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View Diary: Let's Teach the Controversy of Evolution vs Intelligent Design **Updated with Poll question** (365 comments)

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  •  Why this won't happen (33+ / 0-)

    ID is not a theory, nor is it science, good, bad, or indifferent, nor is it even an alternative creationist model of reality.  It is a means of getting theology into public schools.  That's its only purpose.

    If you attempted to do this, its proponents would claim that you were intentionally beating up on ID.  (Unless, of course, the "comparison" didn't yield any definitive bias one way or the other.)

    •  Science education is missing something (22+ / 0-)

      I think we need to teach the difference between science and pseudoscience in science class.  In order to do this we must have a good example.  

      If ID proponents cried bloody murder than they would immediately stop their push to have it taught in science classes.  Problem solved.

      •  yes, and no. especially no. (17+ / 0-)

        Your argument is rational.  Religion is not.  People who are at all religious are not rational about their religion.  ID is creationism is the biggest religion in this country.  You could frame the exact same argument about science and pseudoscience using almost any other terms and get your point across.  Touch on their religion, though, and you will hit a wall.  Tell a story about the big owl vomiting a hairball which hardens and becomes the Earth, clearly a laughable myth, no problem.  Frame it as their own creation myth (pick either one of the two in the Bible), the laughter stops and you have a big problem.  My sibling is a scientist, but he will tell you with a serious demeanor that God wrote what is in the Bible, even after you point out that there are many incompatible versions.  

        •  Irrational religionists are irrational (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          alain2112, VTCC73, ZedMont, Miniaussiefan

          There are many others who are not.

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:32:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But maybe you aren't really religious in the (0+ / 0-)

            strictest sense of the word.  Maybe you are actually spiritually inquisitive.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:57:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Either way, acceptance of science doesn't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZedMont

              guarantee a person's rationality. Belief in religion doesn't preclude rationality. That's what history says. History shows societies tend to operate under a belief matrix that evolves, & that individuals in those societies are capable of rational (& irrational) actions under that matrix...hard as that is for many to "believe."

              America's greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

              by catilinus on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:54:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry, Mokurai, my comment was rather flip (6+ / 0-)

            and uncalled for.  If one says they are religious, I will take them at their word.

            I guess the word "religious" has a connotation in my mind that may not be in everyone's, and that is, religion is a belief system you never question no matter how much evidence to the contrary.  That impression comes from the religion in which I was raised, where that is exactly what it meant.

            No offense intended, I hope none taken.

            Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

            by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:22:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  No. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, Raven in Philly, murrayewv, JerryNA
        If ID proponents cried bloody murder than they would immediately stop their push to have it taught in science classes.  Problem solved.
        Problem not solved.  Bring up the existence of missing links in the fossil record?  They will outlaw them.  Forbid you from even mentioning them in a classroom, on pain of immediate termination and black-listing from all teaching.  

        That's if they let someone with actual knowledge of them teach the class, instead of the local church-approved ignoramus.  In the meantime, if you succeed in getting refutations of ID into a classroom (however temporarily, while they mount a new assault) they will pull out all their kids, and either homeschool them or form charter schools which teach that Jesus rode a dinosaur.

        190 milliseconds....

        by Kingsmeg on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:10:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There Was an Entertaining Alternate History Novel (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh

          perhaps by Harry Turtledove that had an insular society in which the consensus (enforced by weight of blasphemy laws) was that radio carbon dating was proved invalid, the earth was 6000 years old, there were no transitional fossils, etc., etc. All the details were covered. Wish I could remember the title, but he has written so many books, it's hard to do. I think it may have been one of his juveniles.

          In any event, if you take all those postulates as true you can construct a coherent matrix of belief. Then your protagonist has to find a clever way to deal with it. Maybe the exploration of the implications of facets of ID upon things which are inarguably true would be "educational."

          "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

          by midnight lurker on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:22:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  no there is not time in class to do this. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        You just invite the crazies to stand up and complain.

      •  The difference between science and pseudoscience (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dark11star

        As a science teacher, this is one of my main goals.  (Probably just below making sure no one gets hurt.)

        Are you just going to gripe about it, or are you going to do something to change it?

        by smithbm on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:12:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What examples do you use (0+ / 0-)

          to teach the difference?

          •  Examples (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dark11star, Oh Mary Oh

            Well, beyond their own research work, my favorite examples are in climate science.  I let the students find and quote whoever they want on the topic as they report related current events, and invariably at least one student brings in some pseudoscience.  (Their reports are due to me a day ahead of their presentation, so I have time to identify and prepare an antidote to the hokum.)  As a class we review the author's credentials and then address the substance of the issues -- which usually involve cherry picking data and confirmation bias.   It's delicate and must be done fairly and respectfully so as to avoid alienating students who hold beliefs that are not supported by evidence.

