foresighted as the events of the next twenty years showed. It was the Nazis who ended the mania for eugenics, temporarily. Their use of concepts coming from biology was directly linked to eugenics, which reading the correspondence of Charles Davenport and Leonard Darwin shows. Leonard Darwin was concerned that intellectual and scientific Germany was too conservative to accept eugenics, which he was eager to promote.

    http://www.dnalc.org/view/10433-Leonard-Darwin-letter-to-Charles-Davenport-about-sterilization.html

    Bryant had some wrong ideas about evolution in the 1920s but he clearly wasn’t the only one. Galton’s application of the idea of natural selection was a notable political success in the United States, even before the Supreme Court issued the awful Buck v. Bell decision. The vulgar champion of the common man, Bryant, saw where it was going and the consequences of that line of it a lot better than many of the good, genteel Darwinists did, including some of Darwin’s own children.

    Now, a new strain of eugenics, not going by that name, is increasingly influential. The Bell Curve and the vulgarization of genetics as that answer for everything about us is a resurgence of eugenics even within science and the quasi-sciences. That’s what I’m concerned with, a lot more than I am what dead people did a long time ago.

  25. #25 Spartan
    June 1, 2011

    I’ll have to echo SLC @22 concerning Anthony’s occasional impenetrability, and @23 didn’t do anything to help it.

    I’ve had enough arguments with the Darwin cult on Scienceblogs and other blogs to be able to tell you that the cult of Darwin is among the more obvious features of the Scienceblog audience.

    I think you are hard-pressed to say much really about the ‘SB audience’ as it’s a bit too heterogeneous. Are you just referring to arguments you’ve had with SB commenters? Can you name a SB blogger who you believe is part of this supposed ‘Darwin cult’? How big do you really think this ‘Darwin industry’ is anyway? It’s really big enough to constitute a ‘phenomenon’ in your eyes? And just so I can be clear here, in all of your statements above about ‘Darwin’, you are absolutely not conflating that in any way with ‘evolution’, correct? I ask only because creationists like to mingle the two indiscriminately as if attacks on Darwin have anything to do with the validity of evolution in this century, although I’m fairly sure that’s not what you are doing.

    The opponents are fighting a much better political fight because they don’t have to appeal to a complex scientific case,

    They are fighting a better political fight because of the unbalanced nature of the battle these opponents are engaging in, not because of a superior strategy. The ‘pro-science’ side has those pesky standards of evidence and logic to meet, standards that some of the opponents will apparently just entirely disregard if there wasn’t enough sugar frosting on an argument when it was delivered to them.

  26. #26 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    Spartan, I guess I’m supposed to say I’m sorry that these issues don’t lend themselves to an easy condensation to the typical blog comment length. It’s either people complaining that you’re giving too much detail at too much length or they’re complaining that you haven’t included more information they propose is out there someplace but which they, then, don’t supply themselves.

    The ‘pro-science’ side has those pesky standards of evidence and logic to meet, standards that some of the opponents will apparently just entirely disregard if there wasn’t enough sugar frosting on an argument when it was delivered to them.

    Did you happen to miss this part of my comment @20

    Creationists don’t use Darwin to “learn something about evolution” they do it to find ammunition to use against the acceptance of science, and they find it there.

    and especially:

    Effectively, it’s a political and not a scientific brawl. The opponents are fighting a much better political fight because they don’t have to appeal to a complex scientific case, they can appeal directly to peoples’ understanding of the class and regional disdain using the ridicule which the “pro-science” side hands them on a silver platter. And they can use the clear class, racial and ethnic snobbery of the Darwin circle as well.

    I haven’t found that most of the Darwin fan club is interested in the historical evidence I’ve mentioned above, though that’s there in what Darwin, Huxley, Galton, Leonard Darwin and numerous other members of Charles’ Darwin’s inner circle published during their lives and left in their letters and other papers which have been published since their deaths. Those inconvenient writings are there, they are evidence and fact far more certainly known than much that has been proposed and even entered into science around evolution, which has been, later, overturned as more is learned.

    Here’s a good example of that:

    http://www.galton.org/books/memories/chapter-XX.html

    Note both Galton’s clear acknowledgement that his inspiration in Eugenics was Charles Darwin’s OoS, and the letter from C.D. he published on the publication of Hereditary Genius. Also the section on “pangenesis”, which was an idea of Darwin’s which was overturned, partly through a series of experiments that Galton performed. Though most definitively by the breeding experiments by Br.Gergor Mendel.

