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Archive for Tuesday, February 13, 2007

State board dumps anti-evolution standards

February 13, 2007

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The science standards that brought Kansas ridicule when they were adopted 14 months ago are no more. Enlarge video

The science standards that brought Kansas ridicule when they were adopted 14 months ago are no more. On Tuesday, the State Board of Education voted on the fifth set of science standards for public schools in only eight years.

In 1999, a conservative-controlled board struck most references to evolution from the standards. In 2001, a new board returned to evolution-friendly standards, that all life has a common origin.

In 2005, concepts critical of evolution were allowed to be taught in school. But, now that the board has a 6-4 moderate majority they returned to evolution-friendly standards.

The previous standards were controversial, because they rejected mainstream scientific views. Teachers were encouraged to teach concepts critical of evolution. For example, questions could be discussed freely in the classroom about whether changes over time in one species can create a new one.

People on both sides of the issue addressed the board before they voted.

"Why should students be expected to learn a version of science that isn't consistent with the way science is actually done?" said Dennis Shephard, evolution proponent.

"It's equipping the students to try to figure out what it is and whether this is true or this isn't true," said Rebecca Hogland of the previous standards. "Let's have an open mind."

The decision about what concepts are taught in schools is left up to the 296 local school boards in the state. Educators say the guidelines are influential, because teachers and administrators want their students to do well on tests which are written from the state standards and indicate a school's performance.

To read the new science standards, log on to the Kansas State Department of Education.

Comments

gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

One might think that, but only if one were 1) ignorant of basic science and probably distrustful of it in general, 2) biased by silly creationist fallacies and misconceptions, and 3) a believer in creationism and thus needing to believe the other guys (scientists) are wrong and on some level know it, and have a big conspiracy to protect their rival belief at all costs.

The TRUTH is, evolution is a fact. The TRUTH is, creationists are afraid of that truth. Deathly afraid. Afraid for their very souls, that they will lose those souls if they accept evolution, if it turns out to be true, etc.

The truth is, the "fervency" of the so-called "evolutionists" (aka scientists) has been very low key for a century and a half. They mostly ignored the creationism movement, continuing to do good science and ignoring them as luddites, flat earthers, who will be a footnote in history someday, a wacky group of fanatics who deny reality in favor of their strange, disproven magic story.

UNTIL... the last few decades, the creationists have been getting slick and cunning and politically saavy in trying to force their beliefs on everyone else, trying to pass it off as science without merit, AND trying to push it into the schools as such.

And more scientists are realizing maybe they SHOULD speak out, correct the fallacies of the creationists, explain what science ACTUALLY says and why. Most scientists kept on doing their work, publishing it in science journals mostly just read by other scientists, and ignoring the mainstream.

Now they're realizing they should put more effort into interfacing with the general public and explaining what it is they have found out, etc. Especially now that the creationists are stepping up their OWN zeal with political saavy and force of numbers, trying to illegally change the constitution and science itself by "popular vote" and shady tricks.

Afraid of the truth? They're trying to protect it from people who ARE afraid of it.

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purplesage 7 years, 6 months ago

I understand why the religious conservatives, who largely endorse either creationist or intelligent design views, are passionate about their beliefs. Can someone explain the fervency of the evolutionists? One might think they are afraid of the truth.

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gr 7 years, 6 months ago

"The TRUTH is, evolution is a fact. The TRUTH is, creationists are afraid of that truth."

Since you nor the article has defined what is meant by "evolution", I can say that evolutionism is fully compatible with creation. I believe in evolution.

"explain what science ACTUALLY says and why." "explaining what it is they have found out, etc."

Is it what science "says", or what it has "found out"? Or is it the, "etc."?

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

Ah yes, there's gr, using sophistry and "how are you defining evolution?" nonsense. Of course, based on her own fallacy that "micro evolution" (the part creationists accept) is different from "macro evolution" (the part they don't accept). It's not. They are the same process, to a different degree; evolution.

I'm defining evolution the same way science is. I'm using it in the same context they are. Biological evolution. As I've already explained to gr before. In much more detail than I will do again now.

