Kansas and regional news

Kansas and regional news

Within science circles, Kansas square

KU officials say standards debate has harmed state’s reputation, prospects

August 30, 2005


The debate over how evolution is taught in Kansas schools has damaged Kansas University's national reputation and made it tougher to recruit faculty and top students, KU Provost David Shulenburger said Monday.

"For the state to be portrayed repeatedly in the national press as being anti-science does damage to this university," Shulenburger said. "The frustration is you fight this reputation problem every step of the way."

Shulenburger said he believes the debate and the state's reputation are partly to blame for KU's recent drop in U.S. News and World Report magazine's rankings. KU dropped three spots to rank 45th among public universities.

Kathy Martin, a conservative member of the state school board and evolution opponent, said she doesn't think the debate is responsible or that it hurts the reputation of Kansas or KU.

"I feel most people could probably care less," she said. "I really don't think it's that big of a deal except in certain circles."

Martin dismissed Shulenburger's statements as "rhetoric."

"I don't think it's changed the reputation at all," she said. "It's helped in academic circles that are open-minded."

KU faculty who work with hiring new staff say it's difficult to determine how the political debate has affected job candidates' decisions, but they worry there is subtle damage being done and some excellent candidates might steer clear of Kansas altogether.

Jiamiao Lu, a doctoral student from Beijing, China, left, and Erik Lundquist, KU assistant professor in molecular biosciences, confer while Lu analyzes a specimen with a microscope and a computer monitor display.

Jiamiao Lu, a doctoral student from Beijing, China, left, and Erik Lundquist, KU assistant professor in molecular biosciences, confer while Lu analyzes a specimen with a microscope and a computer monitor display.

"It's another issue we have to deal with beyond the normal recruiting process," said James Orr, professor and chairman of the division of biological sciences.

Ann Brill, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said she has talked with many people regarding openings in the area of science communications. The evolution debate has come up repeatedly, she said.

"I'm worried more about the people I'm not talking to who aren't really bothering (to apply)," she said.

The political debate might have pushed Erik Lundquist away, if the timing hadn't been off. The assistant professor in the department of molecular biosciences signed a contract to come to KU from San Francisco in 1999. Weeks later, the state school board approved science standards that de-emphasized evolution.

"Had that happened two weeks earlier, I probably would not have come here," Lundquist said. "You don't want to work in a state that is governed by people who don't appreciate science."

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Years later, Lundquist continues to work at KU. He said it's difficult to measure how the debate affects his work, but many colleagues bring it up in conversation. The debate makes it hard to get funding and to keep it, he said.

"Why would you give $1.5 million to Kansas that is anti-science rather than give it to a state that supports science?" he said.

Lundquist said the debate spurs some candidates to question whether they want their children to attend Kansas schools.

"I think we're missing a whole pool of people here who don't even apply," he said.

Craig Martin, professor and chair of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology, said he has only anecdotal evidence that the debate hurts recruitment.

"We're worried about subtle effects that this kind of negative image has planted in other people's mind," he said.

The assessment of top officials at peer institutions accounts for 35 percent of the U.S. News rankings. In that category, KU dropped from 3.4 to 3.3 out of a possible 5.

At the same time, the six-year graduation rate dropped by 1 percent, the percentage of classes with 50 or more students rose by 1 percent, and the acceptance rate inched up 1 percent.

Shulenburger said the university has seen success in many areas. He said he infers that the peer assessment has declined because of the state's publicity.

"You just can't find negative publicity about this university nationally," he said. "What you find is all that negative publicity about Kansas."


lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

are you associated with the k.u. faculty darthsidious because your bigoted and ignorant comment speaks volumes as to why k.u. dropped a few spots in rank.

Shardwurm 12 years, 1 month ago

Who freaking cares what the rest of the country thinks of Kansas?

I'm wagering you could ask 10,000 people from each state what Kansas' stance is on teaching evolution in school is and not 100 of them could tell you.

It's egotisical to think anyone gives a rat's azz what we think here and frankly I don't care what they think anyway.

Get over it. This is not the crisis you would like to make it out to be. There are much more difficult issues facing the country than worrying about what they're teaching in Kansas.

Besides, the great thing about this country is that there are plenty of options if you don't like it here - 49 to be exact.

jayhawk2000 12 years, 1 month ago

This evolution embarrassment has received media coverage around the world. Here in England the issue has been a feature of the national news.

If you want...

...the smart kids to stay in the state and contribute to its economy; ...smart kids from other states to come here and contribute to the economy; ...tourists to come here and contribute to the economy; ... and investors to come here and contribute to the economy;

then you do all you can to dispel the worldwide belief that Kansas is not only a flat state, but its population believe they live on a flat Earth!