    Just yesterday, while looking up something to respond to SLC I found this interesting passage:

    Mendel was the first to lay the mathematical foundations of genetics, in what came to be called “Mendelianism”. He began his research in 1856 (three years before Darwin published his Origin of Species) in the garden of the Monastery in which he was a monk. Mendel was elected Abbot of his Monastery in 1868. His work remained comparatively unknown until the turn of the century, when a new generation of botanists began finding similar results and “rediscovered” him (though their ideas were not identical to his). An interesting point is that the 1860′s was the formation of the X-Club, dedicated to lessening religious influences and propagating an image of “conflict” between science and religion. One sympathizer was Darwin’s cousin Francis Galton, whose scientific interest was in genetics (a proponent of eugenics – selective breeding among humans to “improve” the stock). He was writing how the “priestly mind” was not conducive to science whilst, at around the same time, an Austrian monk was making the breakthrough in genetics. The rediscovery of the work of Mendel came too late to affect Galton’s contribution.

    [Source:] S. Finn, Gregor Mendel: The First Geneticist (1996)

  27. #27 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    Sorry, I forgot, Gregor Mendel was ordained as a Catholic priest, that should be Fr. Gregor Mendel.

    Makes Galton’s point about “the priestly mind” not being conducive to science even more satisfyingly wrong.

  28. #28 TTT
    June 1, 2011

    David@12: I wonder how many students would say they have the academic freedom to critique evolution in their science classes?

    Who cares? Education is not a democracy–science education in particular. I don’t want students to have some made-up frivolous “freedom” to “critique” whether the Jurassic came after the Triassic, or whether the Soviet Union had been located in Eurasia or in Australia. If they think they’re too good to learn, let them drop out and be done with it.

  29. #29 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    It would be a total mess for public school science classes to be open to disruptions of the chapters covering evolution by stuff that isn’t in the curriculum. And nothing to do with religion should enter into the discussions in a public school. The Wall of Separation is essential to having a free, secular government that serves everyone.

    If they want to bring up other ideas, they should write a paper for no credit.

  30. #30 Spartan
    June 1, 2011

    Anthony,

    Creationists don’t use Darwin to “learn something about evolution” they do it to find ammunition to use against the acceptance of science, and they find it there.

    Do you agree though that this kind of ‘ammunition’, from a logical standpoint, should have diddly-squat to do with whether one ‘accepts science’ or evolution? Darwin’s supposed entanglement with eugenics has nothing to do with whether the science is valid or not. If creationists had a problem with Newton all we’d hear about would be his beliefs and studies into alchemy and the occult; Einstein’s discoveries gave us nuclear weapons, at least as much of a threat as the eugenics boogeyman.

    You are hard-pressed to find any scientist from over 100 years ago who doesn’t have irrelevant baggage like this; I wouldn’t be surprised if Bach, Shakespeare, etc, all had ideas that we wouldn’t find offensively racist and sexist today. So? It just seems to me that you are demonstrating that there is no effective approach to take in trying to convince creationists of really anything, because they can always dishonestly find something to criticize that is irrelevant to the question of whether they should accept evolution as true or not. Isn’t that just yet another argument that must be made, that this political crap doesn’t have anything to do with the science being correct or not? Perhaps if they spent as much time learning about science and the evidential support for evolution instead of poring over the esoteric writings of Darwin’s circle (thank you for defining that), they’d be better equipped to attack evolution with something that is relevant (if that something exists) to its validity?

    As far as the ‘Darwin fan club’, I’m just not sure how large or influential this group is. Again, I’m not sure who specifically comprises that club, but I haven’t seen any SB blogger be anything but crystal-clear that Darwin != evolution.

    A question for you, if the goal/issue is increasing the acceptance of evolution (in the US, acceptance for evolution has increased internationally I believe), what should be done? Dissolving the Darwin fan club I see as having almost zero effect; creationists will make the exact same irrelevant attacks against him, as if it has anything to do with the science, whether there is a supposed cult of personality surrounding him or not.