            Are you just going to gripe about it, or are you going to do something to change it?

            by smithbm on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:17:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have a lot of respect (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Oh Mary Oh

              for the work you do.  I wrote this diary as a way to blow of some steam in hopes to break my writer's block for my dissertation.  But you have to deal with these issues every day.  

              As is often said about the military, thank you for your service.

    •  Actually... (18+ / 0-)
      ID is not a theory, nor is it science, good, bad, or indifferent, nor is it even an alternative creationist model of reality.  It is a means of getting Christian theology into public schools.  That's its only purpose.

      Fixed that for you.

      Seriously, none of the ID/creationism proponents are suggesting teaching the Buddhist cosmogony, or Islam's cosmogony, or even JRR Tolkein's cosmogony (praise be to Iluvatar).  It's always the Christian biblical creation myth.

    •  True. (5+ / 0-)

      But there are several schemes to discredit them and show how, too.

      1. FSM

      2. Tyson

      3. Sagan People

      4. Scientists around the world.

      Thing is, it costs money to deal with the ID people who get reams of money from those who may only care about ID as far as it gets them MORE money.

      It will happen. It will take time and money, but the "spirits" of Lucretius, Hypatia, Giordano Bruno, Galileo, and countless scientists beat up by the RCC will support us in our efforts.

      --UB.

      "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

      by unclebucky on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:22:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It will happen the way LGBT acceptance is (4+ / 0-)

        happening.  It will be helped along by the inanity of the protestations against it.

        Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed. --Herman Melville

        by ZedMont on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:59:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ZedMont, Matt Z

          You're right. And so that follows the article, by putting this ID/Creationist nonsense IN THE MICROSCOPE as it were!

          Bravo, amig@!

          --UB.

          "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

          by unclebucky on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:22:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, ID was originally conceived as proof of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, JesseCW, Thorby Baslim, artmartin

      the existence of God.  It's been around for 160 years+.

      It was usurped/resurrected by modern theocratic types.

      West. No further west. All sea. --Robert Grenier

      by Nicolas Fouquet on Mon May 06, 2013 at 05:14:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The watchmaker analogy (3+ / 0-)

        Yes, The watchmaker analogy was a philosophical argument for the existence of god.
        "Intelligent Design" is a wedge issue whose sole purpose is to substitute fundamentalist christianity for science.

        +++ The law is a weapon used to bludgeon us peasants into submission. It is not to be applied to the monied elite.

        by cybersaur on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:58:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Older than I thought (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Thorby Baslim, Oh Mary Oh

          I read a description of the concept (without yet using the term ID) written by a Methodist Church elder (in St. Louis) in 1854 and distributed to church members in their monthly "Ladies Repository".  The publication shared and discussed world and national news, science, literature, art, and of course religion.  

          For example, there was an article about the calculation of the speed of light (200,000 MPS), and an estimate that the world and universe may be 15 million years old.

          With the growing emergence of scientific discoveries that seemed to contradict biblical teachings, the Methodists appeared to be arguing that one's faith and scientific discoveries of the time were not necessarily incompatible.  

          Not only were they not denying science, they were disseminating it.

          West. No further west. All sea. --Robert Grenier

          by Nicolas Fouquet on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:40:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  ID is, at the most generous, an untestable (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA, Thorby Baslim

      hypothesis.

      Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

      by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:40:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is like arguing the the sun... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo, MKinTN, Oh Mary Oh

      revolves around the earth.  I do not think the religion and biological science are mutually exclusive just like I do not think astronomy and creation is mutually exclusive.  

      However, if creationists want to continue being taken seriously, they will have to accept that evolution is real and incorporate into their beliefs in the same way they did after Galilio and Newton proved that the earth circled the sun.  If creationists continue to resist by claiming mutual exclusion, then they will be cast into the same dust bin as Roman and Greek Mythology.

      I always liked the reasoning that God could not explain DNA to a bunch of shepherds 2000 - 5000 years ago so he gave them a story to answer their questions (and they verbally passed it down to their families for additional generations).  

      If Christians (and all other religions for that matter) would simply quit being afraid that some new piece of evidence is going to destroy their faith, they would see that it is a fantastic, beautiful thing.  If God is the creator, it is obvious that he is a God of mathmatics and that he established rules which govern the universe.  Couldn't he just as easily designed evolution to accomplish his desired outcome?

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:35:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye Nut Schell, MKinTN, Joieau

        Science has no good answer for how the universe came into existence in the first place, so that's a perfect place for religious people to posit their God.  Nothing stops them from positing that it was God who created the scheme of evolution in the first place.

        •  I always counter (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elmo, Buckeye Nut Schell

          with the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that there was a beginning to the universe.  Sure the Big Bang happened but we have zero evidence to say that was the initial start of the universe, only that it is the OBSERVABLE evidence.  There's no reason to not assume there have been infinite Big Bangs, that the known Universe expands to a certain size and then collapses back in on itself until it has to explode outward again.  