Her question wasn't serious. It was a red herring to make out there are different kinds of evolution we could be talking about here. There aren't.

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Janet Lowther 7 years, 6 months ago

Great response gr8dane!

Some people just have trouble getting through their pointy little heads that the Bible is true on a mythic level, rather than a literal one.

Something is mythically true when it informs you about the fundamental relationships of man with God and/or man with his neighbor.

Being mythically true does not preclude there being literal truth contained therein, but it is the mythical truth that is IMPORTANT, not the the literal.

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

Right, jrlii. As a Christian, I believe the bible has truths to it. As an honest, moderate, tolerant (of other faiths, or none) Christian, I can accept that other faiths and philosophies and holy texts have truths in them too. Some overlap between them. Some unique views.

I can also accept my faith, and my holy text, while inspired by God (I believe), has flaws, errors, false beliefs about the world around us (like the earth being flat, and a world wide flood), etc.

Christians do not believe God wrote the bible, or that it's 100% literally true and inerrant. Fundamentalists believe that, not Christians. Christians believe people wrote the bible, but people who were (to one degree or another) inspired by God.

The bible authors may have been inspired by God, but what they wrote was also coloured by their own cultural taboos and traditions, outdated laws (secular and religious), personal biases and prejudices, sexual/gender stereotypes, limited scientific knowledge, view of history, etc...

Fundies get mad when I point this out, but they themselves ignore all the "outdated laws" that seem silly today (I could list off many from the top of my head), even while citing chapter and verse on nearby ones that fit (or seem to fit) their own personal biases (like the ones they use for gay-bashing, as one example).

Christianity does not require literal-Genesis creation belief. Most of the mainstream denominations (Catholic and Protestant) accept evolution as good science or at least say you can believe either way and still be a good Christian.

For a 3000 year old origin myth, Genesis isn't too bad. But we know a lot better than they did. And they didn't intend for it to be a scientific explanation. More important to them was the "moral" of the origin myth, the lessons they intended their children to get from it.

(Like, if a snake tells you to eat something, don't listen!) :)

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

gr added, "I believe in biological evolution. You have yet to explain where my beliefs differ from "what science ACTUALLY says". I've said before, I don't subscribe to micro-macro delineations."

If that were true, you wouldn't be playing all these dishonest games.

As for explaining where your beliefs differ from "what science ACTUALLY says", I cannot do that. You won't ACTUALLY share what it is you "believe". You dance around evasively, playing "bait and switch", accusing others of it falsely, and other fallacies, attacking posts of people trying to explain science to the creationists and the borderline people who hear the creationist fallacies and want to know if they are true...

You refuse to actually say what you "believe", instead concentrating on attacking (with transparently dishonest tactics) the points of everyone defending and explaining science.

I'm used to many creationists claiming NOT TO BE creationists, while making all the usual creationist fallacies. Another tactic many of them use, so they'll be taken more seriously. If it waddles like a creationist, it's probably a creationist, even if it tries to disguise its quack.

So excuse me when I don't believe your assertions that you are not a creationist, and accept evolution (the scientific version of it). Especially since you gave the impression of only "accepting" it facetiously, like placating someone who's mad. "There there, I believe you, you're totally right... put the knife down." grin I'm sure to many creationists, they consider the rest of the world "mad". Mainstream religions (that accept science, seen as compromise to fundamentalists), politics (especially 'liberals'), and yes, science and all the things it discovers that are a threat to their faith...

Then in a later post, you admit you don't actually accept all that, that it's just a pretend "conversion", based on our alleged "vagueness" (which isn't vagueness, but just you calling it that because yes, in science and in life, words and phrases can mean different things in different contexts, and we insist on using proper contexts when you try to switch contexts dishonestly). Same thing. You were pretending you accept mainstream science in an attempt to MOCK it, to insinuate it's "another religion" and you've "converted"...

Anyway, I could keep going, debunking your statements one by one, but as I've said before, that would be a full time job. That was only three of your paragraphs I dissected. Your blatant dishonesty is thoroughly disgusting. Moving on. Go play in traffic, gr. I'm done with you. You've been exposed again.