Jeff Barclay 12 years, 1 month ago

Show me the evidence.
Please provide one naturalistic mechanism that can produce new species.
The fossil record, in spite of the rhetoric, has never yielded a transitional form. Miller Urey Experiment Failed Lake, Jane, and Rivera in 1999- DNA, RNA and protein comparisons show that there is no evolutionary "tree of life." Haekels Embryos- Fraud- Embryology does not recapitulate phylogeny England's Peppered Moth- Fraud Darwin's Finches- Result of change within a species, just as in dogs, but that does not demonstrate horses to giraffes. Nebraska Man- Fraud Piltdown Man- Fraud "I thought liberals had outlawed blowing smoke indoors?"

Shardwurm 12 years, 1 month ago

You're kidding me right?

You really think smart kids will leave the state because of this? LOL! I hear that all the time - "Gee, this state doesn't teach about evolution...I'm getting out of here."

You really think tourists care one bit? I went to East Berlin during the Cold War. It being Soviet-occupied meant nothing.

If you're dumb enough to believe that investors are going to stay away from the state because of this you're hopeless. Investors are interested in ONE THING - making money. They'll come here if there are the right incentives. Teaching evolution has nothing to do with it.

Smart kids staying away? Ok, if you think so. But thanks to your liberal Governor we have illegal immigrants getting in-state tuition. I think that would keep more out-of-state smart kids away than evolution.

The arguments you present are weak. The truth is you want evolution taught because that is what YOU believe. Personally, I don't care what they teach because my children are intelligent enough to make their own assessment of what they believe.

Creation and Evolution are both theories. Neither can be proven. So what makes Evolution the better option? Because it doesn't involve religion? Whatever. Both are leaps of faith depending on how you look at it.

staff04 12 years, 1 month ago

Shard- I would love to see that poll, asking 10,000 people from each state what they know about KS. The Washington Post, on Sunday, ran a story about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Unless you have your head buried in the sand (or FoxNews), the entire country is talking about what fools the KSB and half the Kansas Republican Party are doing to the reputation of the state of Kansas. I know, I know, "who cares what the rest of the country thinks about Kansas?", right? Well, I do. Just like I care what the rest of the world thinks about the United States, which I imagine you probably could care less about as well.

We have become a laughing stock and a symbol of miseducation. I'm sad to say it, but you are just wrong about what people know about this foolish debate. The Flying Spaghetti Monster website is getting 750,000 hits per day. I disagree that people aren't paying attention.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

ReachAround, you're wrong. Both ID (which is completely different from Creationism) and Darwinian evolution are theories postulating causes for the history of life on Earth. Creationism could perhaps be considered an ideology, since it assumes the existence of the Judeo-Christian God and begins all evaluation from that point.

All, the more important thing in the end is not how the media portrays this issue in Kansas, but whether or not the changes would benefit students and make them more "scientific". Indeed, the media simply can't get it right, as there are publications all around the world claiming that Kansas is trying to abolish evolution and teach only creationism. Seems to me the appropriate place for anger would be on the journalists for being lazy and outright incorrect.

If these changes are adopted, I bet a bright Kansas student would be much better equipped to discuss complex biological problems (relating to origins science) than a bright student in another state in which evolutionary theory is taught uncritically and with selective supporting evidence.

Most people haven't a clue about what is really happening in Kansas, and I can't say that I blame them. It is almost impossible to get an untainted story from media outlets, which necessitates digging for info. yourself if you really want to understand it.

cutny 12 years, 1 month ago

I lived in Lawrence for 15 years, and now I live in Brooklyn, NY. I love Kansas, and I love Lawrence, but trust me on this....Kansas is a joke to everyone else. "Rhetoric".....come on...Intelligent Design is "rhetoric" at its bleakest.

staff04 12 years, 1 month ago

Oh, and Shard?

There were 22 children of illegal immigrants that were eligible for in-state tuition for the 2004-2005 school year--how many do you think took advantage of it? The noise that Kobach and company made over this issue cost the state more than 10 years of that program would.

A liberal would never get elected in the state of Kansas. The real reason she got elected is that conservatives think they are the majority in Kansas, when they are actually BARELY more than half of the state Republican party, which makes up 60% of the state's registered voters. By my math, that means about 30% of the state consider themselves conservative. The real reason you have a moderate Democratic governor is that the conservatives managed to alienate the rest of their own party so much, that they jumped ship. I suppose you call the other half of your party liberal too, huh?

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

Hey cutny, would you care to substantiate your claim about ID? Do you really know anything about it?

staff04 12 years, 1 month ago

Have a great day all! Enjoy your brawl!

Unfortunately, I have a job, and I should actually start doing it now, so I must exempt myself from further ranting...