  31. #31 SLC
    June 1, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #26

    1. There is some controversy over whether Darwin had in his possession a copy of Mendels’ treatise on his experiments. I have read that he had a copy of the journal in which the treatise was published but that it was never opened. I have also read that Mendel sent Darwin a copy of the treatise but the latter was not sufficiently proficient in German to realize the importance of Mendels’ work. In any case, Darwins’ idea of blending (e.g. inheritance being an analog process) was wrong. Mendels’ experiments strongly pointed to inheritance being a digital process.

    2. It would appear that the “Darwin Fan Club” or the “Darwin Circle” or the “Darwin Industry” refers to individuals who lived in the 19th century. Of what possible relevance do these people have to modern evolutionary biology? They have all be dead for more then a hundred years. Does Mr. McCarthy consider that, say, PZ Myers or the late Stephen Jay Gould or Larry Moran are somehow members of a “Darwin industry”?

    3. It appears that Mr. McCarthys’ real problem is with Francis Galton, Darwins’ cousin, who was a racist bigot. I have an even better candidate for Mr. McCarthys’ ire, namely Ronald Fisher whose contributions to modern evolutionary biology far surpass anything Galton produced. Fisher was a strong supporter of the eugenics movement and was nearly as big a racist as was Galton. This in no way reduces Fishers contributions, which were equal in importance with the founders of the modern evolutionary synthesis, Mayr, Simpson, and Dobzhansky, any more then Lenards’ and Starks’ antisemitism reduces their contribution to physics.

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #23

    The issue of Alfred Russell Wallace lends great credit to Darwin as a human being. Darwins’ initial reaction upon receiving Wallaces’ letter proposing the theory of natural selection was to give the latter full credit for the idea; he had to be talked out of it by Charles Lyell and his other friends. The upshot was that a paper on the subject by Darwin and Wallaces’ letter were both read at a 1857 meeting of the Linnean Society in London by Charles Lyell (Darwin was unable to attend due to ill health and Wallace was out of the country). In no way, shape, form, or regard did Darwin attempt to deprive Wallace of the credit he deserved for his contribution. Quite the contrary. Considering that Darwin had first proposed what became the theory of natural selection in his diary in 1843, some might legitimately argue that he gave Wallace too much credit.

  32. #32 SLC
    June 1, 2011

    Re Spartan @ #30

    We might also mention composer Richard Wagner as someone whose obnoxious personal attributes are totally irrelevant to assessing his importance in operatic composition.

  33. #33 Spartan
    June 1, 2011

    SLC, yes, Wagner is an excellent example.

    If I’m understanding Anthony correctly, I think only ‘Darwin’s circle’ refers to Darwin’s colleagues in the 19th century, whereas ‘Fan Club’ and ‘Industry’ are referring to people now, although I’m still in the dark as to specific people who belong to the ‘Fan Club’ and whether the ‘Darwin Industry’ is really large enough to mention. The industry of Darwin fish pins, t-shirts, books, documentaries, etc, I personally don’t see as fitting the point AMC is I believe making, that Darwin is being revered by some as a kind of cult figure, whose cultists are as ignorant of what he wrote as creationists are. I don’t know how those people can be parsed out of the context of people using Darwin’s image solely as representative of their support for evolution, and not of everything Darwin’s written or whatever bad ideas were inspired by his discoveries.

  34. #34 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    Do you agree though that this kind of ‘ammunition’, from a logical standpoint, should have diddly-squat to do with whether one ‘accepts science’ or evolution? Spartan

    Evolution is the most documented fact in science, it’s not reasonable to reject evolution on the basis of science. There are lots of things within evolution that are up for debate, evolutionary scientists argue about those all the time. The ambiguity of a lot of the details will be used by anti-evolutionists to dupe people who have been brought up with the idea that science produces absolutely reliable knowledge and that anything that isn’t absolutely proven is to be rejected.

    A lot of the evidence they get from the historical and literary record isn’t really scientific, even a lot of the stuff Darwin wrote about in The Descent of Man wasn’t supported by actual data but were things he and others assumed to be logical inferences from natural selection. A lot of the stuff said about evolution, today, is also not supported by any evidence, which provides people who want to attack the acceptance of evolution as well. Perhaps not coincidentally the modern version of the X Club contains a large percentage of those Gould called “Darwinian fundamentalists”, who rely on narratives based in their simplification of natural selection instead of actual, empirical evidence, as well.