To everyone else, I'm sorry for replying as much as I have to this troll, with my verbose responses. When I see a fallacy, I feel the need to correct it. I'm funny that way. Even when the person in question is well known for using those fallacies.

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gr 7 years, 6 months ago

"Ah yes, there's gr, using sophistry and "how are you defining evolution?" nonsense."

From your comment, you don't sound like one who wishes to "explain what science ACTUALLY says and why".

"I'm defining evolution the same way science is. I'm using it in the same context they are. Biological evolution."

Again, a statement not exactly conveying very much information. Maybe you are not one of them there scientists. Now that I notice it, I see you did a classic bait and switch. Purplesage questioned the "fervency of the evolutionists". You replaced it with "scientists". You surely don't expect us to make your leap that ALL evolutionists are scientists and ALL scientists are evolutionists.

I believe in biological evolution. You have yet to explain where my beliefs differ from "what science ACTUALLY says". I've said before, I don't subscribe to micro-macro delineations.

"Her question wasn't serious. It was a red herring to make out there are different kinds of evolution we could be talking about here. There aren't."

Ok, what is it? Or is it something "they have found out" to be hidden in secret from the general public?

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gr 7 years, 6 months ago

RC: "How do the Creationists deal with the issue of fossils....they are clearly older than 6,000 years."

RC, maybe YOU can explain how fossils are "clearly older" to us. I bet YOU can't do it.

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gr 7 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I was looking for RC to respond. Most likely, they would respond as you did. How does carbon dating "clearly show" age?

I dunno, I thought carbon dating showed ratios of C12 and C14.

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Kodiac 7 years, 6 months ago

"I believe in biological evolution. You have yet to explain where my beliefs differ from "what science ACTUALLY says". I've said before, I don't subscribe to micro-macro delineations." -- Gr

For someone who complains about clear definitions, you sure provide wonderful examples of doing exactly the same things. In fact Gr, you have this down to an art. I can remember from our previous discussions that whenever we get down to the nitty gritty, you do your own version of the "classic bait and switch" and attempt to pass off your statements as being no different than that of mainstream science.

For example, your statement above has you using the word believe and beliefs. Why do you say it that way? I see you saying things like that and it makes me think you don't really understand this or worse that you are misrepresenting yourself. This has nothing to do with your beliefs or your religion.

"RC, maybe YOU can explain how fossils are "clearly older" to us. I bet YOU can't do it."--Gr

Ah so what is or isn't "real". You have carbon dating, radiometric dating, geological principles and events such as conformities and stratification, stratigraphy, paleontology. You have definitive appearances of different species and clear time sequences of when most of these have disappeared. What more clear evidence do you require Gr? Now I have to wonder what it is you betted because you have most definitely have lost your bet.

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gr 7 years, 6 months ago

"you do your own version of the "classic bait and switch" and attempt to pass off your statements as being no different than that of mainstream science."

Actually, not. You witnessed my 'conversion'. With your persistent vagueness and failure to present a non-changing definition, you helped me see evolution, as not defined, is fully compatible with creation. And you have yet to refute it - other than making up your own definitions.

"For example, your statement above has you using the word believe and beliefs. Why do you say it that way?"

Why? Indicating that belief not in facts is faith. What I believe in evolution facts is different than gr8dane's belief. Did you understand that?

I didn't believe RC really understood what he was saying and was unable to go into vagueness as you and gr8dane do. Therefore, what he was saying was only mindless repeating. Not sure - just a suspicion. I have lost no bet as we have not heard from RC. Did you make that conclusion as you do about ages?

Don't confuse time sequences with age.

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Kodiac 7 years, 6 months ago

"Why? Indicating that belief not in facts is faith. What I believe in evolution facts is different than gr8dane's belief. Did you understand that?" -- Gr

Please expand on what these differences are. First you say there is no difference between what you and gr8dane says and then you say there are. Give us some specific examples of exactly where the two of you differ in the context of evolution.

Your other statements of vagueness and "non-changing" definitions is merely your attempt to avoid talking about specific evidences and specific interpretations of the evidence. I think you are avoiding this because you have found many of creationists claims to be false and easily dismissed. I think you are struggling your faith and your own dogmatic beliefs Gr.