Prydain 12 years, 1 month ago

How is it that the fossil record contains no transitional forms? I hadn't heard this argument and can cite a couple examples where there are transitional forms. The morphologic change of Hyracotherium, a small horse like browser, to the present day horse which is a grazer is document in the record. There are at least two transitional forms in the fossil record. Also you have the change from a three toed animal to the hoof with transitional forms.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

The fossil record does contain a few "transitional" forms, but they are invariably at the species level or just above. The mechanisms of evolution demand a continuous line of organisms bridging ancestors and descendents, and the larger the distance between two organisms or groups (for example between phyla), the more forms there should be.

What the record shows however, is that there is an utter lack of intermediate forms between phyla and the other larger taxonomic categories. There should be countless forms here. Moreover, these gaps appear to be real (i.e. in nature itself) and not just due to a lack of preservation.

Pointing to a few "transitionals" within, say, the horse line (which represent, relatively speaking, extremely minor variations) does nothing to support the grand claim that the fossil record supports evolutionary theory.

Also, perhaps more importantly, those organisms that are well represented in the record exhibit stasis - or the tendency NOT to change while on earth, rather than directional evolution. In other words, even the organisms that we see abundantly in the record don't change during their record, contrary to evolutionary predictions.

Prydain 12 years, 1 month ago

What is ID's thoughts on the morphologic similarities between modern birds and theropods?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

Two things to keep in mind about this article:

1 - Shulenburger stated that it was our reputation in the PRESS that hurts us. Sure, if we capitulated and decided as a state to only enact policies that read well in the NY Times, we'd look better. But, it needs to be acknowledged that our reputation is due to how we are portrayed in the press. My prior statements about not being in the minority are factual: 26 states have had policy debates and some have proposed legislation against teaching evolution in public schools. We are not out of the norm. What we ARE is under attack by a "blue state" press that thinks that all things midwestern must be backwards. Since we grow crops, we must be dumb. 20 years ago a friend of mine went to be a nanny in Boston. More than one person there assumed she was some sort of buggy-driving-Amish-type person simply because she was from Kansas. They have believed us to be backwards long before this debate hit the news. This debate is just fuel for their assumptions about us stupid Kansans.

2 - Even KU's chair of evolutionary biology indicated that there is only "anectodal" evidence that this effects KU's reputation. Ask anyone who understands the nature of college rankings and they will tell you that they don't really mean that much (my wife is one of those Strong Hall administrators). Those rankings are mostly just good for bragging rights, but are not an accurate way to measure the worth of an education at an institution. Did we fall in the rankings because of our bad press? That's probably a "factor", but that's more a reflection of how politicized those rankings are than a reflection of how good a school KU is. A debate over teaching evolution in our high schools stirs in Topeka, and all of the sudden KU is no longer a good place to go to college? Does that seem fair to KU? It's not like our entire faculty up and left when the debate started, and besides, KU teaches evolution!

KU's faculty are the lowest paid among peer institutions. THAT is a REAL reason for falling in rankings, and one that KU hasn't addressed in over 30 years!

RA: You inadvertently helped make a good point. Evolution IS a THEORY. The problem is, while no material advancements have been made in the area of evolutionary theory, textbooks have slowly and quietly dropped the word "theory" from discussion on evolution. The theory is now accepted as fact in the scientific community, when it has not been proven to be a fact. By definition of the word "theory", evolution MUST be identified as a theory. This is something that too many people don't understand (or, don't admit), which is that the pro-evolution side of this debate has just as much a political/ideological agenda as the anti-evolution side does. But, since the national press is firmly based in "blue state" thinking, it comes across as a one-sided controversy, which is unfair to us all, regardless of where you stand on the subject.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

ID's thoughts are those similarities can be equally explained by commond descent via evolution or common design (modified similarity is indeed a hallmark of design as well). So morphologic similarity alone is not enough to determine origin.

ID would also consider the genetic sequences from which the homologous (or similar morphologic features) arose, as well as the pattern of embryonic development of those features. Often times homologous features arise from very different genetic material and/or very different embryonic development pathways, casting doubt on their evolutionary relatedness.

So I guess in summary, ID would want to gather all information possible, and determine if a material cause for the similarity was in fact plausible. Merely recognizing a similarity isn't enough, unless of course one is committed to evolutionary explanations a priori.

Prydain 12 years, 1 month ago

I ask because I remembered reading a few months ago that chinese researchers found another fossil of a feathered dinosaur similar to Archaeopterxy only, if I remember right, bigger.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

Prydain said: "How is it that the fossil record contains no transitional forms? I hadn't heard this argument ..."

THAT is the point that the anti-evolution side is trying to get across. The facts that DO make it into the maintream curricula and text ARE slanted TOWARD the theory of evolution. This is part of why conservative extremists have taken over the board of education: it's a natural backlash, a response to the realization that our science class rooms had been hijacked by a liberal agenda. There is an ABUNDANCE of scientific evidence against the theory, but you won't find any of that in a major text published by a major east coast or collegiate publishing house. Part of why so many people find ID laughable is because of the lack of unbiased information that is available at arm's length on either ID or evolution. If no "credible" sources can be found (easily found) to support a way of thinking, then it must lack crediblity.