    I don’t think the historical record of eugenics and its consequences are irrelevant to a public debate as to the political use of the idea of natural selection, it’s the best evidence of what that use leads to. But that’s not the same thing as whether or not it’s currently a useful theory in evolutionary biology. I also doubt that it will retain that position, unmodified, for all time. The phenomenon of evolution is so enormous and so largely unknown now that I think it’s most reasonable to expect the explanations of it will change.

    In an argument here on another thread last week I quoted Richard Lewontin saying that there has never been a demonstration that a single human behavior leads to either a reproductive advantage or disadvantage. The application of evolutionary science to the human populations is without scientific support at this time. I doubt it ever will have it. The dangers of trying to apply evolutionary theories to human beings are known. The history of the 20th century contains that evidence.

  35. #35 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    t would appear that the “Darwin Fan Club” or the “Darwin Circle” or the “Darwin Industry” refers to individuals who lived in the 19th century.

    Darwin’s circle continued into the 20th century, I’d think it ended when Leonard Darwin died in the 1940s. It didn’t die with Charles Darwin.

    The Darwin fan club and the Darwin industry began with the publication of The Origin of Species and continue until today.

    I don’t think you understand that I’m not interested in Darwin’s pangenesis as anything other than as an example of an idea within evolutionary science that is overturned with additional knowledge. Though the fact that Mendel was a Catholic priest, a monk and orthodox enough that he was the abbott of his community as he produced some of the most important science of the 19th century is a refutation of another orthodoxy, one often associated with the Darwin fan club and the Darwin industry.

    Richard Dawkins, Daniell Dennett, numerous popular science writers…. the hawkers of Darwin fish bumper stickers are all members of the Darwin industry as well as the Darwin fan club. Is it any surprise that they’d peddle stuff related to their club?

    Thomas Huxley wrote the most overtly racist article I’m aware of coming from Darwin’s inner circle. That other Darwinians would we racists really doesn’t do anything to weaken the use of him by the anti-evolution industry.

  36. #36 SLC
    June 1, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #34

    The application of evolutionary science to the human populations is without scientific support at this time. I doubt it ever will have it. The dangers of trying to apply evolutionary theories to human beings are known. The history of the 20th century contains that evidence.

    This is a preposterous statement. It totally ignores the contribution that random genetic drift plays in evolution. I would suggest that Mr. McCarthy avail himself of Prof. Larry Morans’ blog where he will learn something about random genetic drift relative to its contribution to evolutionary science.

    Danial Dennet is not a scientist; he is a philosopher. Richard Dawkins is the author of popular books on evolution and hasn’t been active in research in the field for more then 30 years. Jerry Coyne, Ken Miller, Larry Moran, etc. are manifestly not members of the “Darwin Club,” to mention a few examples.

    If Mr. McCarthy thinks that Darwin and Huxley wrote racist tracts, he ought to read some of the works of Thomas Jefferson relative to African descended Americans. Of course, he wrote those items in between knocking up his slave, Sally Hemmings, which activity produced 7 children of which 6 survived into adulthood.

  37. #37 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    Now, SLC, you shouldn’t cut that statement out of its context. Here’s what I said before I said it:

    I don’t think the historical record of eugenics and its consequences are irrelevant to a public debate as to the political use of the idea of natural selection, it’s the best evidence of what that use leads to. But that’s not the same thing as whether or not it’s currently a useful theory in evolutionary biology. I also doubt that it will retain that position, unmodified, for all time. The phenomenon of evolution is so enormous and so largely unknown now that I think it’s most reasonable to expect the explanations of it will change.

    In an argument here on another thread last week I quoted Richard Lewontin saying that there has never been a demonstration that a single human behavior leads to either a reproductive advantage or disadvantage. The application of evolutionary science to the human populations is without scientific support at this time. I doubt it ever will have it. The dangers of trying to apply evolutionary theories to human beings are known. The history of the 20th century contains that evidence.

    As it happens, Lewontin made that statement in the introduction to a book that Moran cited in his praise of Lewontin’s writing.

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2008/07/good-science-writersrichard-lewontin.html

    SLC, I’ve been talking about eugenics all day long. Are you alleging that eugenics isn’t a malignant application of a theory derived from natural selection? Or that the biological theories of the Nazis weren’t malignant? Not to mention the neo-eugenics so enthusiastically taken up by conservatives to destroy social services and educational opportunities?