          In fact logic actually tells us that to assign a beginning and ending to matter and energy, time and space, just adds complication.  Our minds are designed for our finite world and the concept of infinity, of no boundaries to time and space, is not something that sets well with us.  However, to designate a beginning simply adds the question "what was it like the moment before the beginning?" or if one assumes a creator, "Who created the creator?"

          The simplest, Occam's Razor explanation, is that matter and energy have always existed and what we can observe is but a tiny piece of the puzzle, that space extends forever, that we will always find more past the known limit of our universe as we gain ways to do so.  

          •  "Bubble" universes are (0+ / 0-)

            an entirely metaphysical supposition, just as multiverses are entirely metaphysical. I always find it interesting that mathematicians can apply their art to such metaphysical musings just for shits and giggles. Doesn't turn metaphysics into physics, though. IOW, it ain't science.

            Dueling metaphysics is the game of those dreaded religios. Why would anyone without skin in THAT game care to play?

            •  I had never heard (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joieau

              of any of the concepts that you're talking about.  I simply refuse to be able to grasp that there's some "beginning", a point where there was nothing and suddenly there was something.  Nothing in what I know of physics or science has shown me that it is possible to create matter and energy out of emptiness.  My brain of course wants there to be finite limits to things.  My DNA is programmed for life and dealing with the hazards humans face in a very finite world so I try to take away that wiring and look at what the possibilities are without that bias.  If what I think is right is true, not a single instrument or mathematical equation known to man will get the truth to that within our lifetimes, the distances too vast to peer much beyond what we now see.  However, as our telescopes have gotten stronger and we've gazed out at what we believed to be the end of our universe we simply found more and more, expanded those boundaries.  It's my GUESS that we always will.

              •  Bubble universes and multiverses (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Oh Mary Oh

                are fairly common out there, there's hundreds of returns if you Google either or both at the same time. Some arising from the "observer problem" of quantum physics and probability, some arising from a complete inability to imagine a Nothing from which Everything is born. People will tend to 'subscribe' to a version of one of these or some other model ('Branes, anyone?), but like the multidimensional string theories and Theories of Everything, they don't strictly qualify as science because they cannot ever be demonstrated or falsified. Metaphysics.

                We are of course limited by the fact that our physical equipment evolved on this planet and not somewhere/time else. But it's not that hard to imagine a beginning - a "Big Bang" that would qualify as the Mother of All White Holes (from where, one could legitimately ask but not answer). Hell, I can put my mind all the way back to the first nanosecond of creation (as we know it at this point in time) infinitely faster than light can travel - the Speed of Thought, Consciousness in action. Magnetic flux can do that too, from beginning to very leading 'edge' of the entire universe while encompassing everything in between, instantaneously. I think gravity can probably do that too, but wouldn't even try to 'prove' it. I doubt either of those phenomena are conscious, but I could certainly be wrong.

                And while trying to wrap your head around that, scientists 'discovered' some years ago that there was a certain probability in experiments smashing heavy hadrons with heavy hadrons at close to light speed that the resulting quark-gluon plasma might recombine into "Strangelets," a form of matter apparently not allowed in this universe [3 strange quarks rather than some admixture of strange, colored, charming, up, down, etc.]. Such a result, some equations suggested, would cause an instantaneous phase-change in the collective wavefunction of the universe itself, turning it all suddenly stable [all of the dynamism of our universe is the result of its basic instability]. Which freezes everything, unzips it, wipes out all possible forms of life and consciousness - everything. So fast we'd never know what hit us. This, btw, is much, much worse than just creating some mini-black hole singularities.

                That's sure spooky, isn't it? §;o)

          •  I believe that... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, artmartin

            The dimensions we now observe were also created in the big bang and that other dimensions existed before (if you can actually call it before if time as we now know it didn't exist).  

            There is still the question of where did all of the antimatter go and why it does not still exist in equal proportions to matter.  If all matter is simply energy (E=MC²) and a solid state is merely an illusion, all kinds of possibilities arise.  If the entire universe is merely a collection of energy, it may resemble the neuron activity of a supreme (or maybe just an ordinary) being and we are nothing but a dream.  I do not know.  I also do not understand how paired particles can communicate instantaneously across any distance if light is the universal speed limit.  How could the Big Bang originate from singularity in anything but uniform distribution in all directions begging the question, what made it collide and join into the initial clumps that formed the galaxies and stars we see today?

            Where I think most Christians and I diverge is that they feel that they have to have an exact answer for everything and I believe that we will always be moving toward a more detailed understanding, though we will never truly understand.  That does not diminish my faith, it makes me more amazed and even more faithful if that makes any sense.  

            The rules that are in place that created everything is the real miracles in my eyes.  That we have figured out mathmatics (and that it actually works) to explain these rules is my most compelling argument for some type of intelligent design.  These rules (as opposed to some carvings in stone tablets) are the true universal laws of God.

            "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

            by Buckeye Nut Schell on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:12:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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