Prydain 12 years, 1 month ago

I found an article about the find, other than the 'suggestions' in the article it sums up nicely.


Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

The last time that happened, National Geographic rushed a cover article to publication only to find out later the "find" was a fraud (this was about 5 years ago I think).

But still, the question is mechanism. What can cause a change from a bird to a reptile (actually many biologists don't think that was the order anyway)? Can material causes alone do it? What evidence is there that they can? Finch beaks? Moth color? Merely finding an organism that looks like two others doesn't confirm evolution in the least, because the it doesn't tell us HOW the changes emerged.

Prydain 12 years, 1 month ago

I'm honestly trying to gather info on both sides of this argument. What I've come across is that all the support I've seen for ID is that it tries to disprove evolution. Evolution is based on observations of existing fossils with alot of conjecture. I haven't done extensive research but if someone has a link showing evidence for an alternative theory, not just ID, I would appreciate it.

righthand 12 years, 1 month ago

Well, it's obvious that darthsidious needs a little more evolution... not quite done on both sides. You know, the bumper sticker crowd is free to move to another state at any time. The KU provost is such a sissy. A magazine ranking system? Yes, that is a strong measure. For those of us who actually love our state, misgivings and all, we might just encourage our kids to attend KU because it is in their state, regardless of some contrivewd ranking system. I went to a small KS university and got a teaching degree. Now I make the same kind of money all teachers do, even the ones who got their teaching degrees at Ivy League schools. But, you know, I do have to live with the fact that I never quite ranked up there... I hope my children forgive me

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

Prydain, as you study explanations, I encourage you to focus on the mechanism of change. We all know different organisms lived in the past. The question is what caused them to emerge. Material processes can explain some features, but in my opinion fails miserably in explaining others. Good luck.

Prydain 12 years, 1 month ago

The problem is being unbiased. Trained and working as a geologist pretty much ingrains evolution. I admit I still believe evolutionary theory but I'm curious to know what others think.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

At least you recognize bias. Now the task is evaluating arguments and determining what the best explanation is. The data and plausibility should win out there, not preconceived notions. That's science.

One thing that might help is to ditch any thoughts you might have that being skeptical of evolutionary processes entails holding to Genesis. That's a false dichotomy. This is not about the age of the earth, or even whether evolutionary processes are real (of course they are). But what do they REALLY explain, and what explanations have been offered that grossly over-extrapolate the available data.

Dani Davey 12 years, 1 month ago

Kansas has been featured in a less than intelligent light in/on the following mediums: NY Times CNN Fox News MSNBC BBC And lets not forget the national best selling book "Whats the Matter with Kansas".

It may not matter to some of you what others outside of Kansas think of us, but to students like me who went to KU and would like to get into somewhere for grad school where my degree will be worth more, trust me, it matters.

And as a side note, the illegal aliens thing, the kids that are eligible for that are kids that have lived in the state for years and completed a highschool education here. A lot of these kids are just as assimulated as anyone else and they've lived here long enough that they would have established residency, had their parents applied for citizenship. We shouldn't punish kids for their parents' decisions.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

Dani, it sounds like you're actually saying that you're not getting into the grad schools you want because of media coverage about Kansas science standards. Why do I doubt that?

Ceallach 12 years, 1 month ago

Dani, there is more than one way to look at the illegal aliens' children issue. You look at it and see "We shouldn't punish kids for their parents' decisions." Many others feel that we should not reward illegal aliens by educating their children (who are also illegal aliens). "They would have established residency, had their parents applied for citizenship" -- but they did not apply for citizenship. They remained year after year without applying. Children are socially, culturally and educationally denied many opportunities in this world as a direct result of past decisions made by their parents. Many, many people take the necessary steps to make their own way. The "kids" you refer to are old enough to seek legal status in this country. If they sincerely wish to be Americans, that should be their first step.

Regarding the article above, the Provost should check with his faculty members before blaming a current controversy for the ever slipping status of the university in the magazine polls -- many of them like nothing better than to discuss how backwards thinking Kansas is and how forward thinking and worldly they consider themselves. The university might gain more overall state support if the university community gave the state a little more overall support.

lori 12 years, 1 month ago

What is ID's take on the similarities between the eukaryotic cell's mitochondria and/or chloroplasts, and a basic prokaryotic bacterial cell? The ribosomal subunits are similar, and it would seem to me that this points to evolution, in the idea of larger, more complex animals evolving from smaller, less complex beings (like bacteria and other prokaryotic cells). I'm not trying to prove evolution one way or another -- I know the evolutionist take on this similarity. What is the ID's explanation?