    Without any unambiguous evidence that there are ways for human beings to modify their behavior along lines supplied by evolutionary science, how do you propose to apply it to human beings to produce a beneficial result? I assumed that a beneficial result would be the only result worth doing it for, I assume you would to.

    Danial Dennet is not a scientist; he is a philosopher.

    That is totally irrelevant to his being one of the foremost members of the Darwin fan club and a vendor in the Darwin industry. I am surprised I’d have to point to what might be his best seller to you. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea? In which he goes many bubbles out of level over the wacky idea that natural selection is a “universal acid” that can account for the structure of matter and other far fetched applications outside of evolutionary science. As well, the others can also be members and merchants. Dawkins is probably the most prominent member of both.

    I would like to ask how you fit genetic drift into this discussion. Please, elucidate how genetic drift fits into my complete statement that I provide in this comment.

  38. #38 Spartan
    June 1, 2011

    Anthony,

    Evolution is the most documented fact in science, it’s not reasonable to reject evolution on the basis of science.

    Which to me means that it is not logical or reasonable to reject the validity of evolution, period, no matter what the basis. I did not think that the ‘issue’ that you are asserting that Darwin is a bad representative of and harmful to was ‘the political use of the idea of natural selection’, a la eugenics, but evolutionary theory and biology itself. The problem I have again with the invocation of ‘eugenics’ and a lot of what you wrote @34 is that you can say the same things about lots of areas of science. There is no reason to single out evolution. Most of your examples either involve someone’s dishonesty or mistakes: ‘anti-evolutionists dupe’, ‘the evidence…isn’t really scientific’, ‘a lot of stuff said.. is not supported by the evidence’, etc. A lot of things in physics are being debated, and anti-physicists can use that ambiguity in just the same way as evolution. It seems to be the nature of the uneducated beast in the US at least, and not peculiar to evolution except that it gets more attention.

    Thomas Huxley wrote the most overtly racist article I’m aware of coming from Darwin’s inner circle. That other Darwinians would we racists really doesn’t do anything to weaken the use of him by the anti-evolution industry.

    And again, there are very few people then, using this argument, that are good representatives of anything; you haven’t really shown how anyone then does not provide ammo for hypothetical ‘anti-whatevers’ who use the same dishonest tactics of the anti-evolutionists. You may not mean it this way, but you are coming across like the fact that creationists oppose the validity of evolutionary theory because it conflicts with their religious beliefs (or for whatever ‘reason’ that you’ve already agreed with me is invalid above) and are willing to use dishonest and irrelevant ‘arguments’ (‘eugenics!’, ‘they’re racists’, ‘there are debates in evolution’) that have no logical or reasonable bearing on the validity of evolution, is the fault of people who identify with Darwin and recognize his contribution because he and they provide too much fodder for the creationists. On the contrary, the fault lies with dishonest tactics and irrational argumentation, which is not being employed by ‘Darwin’s fan club’.

  39. #39 Anthony McCarthy
    June 1, 2011

    The reasons that Darwin shouldn’t be kept as the mascot of evolutionary science in 2011 are:

    1. He’s a proven loser due to the baggage he and his associates carry. Creationists aren’t stupid, they’ve gone through the record that Darwin and his colleagues left with a fine comb and they’ve found every bit of that which they can use in a political attack on evolutionary science. I’ve said before that Darwin is a failed trade mark.

    The negative part of Darwin’s writings and his intellectual legacy aren’t going to go away they are there for anyone to see. I haven’t gone on an exhaustive search of Leonard Darwin’s written record yet but what I’ve seen is pretty bad and he was just one of the Darwin children and grand children deeply involved in eugenics.

    2. The largest part of the supporting evidence for the fact of evolution was found after Darwin died, his persona isn’t the best case for that, the recent science is. Much of the genetic evidence of it is pretty removed from Darwin’s ideas.

    I don’t know if anyone has pointed it out but it’s pretty condescending to think that the larger part of non-scientists, and scientists outside of biology, should be converted to a scientific position through Darwin lore instead of accurate, modern science.