"I didn't believe RC really understood what he was saying and was unable to go into vagueness as you and gr8dane do." -- Gr

I am curious to know if you have studied geology, chemistry, or cosmology at all. There is a incredible amount of evidence showing the earth to be 4.6 billion years old but no evidence whatsoever demonstrating a 6 to 10,000 year old earth. Your response of "can you prove it" has been met Gr. You may accuse us of being "vague" but I think you are trying to distract from your own glaring deficiency with having no proof or evidence for a young earth. Every response made by you or every creationists I have ever known have always been to attack the sciences such as geology(negative proof) but have nothing to offer in support of a young earth (positive evidence).

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gr 7 years, 6 months ago

"Give us some specific examples of exactly where the two of you differ in the context of evolution."

Actually, that's what I'm asking of him.

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jonas 7 years, 6 months ago

"Posted by purplesage (anonymous) on February 13, 2007 at 11:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I understand why the religious conservatives, who largely endorse either creationist or intelligent design views, are passionate about their beliefs. Can someone explain the fervency of the evolutionists? One might think they are afraid of the truth."

The limited base of scientists that I have direct contact with generally have two problems with the opposite side of the table in this issue.

First, that a bunch of people who have little knowledge into the scientists fields of study are attempting to change things about the way it's presented without giving things more than a cursory and heavily biased lookover. It would be like me coming into your office at work and telling you to change everything you were doing to fit it in with my plans. The catch is, I don't work with you. I work, in fact, in an entirely different field of life. Would you be irritated by that?

Second, that the fact/knowledge base is constantly twisted by ideologues with no real knowledge of the field, and fed to a largely clueless public in faulty, well-spun sound bites, and that the public, unfortunately but understandable, latches onto those incomplete or even misleading sound-bites instead of the larger and more complex theories and truth of the discipline, due to the relative ease of assimilation. To break that into a sound-bite, you can talk about the mutations, the genetic selectors, the biological mechanisms, observed changes in cellular organisms, common ancestry, etc. and what gets remembered is "I didn't come from no damned ape!"

Can you see why it would be frustrating, now?

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Kodiac 7 years, 6 months ago

"Actually, that's what I'm asking of him." -- Gr

But Gr you made the statement of "What I believe in evolution facts is different than gr8dane's belief."

What does this mean? Obviously you must know what that difference is in order to say that it is different. So please tell me what is the difference that you refer to.

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Kodiac 7 years, 6 months ago

"Am I assuming that the constant reference to "6,000" years is a reference to Bishop Ussher's chronology, circa 1620s?" -- 75x55

I am not sure who come up with it first but it sure gets thrown around alot today when discussing the age of the earth especially with the YEC group (Young Earth Creationists). Of course I have also seen other biblical literalists say that a day is a day is a day in the bible and that it does refer literally to a 24-hour day (which would not be absolutely correct from a literal standpoint since the earth's rotation is in a gradual consistent slowdown hence the reason why we have to add a leap second every once in awhile to keep our atomic clocks in sync with the stars locations relative to the earth's rotation). This would mean that God created everything literally in 6 days rather than 6 to 10,000 years. That is probably more than what you were asking about 75 so maybe I will just shut-up and see if you had a point or if you were just asking the question....

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

YECs (Young Earth Creationists) typically believe the earth is, variously, 6000 or 10,000 years old, or sometimes somewhere in between. But within that range, usually. The 6000 number is from Bishop Ussher's "calculation" that Creation was in 4004 BC (Oct 23, 9 am), based on the "begats" in the bible lineages, a laughable way of dating the earth. Except to bible literalist fundamentalists.

All the evidence in multiple fields of science support the earth (and the universe) being so much older than that that we cannot take such young earth claims seriously.

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

And gr continues spinning out falsehoods and sophist arguments. How surprising (not).

For instance, "From your comment, you don't sound like one who wishes to "explain what science ACTUALLY says and why"."

Heh. From gr's biased perspective, anyway. The rest of us see me doing a lot of "explaining what science ACTUALLY says and why", in this and other threads.

