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test54 02-26-2009 11:00 PM

mriff, the pdf on ID was very thorough about the threat that it constitutes. The tone of it is a bit emotional though, I would think that with evidence on the evolutionary side that the argument would be pretty straight forward without getting into the larger argument on religion & government.
I see the need for the discussion but I still think that when it comes to teaching kids that you have to leave it up to them to make the call.

On the how vs. why comment, I guess you are correct. I'm no intellectual design believer as it is written, my belief would be that the history of the world can be explained with separate answers for how and why.

djm2 02-26-2009 11:43 PM

I found the manuscript to be very disturbing; I need to let it sit for the night and distill my thoughts a bit more. I also need to do some more research. Having said that:

- The political context as opposed to the scientific context is the major thrust of the ms, and where that was going was of great concern. My philosophy of science arguments are, in this context, tangential at best. In a more coarse sense I would describe my philosophical arguments as mental masturbation. (Of course that is fun! 8-) )

- On a related plane, both of you gentlemen are in the South, while I am as they say a "Damn Yankee." I am frankly appalled at the footholds that this position has seized, predominantly although not exclusively in your part of the country. In your opinion -- knowing that you and I live in vastly different socio-political contexts -- how naive do you believe that I have been regarding this culture and its effects on the educational environment? I am deliberately asking for your opinions.

I look forward to your comments; candor is appreciated.

djm2 02-26-2009 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mriff (Post 1300885)
djm and others, i would encourage you to read Sean Carroll's books. Referenced earlier in this thread. Untestable assumptions are becoming fewer with new scientific thought. The science of evolutionary development is very recent. And allows specific and precise testing of various hypotheses. And not surprisingly, it ties into and adds to the evidence of evolution. The book I'm referring to is called Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. This book focuses on development. And he continues to tie it all together in his second book, but on a molecular level with a very in depth analysis of all the current literature on DNA and gene research. It is called The Making of the Fittest. Trust me, it will astound you. Information on his lab can be found here:

Carroll lab

Edit: he focuses his writing on a few of the holy grails of creationism/intelligent design such as irreducible complexity. For instance, vision organs are no longer in the handbook of attacking points of the creationists. They are no longer irreducibly complex.

I'll check it out. I just hit the web site, and it looks interesting.

djm2 02-26-2009 11:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301225)
mriff, the pdf on ID was very thorough about the threat that it constitutes. The tone of it is a bit emotional though, I would think that with evidence on the evolutionary side that the argument would be pretty straight forward without getting into the larger argument on religion & government.
I see the need for the discussion but I still think that when it comes to teaching kids that you have to leave it up to them to make the call.

On the how vs. why comment, I guess you are correct. I'm no intellectual design believer as it is written, my belief would be that the history of the world can be explained with separate answers for how and why.

Yes, the tone was a bit emotional -- but it clearly was partially a socio-political piece as well as a strictly scientific piece. I suspect that was in part the reason you are seeing the clarion call for action.

mriff 02-27-2009 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301225)
mriff, the pdf on ID was very thorough about the threat that it constitutes. The tone of it is a bit emotional though, I would think that with evidence on the evolutionary side that the argument would be pretty straight forward without getting into the larger argument on religion & government.

I'm not surprised at all by the tone. If you worked in an area of study that came under constant attack from people who use emotional and religious arguments against you, then you might have the same tone. And it's even harder still to have clear evidence, yet still get attacked. It must be difficult to choose a line of study that you are passionate about and then watch others who are not qualified to rationally discuss the subject try to tear it down.

Quote:

I see the need for the discussion but I still think that when it comes to teaching kids that you have to leave it up to them to make the call.
Leave it up to them? I just can't believe this could be anyone's stance in teaching our children science. Why shouldn't we teach them what we know to be true? And why does this argument only come about when we talk about teaching in biology? This is a classic line straight out of DI. Academic freedom. Let the kids decide. But only in biology. Not in any other subject. It's for this notion of 'teach them everything and let them decide', that the US is next to last in science among the developed countries.