    I suspect that Darwin mania is probably not good for the science either. You might want to consider this:

    http://www.mendeley.com/research/epigenetics-renaissance-heresy-12/#

    But I’m far more interested in the political consequences of the Darwin Wars than I am in the issues of science. I think the political struggle to preserve the biosphere is an entirely more important thing and I think the Darwin Wars are a distraction from that as well as a help to the oil coal and others taking their play book from the creationists.

    On the contrary, the fault lies with dishonest tactics and irrational argumentation,

    I pointed out that the creationists weren’t stupid, they are however, crafty and dishonest. Why should they change tactics that are effective? If there wasn’t the record I’ve shown you here and much, much more, those tactics wouldn’t be nearly as effective. It’s the fault of people who have the record of that effectiveness and refuse to change their equally counterproductive behavior, insisting that it’s going to work when it hasn’t after so many years of trying.

  40. #40 SLC
    June 2, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #39

    I think that Mr. Spartans’ comment at #38 hits the nail on the head. As an example, I would point out the recent climategate pseudo-scandal in which emails from prominent climate scientists were taken out of context, quote mined, and blown up out of all proportion by global warming deniers. The tactics of the global warming deniers in this regard mirrors the tactics of the evolution deniers like the Philip Johnsons and William Dumbskis of the world.

    By the way, holding Darwin responsible for the eugenics movement via the misuse of his theories by people like Francis Galton and Ronald Fisher is as nonsensical as holding Einstein responsible for Hiroshima because of the application of his physics theories to the production of nuclear weapons.

    I would also point out that Issac Newton was a far more unpleasant individual then Darwin. Contrast Darwins’ generous treatment of Alfred Russell Wallace with Newtons’ attempt to deprive Gottfried von Leibniz of any credit for the invention of calculus.

  41. #41 SLC
    June 2, 2011

    Re Anthony McCarthy @ #39

    I think that Mr. Spartans’ comment at #38 hits the nail on the head. As an example, I would point out the recent climategate pseudo-scandal in which emails from prominent climate scientists were taken out of context, quote mined, and blown up out of all proportion by global warming deniers. The tactics of the global warming deniers in this regard mirrors the tactics of the evolution deniers.

    By the way, holding Darwin responsible for the eugenics movement via the misuse of his theories by people like Francis Galton and Ronald Fisher is as nonsensical as holding Einstein responsible for Hiroshima because of the application of his physics theories to the production of nuclear weapons.

    I would also point out that Issac Newton was a far more unpleasant individual then Darwin. Contrast Darwins’ generous treatment of Alfred Russell Wallace with Newtons’ attempt to deprive Gottfried von Leibniz of any credit for the invention of calculus.

  42. #42 TTT
    June 2, 2011

    [Darwin is] a proven loser due to the baggage he and his associates carry.

    It would be a crime to validate the anti-evidentiary, personality-based, and ego-driven mentality of the denialist crowd. Who cares if they don’t like to hear his name? They probably don’t like to hear that chocolate cake is fattening either, but in a nutrition course it’s still important to say.

    I don’t know if anyone has pointed it out but it’s pretty condescending to think that the larger part of non-scientists, and scientists outside of biology, should be converted to a scientific position through Darwin lore instead of accurate, modern science.

    No one could possibly have pointed it out, because it is a response to a bizarre straw-man that has nothing to do with this problem. Evolution IS taught through accurate modern science. There is no “Darwin cult”–there are people who say his name because he was actually important to this field, followed by a segue into what the actual science is. As has already been mentioned, if we said Wallace instead of Darwin then Wallace would just be the focal point for the lying denialist cult. Creationists–who are both stupid AND cunningly dishonest–would attack it with equal ferocity regardless of who is involved. They continue to attack no matter how strong the evidence gets–just look at the Lenski affair. Their behavior is not our fault, and their miraculous mental renewal is not our responsibility. You can stop blaming us any old time.

    I think the political struggle to preserve the biosphere is an entirely more important thing and I think the Darwin Wars are a distraction from that as well as a help to the oil coal and others taking their play book from the creationists.

    Because most of them ARE creationists. As a wry commenter pointed out, “nothing in movement conservatism makes sense except in light of creationism.” The overlap between creationists and anti-environmentalists / eco-denialists is undeniable. They’re already there and always will be; if we just surrender on evolution, they won’t start liking the IPCC one bit more, I assure you. The conservation biology community has tried winning support from evangelicals for decades now, and all it has produced is some nice position papers and potluck lunches devoid of any actual environmental benefit.

