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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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  •  Deal is, these people (12+ / 0-)

    don't WANT kids to learn critical thinking in school (or anywhere else). The nature of science requires critical thinking - entire paradigms can change almost "overnight" (to the uninitiated), and what was taught as Absolute Scientific Truth last year from the old textbook has changed completely in the new textbooks. Happened to me back when Big Bang became accepted science of the day after having spent an entire semester at a school in another state using an old textbook learning about how the universe was a clockwork mechanism that never changed and had always existed (and would always exist). I remember that most distinctly because my Dad was a "Big Banger" based on evidence that had been accumulating since he was a child, but wasn't enough to overthrow the Steady Staters until the CMB was quantified in 1964.

    Evolutionary biology suffers an overabundance of scholarly research in the vein of evolutionary psychology, somebody's always coming up with a new just-so story for this or that physical development. Prime example, Why [some] Primates See Red. I've seen at least six different just-so stories purporting to explain 'why' we have trichromatic vision, none of them including the idea that a slight mutation in genes for cone photoreceptor cells adjusted the frequency of light being received and processed, to the red end of the spectrum. From which the original possessors quickly learned that certain ripe fruits and sexual signals came in the color red - used it to advantage, so the trait quickly spread. People with no critical thinking skills and/or ignorance of the nature of scientific inquiry point at the conflicting just-so stories and say, "See? They don't know what they're talking about!"

    A great deal more is known today about evolutionary biology than was known even back when gene-centrism led to the first GMO plant cultivars (mid-late 1970s). It's a very complex subject, and we're learning more all the time. Sequence 'frame-reading' for varying transcription codes, epigenetic alterations to gene expression (almost Lamarckian in effect), histone codes, chromatin dynamics, gene expression suiting in response to stress, developments without evidence of selection pressures... and the strange situation of like 'kinds' having widely divergent genomes and even differing numbers of chromosomes! Why, the fastest-evolving animal we know of right now - the vole - has such divergent genomes that the only way to tell one species from another is to count them. Because they all look just alike. Heck, in one species the males and females have different numbers of chromosomes!

    This is all very fascinating to those keeping track, but for a lot of people who aren't very interested in such details it's overwhelming. They like simple answers, and believe - because their preacher told them so - that they've got all the answers they'll ever need. Which, in truth, is probably true for them, since they don't tend to go into science and yet manage to live meaningful (to them) lives anyway. The problem is that they want to prevent everybody else from knowing more than them. And that is definitely a problem.

    Authoritarians of all stripes are a problem, IMO.

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