Quote:

On the how vs. why comment, I guess you are correct. I'm no intellectual design believer as it is written, my belief would be that the history of the world can be explained with separate answers for how and why.
I was thinking about this last night. It's of course more complicated than what I wrote above. Biologists ask how and why. But the why is related to function, not philosophy.

mriff 02-27-2009 07:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djm2 (Post 1301255)
On a related plane, both of you gentlemen are in the South, while I am as they say a "Damn Yankee." I am frankly appalled at the footholds that this position has seized, predominantly although not exclusively in your part of the country. In your opinion -- knowing that you and I live in vastly different socio-political contexts -- how naive do you believe that I have been regarding this culture and its effects on the educational environment? I am deliberately asking for your opinions.

I suspect that you know more about this than you are letting on. :smile: So I don't think you're being naive at all. But as you read and suspect, there is a strong regional component to the ID movement. It's no coincidence that the court cases have occurred in the South (except for the recent Dover decision). And even though it's a very small sample size, our little discussion here on bbf shows that the opponents of teaching straight science in science class are from the South. So it's easily summed up as, where the bible belt is strongest, so is the opposition to teaching sound science. Did I answer your question?

djm2 02-27-2009 08:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mriff (Post 1301508)
I suspect that you know more about this than you are letting on. :smile: So I don't think you're being naive at all. But as you read and suspect, there is a strong regional component to the ID movement. It's no coincidence that the court cases have occurred in the South (except for the recent Dover decision). And even though it's a very small sample size, our little discussion here on bbf shows that the opponents of teaching straight science in science class are from the South. So it's easily summed up as, where the bible belt is strongest, so is the opposition to teaching sound science. Did I answer your question?

Yes you did. We see some small pressures up here, but by and large the mainstream denominations that dominate religious discourse up here do not try and interfere in education. Even in the private denominational schools the barriers between theology and science are maintained. Way back when, I remember having the same nun teach both the religion class and the biology class, and she clearly felt no conflict whatsoever.

test54 02-27-2009 08:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by djm2 (Post 1301542)
Yes you did. We see some small pressures up here, but by and large the mainstream denominations that dominate religious discourse up here do not try and interfere in education. Even in the private denominational schools the barriers between theology and science are maintained. Way back when, I remember having the same nun teach both the religion class and the biology class, and she clearly felt no conflict whatsoever.

I went to a Christian College in Illinois and in remembering several geology / biology / anthropology classes, the Professors were not conflicted. I think down here its an everyday & every year struggle for the schools to walk the line between science and protesting parents. That being said I'm in a somewhat liberal pocket of the South so locally its not a major issue.

test54 02-27-2009 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mriff (Post 1301493)
Leave it up to them? I just can't believe this could be anyone's stance in teaching our children science. Why shouldn't we teach them what we know to be true? And why does this argument only come about when we talk about teaching in biology? This is a classic line straight out of DI. Academic freedom. Let the kids decide. But only in biology. Not in any other subject. It's for this notion of 'teach them everything and let them decide', that the US is next to last in science among the developed countries.

There are so many cases where science has failed in the past that to depend solely on today's science is not going to work for everyone. Anything from schools teaching the world is flat to children seeing their brothers & sisters being killed by vaccines & unknown diseases. To normal kids they are like a sponge and I think that you can frame the conversations to where evidence is presented as such (the how) and then you can allow the theories of why to be explored as well. I just think that to shut off one idea might help with science but would hurt in other aspects of their education and lives.

mriff 02-27-2009 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301561)
There are so many cases where science has failed in the past that to depend solely on today's science is not going to work for everyone. Anything from schools teaching the world is flat to children seeing their brothers & sisters being killed by vaccines & unknown diseases. To normal kids they are like a sponge and I think that you can frame the conversations to where evidence is presented as such (the how) and then you can allow the theories of why to be explored as well. I just think that to shut off one idea might help with science but would hurt in other aspects of their education and lives.

I guess I can (begrudgingly :smile:) see where you're coming from. But to reiterate, I've bolded one of your comments. Teach philosophy all you want in other subjects. After all, ID is philosophy and religion, so teach it in those classes. There is no evidence to support intelligent design. Absolutely none. So how does one 'teach' that in science class? You don't. In science class, teach what is scientifically known. And yes, I agree, science is not immune to illogical thinking just as any other subject (your examples are from several hundred years ago and I think we've come a long way since then).