Dani Davey 12 years, 1 month ago

ultimate175- I'm not saying that I'm not getting into grad schools because of media coverage. All I was saying is that it does matter what others thing of Kansas because the less they respect us, the less a degree from schools like KU and K-State are going to be worth.

Ceallach - You're right that children are often punished for actions of their parents. I guess I just look at this as a case where the state would in a lot of ways benefit from giving these kids in-state tuition. They get educated which turns around to better jobs and more taxes for the state later. And I've never seen how giving them in-state tuition deters out-of-state kids from coming here. It's not like they were going to get the in-state tuition and we decided to give it to the illegal aliens instead. Perhaps you could offer me some incite on this argument?

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

I think most IDers think the evidence for some sort of mitochondrial/bacterial relationship is good (although not necessarily Darwinian). Basically you're referring to the symbiotic theory in which a primitive cell engulfed a bacterial cell, and instead of digesting it, utilized it and it eventually became a replicated part of the cell. Right?

I would note however that I don't think evolutionary theory ever did, or even does, predict development via such "internal" symbiotic relationships. In fact it was a long time before symbiosis was treated kindly in evolutionary circles.

Also interesting to note is that the modern champion of symbiosis, Lynn Margulis, essentially thinks Neo-Darwinism is a dead theory.

But to answer your question in short, IDers tend to think the symbiosis explanation holds water....because data supports it.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

Add on to my last post:

Lori, in case there is some confusion, ID most certainly does not hold that every biological feature was designed, and/or that evolution does not occur at some leve.

mefirst 12 years, 1 month ago

Almost passed up a fellowship to come to KU because of the evolution debate. Didn't want to come to this backward state, but the fellowship money was too good. We all have our price. All of my friends made fun of me for coming to KS to get educated.

Brian Sandefur 12 years, 1 month ago

mefirst, the funny thing is that if these standard changes go through, kids in Kansas are probably going to learn more about evolutionary theory and the relevant data than you did in high school. What a rip off.

Ceallach 12 years, 1 month ago

Dani, my concern is not with giving them in-state tuition, I think they should give them in-state tuition IF they are seeking citizenship. If they are not, then they obviously are content to adopt the same bad decision made by their parents and then I say no. I think putting them on the path toward legalization is just as big a gift as in-state tuition.

My father died last spring and I had to go to South Texas (Rio Grande Valley) to help my mother with the necessary arrangements and follow-up paperwork, including notifying the Social Security Administration. The large SSA waiting room was overflowing day after day, due to Mexican nationals having the opportunity to register and work toward residency first, then citizenship. IMHO it's the right thing and the first thing they should be doing.

lori 12 years, 1 month ago

Hmm, well, I can't say that I buy into ID, simply because I don't believe in a higher being. But I also have a problem thinking that evolution and Darwin are these sacred cows that can't be questioned. If evolution is correct, it'll hold up to any criticism. But it doesn't take but a basic science course to show that there are aspects that we can't yet explain. I think it's rather close-minded to say that evolution is an indisputable fact. I don't think that ID's the answer; but who knows, I could be wrong. The Flying Spaghetti Monster could, in fact, rule the univers, and I might be going to spaghetti hell for not wearing a pirate outfit on a daily basis.

If we always think inside the box, then we'd still be believing in spontaneous generation. After all, it was proven by several experiments, by intelligent and educated men. Galileo would not be a name that we recognize, nor would Newton, or Einstein. Questioning accepted beliefs is the beginning of innovation and discovery.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 1 month ago

It's amazing to me how polarized this subject is. When I was in high school, our biology teacher told us some very good reasons why he thought evolution was impossible... then we turned to the evolution chapter in the textbook and he taught us about the theory of evolution. While I do not believe in evolution, and I consider ID to have greater validity both in terms of science and in terms of my personal faith, I still think kids need to know about and understand the theory of evolution. It is a major scientific theory that spurs the imagination. It's worth studying... even if only to learn how to refute it :). I wish there was a way that we could find a way to approach the teaching of the theory in our schools, while at the same time being sure to teach about the other major scientific theories about the origin of life. There is room in our minds and hearts for "all" of this without having to futher polarize ourselves from each other. Not since the Vietnam war has society been more divided on "right" and "left" issues. Maybe if we can all agree to peel off the inflamatory bumper stickers from our cars we can find a way to not be so angry all the time.

Let's give our children some credit and stop treating them as if they have no capacity for critical thought. Most high school kids can think for themselves (for the most part). Present all the major theories to them, and as Lori said, let the different theories survive on their own merits. Lies don't survive long when exposed to the truth. I have faith in ID. I'm not that intimidated by the idea of evolution being taught in our schools as long as it's not being given more attention than other scientific theories. If our kids see the whole truth, they'll figure it out for themselves.