    “If only we did everything differently, we’d win!” is no more of an actual argument than “if only communism worked, it would work!”.

  43. #43 Brent
    June 2, 2011

    >> This is about the difference between that which is demonstrable in FACT <<

    Evolution is a theory. It has become a “fact” because it SEEMS to make sense to those who try to make it fact and cannot comprehend anything else as being reasonable.

    Adaptation is a fact. It is unfortunate that term adaptation is being replaced with the term evolution in such a way that the two terms are viewed as synonomous, however, they are not.

    Creation is a theory. It has become a “fact” because it SEEMS to make sense to those who try to make it fact and cannot comprehend anything else as being reasonable.

    I find it to be a disservice for any educational institution to leave either theory out of its curriculum.

    Also, I personally don’t care how many people — whether they have several acronyms that follow their name or not — support a particular position. The number of people that believe a statement, viewpoint, or theory does not validate that statement, viewpoint, or theory as a fact.

  44. #44 Anthony McCarthy
    June 2, 2011

    It would be a crime to validate the anti-evidentiary,

    Denial of the evidence that is there to be seen is irrational and quite unscientific.

    Who cares if they don’t like to hear his name?

    Well, if you care about science instead of protecting your club mascot, you should. Though I’ve already said I doubted this was really anything to do with science.

    The overlap between creationists and anti-environmentalists / eco-denialists is undeniable.

    Well, I didn’t deny it. I said that the extraction industries had taken their playbook from the anti-evolution campaign. They wouldn’t have copied a failing campaign. You can add the gun lobby to the list of copy cats as well. And the overlap of working scientists and eco-denialists and anti-environmentalists is undeniable too. Many of them with a financial interest in those industries, many of them employed by them, if not the CEOs of the corporations, look at BP’s past two. I don’t know what you hope to prove by that statement.

    They don’t copy losers. They can read the polling, such as it is. Which is why they don’t copy the Darwin fan club play book.

  45. #45 Anthony McCarthy
    June 2, 2011

    It would be a crime to validate the anti-evidentiary,

    Denial of the evidence that is there to be seen is irrational and quite unscientific.

    Who cares if they don’t like to hear his name?

    Well, if you care about science instead of protecting your club mascot, you should. Though I’ve already said I doubted this was really anything to do with science.

    The overlap between creationists and anti-environmentalists / eco-denialists is undeniable.

    Well, I didn’t deny it. I said that the extraction industries had taken their playbook from the anti-evolution campaign. They wouldn’t have copied a failing campaign. You can add the gun lobby to the list of copy cats as well. And the overlap of working scientists and eco-denialists and anti-environmentalists is undeniable too. Many of them with a financial interest in those industries, many of them employed by them, if not the CEOs of the corporations, look at BP’s past two. I don’t know what you hope to prove by that statement.

    They don’t copy losers. They can read the polling, such as it is. Which is why they don’t copy the Darwin fan club play book.

  46. #46 Anthony McCarthy
    June 2, 2011

    Brent, evolution is a fact, natural selection is a theory. The massive amount of supporting evidence for evolution having happened is beyond rational dispute. Natural selection is an attempt at explaining the phenomenon of evolution, its existence couldn’t possibly have more validity than the phenomenon it purports to explain. Adaptation is also a theoretical phenomenon within evolution and a part of natural selection.

    Without preparing them as to why you’re asking, ask a half dozen working biologists to define “natural selection” and see what you get. I tried it and it opened my eyes as to how varied the concept of natural selection can be.

    Creation is a theory. It has become a “fact” because it SEEMS to make sense to those who try to make it fact and cannot comprehend anything else as being reasonable.

    Creationism, or any other religious holding about the creation of the universe isn’t a scientific theory because science can’t contain anything except what it can get from the physical evidence it can study by the normal methods of science. Nothing to do with God or a supernatural creator can enter into science. Public school science classrooms are there to teach science, which can’t deal with anything outside of the narrow confines of science. And the government can’t involve itself in religious matters. I’m always surprised that people who don’t trust the public schools with teaching many subjects would want them teaching their religious faith.

    I find it to be a disservice for any educational institution to leave either theory out of its curriculum.