But I think you agree that the Theory of Evolution is well laid out. Current research has greatly strengthened the understanding and none that I know of has disproven any aspects of the theory. The scientific community has no current arguments against evolutionary development. The only 'controversy' is stirred from those who don't work in the field and have obvious ulterior motives. Which is the reason for the position paper that you read.

test54 02-27-2009 09:19 AM

I agree but there is no way to completely remove philosophy from science because that question of why is always there. And until there is a philosophy class in high school / elementary school, some of it falls on the science teacher.
And the fact that a lot of students are taught creationism before they are exposed to evolution only strengthens that. Sunday school for a lot of young kids brings the philosophy into the ballpark of the science teacher later in school.

And to me the creation is part of evolution and I know the Big Bang theory is popular but not universally believed or is it?

mriff 02-27-2009 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301591)
I agree but there is no way to completely remove philosophy from science because that question of why is always there. And until there is a philosophy class in high school / elementary school, some of it falls on the science teacher.
And the fact that a lot of students are taught creationism before they are exposed to evolution only strengthens that. Sunday school for a lot of young kids brings the philosophy into the ballpark of the science teacher later in school.

And to me the creation is part of evolution and I know the Big Bang theory is popular but not universally believed or is it?

It makes for an extremely tough situation as a science teacher, especially in High School. As you say, some of them come in to the class ready to argue. And some still are given specific items to argue. The science teacher then has to take time out of teaching actual science to cleaning up after those who don't want science taught in a way that offends their religion (again this only effects evolution, not other branches of science). I simply have a problem with those who purposefully interfere and feel threatened in some way with teaching sound science because it doesn't fit in with their world view. There are many science teachers who do an admirable job in spite of having to argue this idea. Some of the more energetic actually use the 'controversy' to strengthen their teaching in biology class.

The Big Bang? Have no idea. I have never studied astonomy in any way that would allow me to speak with any knowledge on this subject.

test54 02-27-2009 09:48 AM

I agree, to be a science teacher in a public school is a tricky situation.

Well the foundation of evolution has to start somewhere right? those single cell organisms come from some place along with the earth. That plays into the creationism / evolutionary debate to me.

mriff 02-27-2009 09:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301625)
I agree, to be a science teacher in a public school is a tricky situation.

Well the foundation of evolution has to start somewhere right? those single cell organisms come from some place along with the earth. That plays into the creationism / evolutionary debate to me.

Sure, it plays into the debate. But evolutionary development science doesn't concern itself with the origin of life, it simply explains how it has evolved over time. None of the evolutionary development scientists study from whence living organisms came, they study the form of existing and past living organisms.

test54 02-27-2009 10:14 AM

so is they study the development then how far do they go? I mean trace everything to single cells and then stop? was the planet just full of single cell organisms?

mriff 02-27-2009 11:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301659)
so is they study the development then how far do they go? I mean trace everything to single cells and then stop? was the planet just full of single cell organisms?

See post 469. Kind of gives you an overall idea. The Theory of Evolution attempts to trace life back to the beginning, but I haven't really studied that area much. Much more work is done in defining the evolution of more advanced biological forms, both plant and animal.

test54 02-27-2009 12:06 PM

I know the idea of the common origin but that only goes to a certain point. Before that point is the unknown or atleast not fully understood.

mriff 02-27-2009 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by test54 (Post 1301819)
I know the idea of the common origin but that only goes to a certain point. Before that point is the unknown or atleast not fully understood.

I wouldn't go that far. I would say that it is not understood by me. But again, I haven't studied that portion of the evolutionary tree so I can't very well comment on it.

test54 02-27-2009 01:03 PM

I understand. I'm just going on what I have seen and read as to the Big Bang & the earliest life.

mriff 02-27-2009 02:09 PM

A question for the group. Did you happen to see the movie Expelled, by Ben Stein? If you did, please comment. If you did not, why? Finally, have you even heard about it?


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