John1945 12 years, 1 month ago

KU's rankings are dropping because of the sloth and laziness of its faculty,and the incompetence of its administration not because some Kansans have the gall and uppitiness to question the religious tenets of Darwinian orthodoxy.

Universities are evaluated on their ability to acquire grant money and publish in prestigious academic journals. How many of KU's lethargic faculty members are nationally recognized scholars with substantial records of achievement?

No, KU's pointy headed wowsers are too busy dressing up like apes, and lurking around the hallways of SBOE meetings, too frightened to go inside lest their ignorance be put on public display.

Duke and the University of North Carolina are major universities with top notch reputations that are built in the south. They got that way by doing research, important research, and building up their academic credentials rather than lollygagging around Mass Street with the other bums, derelics and deadbeats and publicly humiliating themselves by avoiding debates with amateurs.

Shulenburger is a religious bigot and an incompetent who is simply looking for a scapegoat for he and Hemenway's failed administration. Whip those clowns on your faculty into shape rather than making excuses Dave and you won't have to worry about what the SBOE does.

Fangorn 12 years, 1 month ago

DarthSidious: It's too bad bigots like you are allowed to contaminate such discussions.

mefirst: Let me tell you joke: At a social gathering hosted by one of the city's prominent citizens, a rather well-to-do man approached one of the woman present. "Would you sleep with me for $50,000?" he asked. "Why certainly!" she replied. "Well then, would you sleep with me for $5?" he asked. "Oh! of all the.... What kind of a woman do you think I am!" she exclaimed. "We've already established that, my dear. Now we're just haggling over the price."

"We all have our price", indeed! I certainly hope your soul is strong enough to hold up under the withering scorn of your friends. And I hope you stay here long enough to discover that the New York Times is not the final arbeiter of what is real and what isn't. If you can look past your own biases at this "backward state", you may find it has a lot more to offer in some ways than the crowded Eastern Corridor or the Left Coast.

Fangorn 12 years, 1 month ago

wendt/eobserver: It's funny how anyone who happens to disagree with you is ignorant, close-minded, etc. You ridicule John1945, insinuating that he must not be "educated" because he comes down on the opposite side of this issue. Simply being able to regurgitate what your professors fed you does not make you "educated". So few people learn the ability to think for themselves anymore. The tendancy (demonstrated quite nicely by both of you) to spurn debate for ad hominem remarks is a by-product of this spreading inability.

Fangorn 12 years, 1 month ago

wendt: You are correct. I misspelled "arbiter". I was reading an article today by German researcher on changes in work habits in various countries. It was written in his language, so please excuse my confusion of "arbeiter" (worker) with "arbiter".

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

I've been in Kansas for six weeks, and I've got to say that it's the stupidest, most pig-ignorant place I have ever set foot in, and I've been in every state in the Union, Europe, Beirut, and Bahrain.

We should give Kansas to the Jews.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

Oh yeah: and the cuisine out here SUCKS.

I'm eating McDonalds. Its better than your crap.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

This place is worse than Arkansas.

It's worse than New Jersey.

ryanjasondesch 12 years, 1 month ago

Evolution is a "scientific" theory. There's a difference. Any jerk can come up with someone crap shoot idea and call it a theory. ID does not measure up. You cannot presuppose a creator from the natural world, its bad logic. In fact its called circular reasoning and it wouldn't have stood up in my intro Symbolic Logic course in college, much less the entire field of science. Just because biology is an ONGOING science and it can't explain every single thing about evolution yet and probably never will entirely, doesn't mean that since there are gaps in knowledge then there are holes in the theory. If the theory was complete there'd be no point in continuing to study it. "Holes" in evolutionary theory is not evidence that ID has any credence, or that it is even an OPPOSING theory.

But sure, anyone can say that the world is too complex to exist without an intelligent designer, especially if they don't understand evolution to begin with, but that does make it logical. I could say the world was created 15 minutes before I wrote this, and we were created at that same moment, complete with memories of everything before, hell I could start a cult with that. BUT IT AIN"T SCIENCE!!

Fangorn 12 years, 1 month ago

wendt: I've rarely seen believers in evolutionism apply critical-thinking skills to their own faith. Your question is just as valid for those on your side of this issue. If someone has decided ahead of time that there can't possibly be a God or other "higher power", how objectively will they look at any evidence against this popular theory?

Fangorn 12 years, 1 month ago

wendt: Regarding German, I don't read it very well any longer, so I had my face in a German/English dictionary quite a bit today. It's a worthwhile language to study, if you find yourself with a little time.

observer: How do you allege that Bush used God to start this war? And knowing how Saddam hated the US and was actively seeking nuclear weapons, would you have felt better had he waited until Iraq was a threat or could enable others to be a threat? A radioactive glow over Brooklyn might even have convinced some Easterns that Kansas might not be a bad place to live.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

I'm here in Lawrence on a project related to this:


I wish I could get a decent slice of pizza in this garbage pit of a town.