    How many creation accounts do you think that a high school biology class can contain and cover the rest of the curriculum? Evolution is only one of many topics that the one and only biology class most students will take, many of those other topics are far more important to those students.

    If you want that you should lobby for an elective in the humanities covering many different creation accounts. Though I can’t imagine those getting funded in the depression we’re in.

    Personally, I think it’s sacrilegious to put God to tests designed to be applied to physical matter, within the confines of a causal network and the limited human ability to observe, quantify and analyze. To try that is to assume that God is confined by causality and so is inferior to physical matters and subject to the forces governing it. That is the reason that I.D. is bad religion as well as bad science. God is not comprehensible by human beings, to assume that is a limitation of God, a demotion of God to the status of an observable thing.

    It also presumes that science is a way for people to see God. That strikes me as being directly in opposition to the Bible.

    I believe that God created the universe as it is, including all of those things that science can discover about it and an effectively infinite realm of things that science can’t process and that people never will. Evolution was how live on Earth was created and developed, continuing now along with creation, which is continuous.

  47. #47 Anthony McCarthy
    June 2, 2011

    Brent, evolution is a fact, natural selection is a theory. The massive amount of supporting evidence for evolution having happened is beyond rational dispute. Natural selection is an attempt at explaining the phenomenon of evolution, its existence couldn’t possibly have more validity than the phenomenon it purports to explain. Adaptation is also a theoretical phenomenon within evolution and a part of natural selection.

    Without preparing them as to why you’re asking, ask a half dozen working biologists to define “natural selection” and see what you get. I tried it and it opened my eyes as to how varied the concept of natural selection can be.

    Creation is a theory. It has become a “fact” because it SEEMS to make sense to those who try to make it fact and cannot comprehend anything else as being reasonable.

    Creationism, or any other religious holding about the creation of the universe isn’t a scientific theory because science can’t contain anything except what it can get from the physical evidence it can study by the normal methods of science. Nothing to do with God or a supernatural creator can enter into science. Public school science classrooms are there to teach science, which can’t deal with anything outside of the narrow confines of science. And the government can’t involve itself in religious matters. I’m always surprised that people who don’t trust the public schools with teaching many subjects would want them teaching their religious faith.

    I find it to be a disservice for any educational institution to leave either theory out of its curriculum.

    How many creation accounts do you think that a high school biology class can contain and cover the rest of the curriculum? Evolution is only one of many topics that the one and only biology class most students will take, many of those other topics are far more important to those students.

    If you want that you should lobby for an elective in the humanities covering many different creation accounts. Though I can’t imagine those getting funded in the depression we’re in.

    Personally, I think it’s sacrilegious to put God to tests designed to be applied to physical matter, within the confines of a causal network and the limited human ability to observe, quantify and analyze. To try that is to assume that God is confined by causality and so is inferior to physical matters and subject to the forces governing it. That is the reason that I.D. is bad religion as well as bad science. God is not comprehensible by human beings, to assume that is a limitation of God, a demotion of God to the status of an observable thing.

    It also presumes that science is a way for people to see God. That strikes me as being directly in opposition to the Bible.

    I believe that God created the universe as it is, including all of those things that science can discover about it and an effectively infinite realm of things that science can’t process and that people never will. Evolution was how live on Earth was created and developed, continuing now along with creation, which is continuous.

  48. #48 Known Alias
    June 3, 2011

    I continue to be baffled at the stupidity of the type of right-leaning ideologues who think that science has somehow become the new “witchery” demeaning God. Assuming God for a moment, science is the study of God’s creation and phenomenon. If you want God to get the credit, fine. God gets the credit for vaccines, because God invented the white blood cell. God gets credit for the nuclear bomb because he invented the fission reaction. But science is only interested in the reaction itself; HOW an atom works, HOW a white blood cell reacts. When we determine, through science, how these things occur in God’s natural order, we can utilize them to our own benefit. After all, what good is the wonder of God creating vitamin C if WE fail to realize it’s benefits in preventing scurvy? For God’s sake, quit trying to dumb down the progress of knowledge in the name of God, and we will thank God for every discovery. I personally will say “Thank God they found the cure for cancer” should the day ever come. Because if God were so meager that the process of science could destroy Him, then God ain’t tough enough to have YOUR back, and if He is greater than science, then all you display is your ignorance, not your devotion.