Of course, creationists LIKE to stick to their misconceptions of what THEY think science says (and why), even when pointed out what it ACTUALLY says, so not surprising gr is sticking to her version of science and not the real thing.


gr8dane said, "I'm defining evolution the same way science is. I'm using it in the same context they are. Biological evolution." gr ad hommed, "Again, a statement not exactly conveying very much information. Maybe you are not one of them there scientists."

I've never claimed to be a scientist. I've specifically said I wasn't one. But I do listen to what they say, and read their work.

You, on the other hand... good attempt to get it around to me again, by the way. Common creationist tactic. Get the focus off yourselves and your claims, and get the opponent on the defensive.

The "statement" conveyed as much information as it needed to. You insinuated I was using some "bait and switch" (your favorite fallacy) definition of evolution and didn't define WHICH evolution I was talking about.

In the context of this discussion, there IS ONLY ONE. Arguing that there are more than one IS a bait and switch, and YOU are the only one guilty of it, setting up for your "micro and macro" fallacy or whatnot. My response showed that quite well.

I'm using the only definition of evolution relevant to the context of this discussion. Biological evolution as explained by the modern theory of evolution, aka "neo-darwinism". I've already defined, in great detail, what that is to you several times in earlier threads. Claiming "bait and switch" is just a common copout I see from you to make it look like I'M the one being evasive.

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

gr continued lying, "Now that I notice it, I see you did a classic bait and switch. Purplesage questioned the "fervency of the evolutionists". You replaced it with "scientists"."

Hahah. "bait and switch", "bait and switch". That's your favorite fallacious rebuttal.

It was not a bait and switch, as I've ALSO explained before (including to you). As a creationist (apparently), purplesage probably meant "evolutionists" in the general "anyone who believes in evolution" context, which is meaningless because all honest, educated people without a religious bias against accepting evoluiton are "evolutionists" in that context. It's like calling people "gravitationalists" for accepting gravity as the fact that it is. It's meaningless. The only definition of "evolutionist" that makes sense is "scientists who work on and promote evolutionary science", mainly biologists and related fields.

And his post that I responded to could be taken in a more general sense that "evolutionists" meant the overall community of scientists themselves, who pretty much accept the consensus that evolution is a fact, supported by all the evidence and testing. His post actually makes more sense in that context, and is more consistant. It was referring to the "zeal" of evolutionists, which could be a creationist interpretation of the desire of scientists and educators to keep proper science taught in public school science classes, and their attempts to educate the parents about how the creationist set of standards will harm their children, and Kansas in general.

So I gave purplesage the benefit of the doubt and took it that way. You don't like me choosing a context that makes more sense. Too bad. Get over it.


gr continued, "You surely don't expect us to make your leap that ALL evolutionists are scientists and ALL scientists are evolutionists."

Depending how you define "evolutionists" (as I did above), the former is true, although the latter is not. There are some "creationist scientists", either scientists working in a non-biology field who reject evolution for religious reasons, or some who got into science (usually something biology related) specifically to debunk evolution (like Jonathan Wells, the Jehovah's Witness), but don't do any research, just use their degree as a sort of "listen to me, what I say is true because I have degrees!" statement.

Of course, there's a third group, those who are scientists in other fields, haven't studied enough biology to come to a conclusion about evolution, and are neutral until they do. Although even they will tend to admit that there IS a consensus about evolution among scientists who HAVE studied biology, that it is an accepted fact that it happens. But you probably don't want to hear that part, and will erase it from your databanks after reading it. :)

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Kodiac 7 years, 6 months ago

gr8dane,

You are my hero. Great postings with lucid insightful on-target analysis. Of course it has taken me longer to understand the troll that Gr is and how she operates. I admire your determination and zeal to deal with the fallacies of Gr.

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gr8dane 7 years, 6 months ago

Careful, Kodiac, or you'll get godot whining about our "mutual appreciation society" or whatever. grin

But thanks. I can only put up with so much of that nonsense, and that seems to be all gr is capable of. Pity, too. I think there IS a mind in there. You have to be somewhat smart to be THAT slippery. That, or use lots of grease. ;)

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