1derer 12 years, 1 month ago

question #1: (Since you are inclined to demand perfection in posting.)

Posted by wendt (anonymous) on August 30, 2005 at 6:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just out of curiosity John1945,

What institute of higher learning did you get your degree from????

Shouldn't that be:

From which institute of higher learning did you receive your degree?

quetion #2

As you grill others about their educational degrees, and refer to the leader of this country as ignorant (so many ignorant people around you, huh?), I can't help but wonder how your school's reputation for education compares to President Bush's school's reputation for education?

As for Walking_Dude: If only you would keep on walking right out of this garbage pit of a town. What is keeping you here? Or are you are walking because you have no wheels? Maybe you don't care for our cuisine because you are eating out of garbage cans. Suggestion: get back on your meds and when you are a little more social they may let you back into the shelter.

ryanjasondesch 12 years, 1 month ago

President Bush only got into that school cuz of his daddy, the specific term used alludes me right now, but it concerns ivy league schools allowing the children of alumni to go their school with lowered standards for entrance.

I do not dislike Bush just because I am opposed to the war, I dislike him because he's hurt civil rights, he's currently running the largest government in our history (I might be somewhat 'liberal' though I also have many libertarian views), his bombastic foreign policy is making an enemy of us to the world, he's done nothing to significantly help the economy or assure me that my children will have a secure economic future, he continues to support a futile and expensive war on drugs (with the war on terror and Iraq taboot), he speaks of freedom yet supports FCC censorship to make sure I don't hurt myself hearing any naughty language or God forbid - seeing a womans breast (gast!), he continues to deny the growing evidence of global warming, and he's an arrogant, Christianist, lame duck, never could find a company he couldn't run into the ground, lying, manipulative, divisive, rhetorical, repetitive, redundant, appealing to the masses, fact manufacturing, holier than thou, in denial, too late to admit his mistakes cuz he'd look more like a fool than he already does, "supposedly talks to God", self-accualized protector of the world son of bitch that's ever sat his worthless ass in the oval office.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

Wendt: Thanks, yeah, it's the coming thing, especially with the fresh bunch of vets that'll be coming back from Iraq. At least I can guarantee them employment, which is a whole lot more than Kevin Groenhagen will ever do.

1derer: Let me just say that Pachamama's is mediocre enough that I'll take McDonalds. My meds? Good booze and enough Metamucil to help me forget this town.

Got some juicy footage of your bums here, though.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

Dick Cheney meets a leaky microwave oven.

Call it Wellstone's Revenge.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

Man, I can't wait until we can get George W. Bush in a bumfight. Spectacular, or what? Pour a quart of Jack Daniels down his spooge-soaked gullet and set him loose! BRING 'EM ON! He'd be good against ol' Rufus.

Walking_Dude 12 years, 1 month ago

You cannot possibly conceive of how pleased I am to read that. Google this:

HERF weapons

seadiver 12 years, 1 month ago

Answer to wendt's questions: Dinosaurs are described in the Bible in great detail. Like the one on the Sinclair gas station sign - the brontasaurus/apatasaurus with the long tail, long neck, big bulbous body, eats plants all day - it says 'he swings his tail around like a cedar tree [thats how you tell its not a hippopotamus or an elephant - they have dinky tails - this animal has a tail shaped like a Christmas tree - cone shape], he lives around the river, eats grass like a cow [- vegetarian, so it cant be an alligator/carnivore], is so big that it doesnt bother him when the river floods, but is a gentle creature - other animals can play around him, is huge and strong, was made along with the man' - Job 40:15ff. The word 'diinosaur' is only about 160 years old, was coined in 1841 when they started digging them up as fossils. Before then they were usually called dragons, which are in the histories of every culture - Chinese dragons, the English knight rides out on his horse to fight the dragon, Spanish dragons, the Vikings fought dragons, they are in the Greek and Roman histories - they were commonly known until modern times. Also dinosaur and human footprints are found in the same strata, ancient cave paintings of dinosaurs, Aztec and Mayan-age ceramic dinosaurs - see answersingenesis.org. Thats the body shape of a dinosaur - a dragon has the long tail, long neck, big bulbous body, he is a stylized dinosaur. Most of the fossils are the result of a world wide flood [Noah's], as evidenced by sedimentary rock being the most common surface rock [you see it in great thicknesses whenever you drive through a road cut anywhere in the world], and it is in those layers you find the deer, dinosaurs, etc. They had to be buried quickly or they would end up like the deer in the woods that gets eaten by the coyotees [collapses the 'geologic column']. Cain and Able did marry their sisters, which was not against the law of God in the beginning because they were pretty much genetically perfect, fresh from the Creator. There was no danger genetically/physically. In Genesis 5:4 it says Adam and Eve had other sons and daughters. Even Abraham married his half sister, Sarah, which is where the Israelite nation came from, the Jewish people. But when Adam and Eve sinned, they started breaking down genetically. That took a long time to cause a serious health problem - it was 2500 years later, when God gave the law by Moses, that for health reasons God made it like it is now, against the law to marry close within your family. If you try it today you are asking for trouble because the mutations accumulate in the gene pool, you increase the probability they will be expressed in your children. As to God knowing what the devil is doing and allowing it, even the wicked acts of demons and men will glorify God when his justice is served in he

Ediacaran 12 years, 1 month ago

Creationist Barclay writes: "Show me the evidence. Please provide one naturalistic mechanism that can produce new species."

