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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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  •  Three things they can't seem to answer (15+ / 0-)

    1.) the very definition of "theory of evolution" itself.

    Evolution exists.  It's demonstrated in many ways, every day.  If they understand that some insects resist insecticides, and some germs no longer respond to antibiotics, they have evolution staring 'em in the face.

    It's Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection that is the point of contention -- Darwin's explanation of how evolution actually works.  And, while it's not perfect, it's been rock-solid for well over 150 years.

    2.) Complexity.

    Not the complexity of organisms -- the complexity of God.  If, rather than come into existence itself through some scientifically-documentable chain of events we haven't figured out yet, the Universe was in fact created by God... where did God come from?

    3.) Health care.

    If humans are the results of "intelligent design", how do you explain the frailty of our bodies, and the vast quantities of diseases and condition and syndromes and whatever else that can cause us to wither and die?  And some of 'em take you quickly, but others make you linger for decades.  If that's "intelligent design", it's a good thing we missed out on the "slipshod".

    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:24:28 PM PDT

    •  There have been high-school and college courses (15+ / 0-)

      teaching the controversy. They are effective at clarifying the issues for the open-minded, and completely ineffective at getting through to the closed-minded. Few students come to such classes on the cusp where they could go either way. But every little bit helps.

      If you would like to work on a textbook for such a class, I can assist both with materials and with a Web site for creating digital textbooks that I run for Sugar Labs. We are the Free Software and Open Educational Resources (OER) partner of One Laptop Per Child. Message me privately.

      For example:

      Creationist Demands Critical Thinking in Indiana

      Creationist Indiana state Sen. Dennis Kruse wants students in Indiana schools to demand scientific evidence for anything they doubt. His stated intent is to get Creationism into the classroom, along with Global Warming denial. But what happens when the students demand evidence for Creationism?
      Yes, evolution was known to be a fact before Darwin. A multitude of facts. An ever-growing and coherent multitude of facts that has been growing larger and more coherent ever since. The supposed holes in the theory are evidence that it is science, which always creates more questions than it answers, and not theology, which seeks to create a definitive, all-encompassing, and ever more laughable dogma.

      I have amused myself on occasion by going to Creationist Web sites to see how much science they have to deny. Quantum mechanics, for example, which gives us the age of the sun via nuclear fusion, and the age of rocks on Earth via nuclear fission and other sorts of radioactivity. Large chunks of chemistry, biology, astronomy, cosmology, and much more. Here is a summary, with notes on a previous Teach the Controversy class.

      “Creation Science” in Indiana

      Previous experience in Indiana is that the courts will firmly reject any attempt to teach “Creation Science” as science, but that it can be taught as Social Studies or Comparative Religion. I talked with Bill Jensen, Director of Secondary Education for the Bartholomew County School Corporation, today about his previous experience with such a class, the last time the Fundies tried this in Indiana, in 2004. He told me that the students, including the children of anti-Creationists, initially liked the course, and found it quite challenging to learn about religions that they were not otherwise exposed to, but when that Fundamentalist surge faded, so did interest in the class.
      Darwin supplied several ways of understanding those facts, including both Natural Selection and sexual selection, both of which he explained with reference to artificial selection by plant breeders, pigeon fanciers, and the like. He also addressed a number of specific objections to his theories. For example, his book on earthworms contains a great deal of observation on the way in which worms reshape the landscape by continuous reprocessing of all accessible dirt.

      Although Creationists make a great many specious arguments against evolution, their real objection is to being told that they are descended from Black Africans, perhaps 100,000 years ago. (Although it turns out on recent DNA evidence that most Europeans have a small admixture of Black African ancestry just since Roman times.) This fact is so heinous that it cannot be spoken aloud, and instead the objection is that we cannot tell them that they are descended from apes or monkeys. Which is well-known Dog Whistle code.

      Creationism is almost all the result of the White Supremacy theories of Southern, mostly Baptist, slaveowners, and their Curse of Ham theology for explaining why Blacks are mentally and morally inferior, and slavery was good for them.

      It is no accident that strong Young Earth Creationism in the form of "Flood Geology" became popular at the time of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:30:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My personal favorite counter (10+ / 0-)

      for the complexity argument goes like this.

      The claim is: complexity of an object indicates a conscious designer.

      My response: Show me a counterexample.

      If God created everything, then where are you supposed to find something sufficiently simple as to not indicate a conscious designer?  If everything was made by a conscious designer, how can you possibly justify creating some distinction between "complex" and "simple" to talk about indication of design?

      There's no point arguing that paintings of sunflowers don't spontaneously arise from explosions in paint factories unless you're drawing a distinction between paintings of sunflowers and random paint splatters, saying "see, that was deliberately designed and that was random."  And you can only draw that distinction if you think randomness is a thing that actually exists, which ... can't be true if everything that exists was created by God.

    •  My question: Who is the Intelligent Designer? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Of course, they can't say "God," because then it's no longer a scientific theory.

      But imagine if we had conclusive proof that the intelligent designer was, say, an alien from Alpha Centauri. . . .

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:54:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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