Here's just one of several evolutionary mechanisms that produces new species: polyploidy. This mechanism is particularly interesting to me because it's one of the quickest mechanisms for speciation, and accounts for many of the observed instances of speciation (a.k.a. macroevolution).

Barclay the Creationist again: "The fossil record, in spite of the rhetoric, has never yielded a transitional form."

The fossil record has yielded many transitional forms. If you had been reading peer-reviewed science journals over the last several years instead of creationist tracts, you'd know about the many transitionals from feathered dinosaurs to full-fledged birds and their cousins. Archaeopteryx was discovered about 2 years after Darwin first published On the Origin of Species, and China has been yielding several species of feathered dinosaurs in the last few years (here's a few to get you started - Caudiopteryx, Protarcheopteryx, Confuciusornis).

Many transitionals from land-dwelling mammals to whales have been discovered. Even Darwin mentioned two transitional whale fossils in On the Origin of Species. Look up Pakicetus, Ambulocetus, Rodhocetus, Indocetus, and Basilosaurus for starters. The fossil record shows the evolution of whales quite nicely, but even more support comes from molecular biology and genetic studies. Whales evolved from land-dwelling artiodactyls, and hippos are their closest extant evolutionary cousins living on land.

For transitionals fossils a little closer to us in the family tree, read about all the transitional hominid fossils discovered over the years. Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus anamensis. Don't stop at learning about all the transitional fossils - read about the genetic data that substantiates evolution, too. A good place to start is: http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/chro.all.html

This shows a comparison of the chromosome ideograms between humans, chimps, gorillas and orangutans. Now that the chimp genome is available, comparisons between the human and chimp genomes are revealing more details on the mutations that occurred in the evolution of both lineages.

Ediacaran 12 years, 1 month ago

ultimate175 writes: "Both ID (which is completely different from Creationism) and Darwinian evolution are theories postulating causes for the history of life on Earth. Creationism could perhaps be considered an ideology, since it assumes the existence of the Judeo-Christian God and begins all evaluation from that point."

Ediacaran replies: Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC) is not a scientific theory, as it makes no testable claims regarding its central tenet of creation by a supernatural intelligence. Occasionally, however, IDC proponents do make testable claims about evolution (not IDC) - claiming that evolution CANNOT account for some structure or function - but their claims turn out to be false (such as Behe's debunked examples of "irreducible complexity").

The problem with teaching IDC in public school science classes is that 1) it isn't science, and 2) it has not earned a place in classes - IDC has not withstood critical peer review by the scientific community. Challenging current ideas is fine when there is substantive evidence to back up the challenge - Lynn Margulis successfully substantiating the evolutionary endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria is an excellent example - but IDC fails in this regard. Teaching IDC to high school kids (generally not known for their scientific expertise) to "balance" education in evolution makes no more sense than teaching astrology to "balance" astronomy. Supernatural claims are not testable by the scientific method.

As a political tactic, IDC proponents downplay their differences to attract as many creationists as they can to their cause. They sometimes even claim that a space alien may be the Intelligent Designer - so "Raelians" would qualify as Intelligent Design Creationists - but still insist that supernaturalism be part of IDC, hence their diatribes against "naturalism" and "materialism". While most IDC leaders are Old-Earth Creationists, there are a few Young-Earth Creationists in their ranks, so they try to sidestep that rift in their ideologies. Read the transcript of the Kansas 'Kangaroo Court' for examples.

As ultimate175 noted, "Creationism could perhaps be considered an ideology, since it assumes the existence of the Judeo-Christian God and begins all evaluation from that point." That is a good description of the views of the IDC leadership. IDC leader William Dembski wrote in the book The Design Inference: "The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design, on the other hand, readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory."

Intelligent Design IS Creationism.

Ediacaran 12 years, 1 month ago

Refer to the article Touchstone Magazine, July/August 1999, p. 84 for the full quote from Dembski; the source was incorrect in my previous post, regarding Dembski's claim:

"The world is a mirror representing the divine life. The mechanical philosophy was ever blind to this fact. Intelligent design :readily embraces the sacramental nature of physical reality. Indeed, intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory."

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