I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sky-is-falling op-ed about evolution education

A Washington Post op-ed titled "Waging War on Evolution", by Paul A. "Chicken Little" Hanle, screamed,

By teaching intelligent design or other variants of creationism in science classes at public schools -- or by undercutting the credibility of evolution -- we are greatly diminishing our chances for future scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations, and are endangering our health, safety and economic well-being as individuals and as a nation ......

The opposition to evolution discourages the development of entire high-school classes of future scientific talent .....

Nations that value open inquiry and use scientific criteria in education, research and industry will outperform those that do not. If we are to continue to be leaders in the global economy, we must teach science, not religion, in the science classroom.

How does censorship of criticism of evolution theory show esteem for "open inquiry"?

I agree that biologists sometimes -- but not always -- need to know something about evolution theory. For example, cladistic taxonomy, unlike the earlier Linnaean taxonomy, uses concepts from evolution theory. However, it never hurts to teach the weaknesses of evolution theory, because biologists can always use the concepts and tools of the theory even while believing that all or part of it is untrue, in the same way that engineers use complex-number math in aerodynamics and AC circuit analysis even while being aware that the math has no connection to reality -- for example, in the Joukowski transformation of conformal mapping, the aerodynamics of rotating cylinders is used to determine the aerodynamics of wing airfoils. Also, students should learn about evolution theory just because it is a prevailing theory among scientists. Anyway, even if future biologists do not get a good evolution education in high school, they can always learn about evolution in college. And if anything is going to undermine student interest in careers in biology and science in general, it is scientists' lack of candor about the weaknesses of evolution theory.

My thanks to Lawrence Selden of the Darwinian Fundamentalism blog for bringing this op-ed to my attention. His blog discusses this op-ed here.



Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

You seemed to have forgotten to mention Hanle's support of the scientific method where ID and other forms of creationism lose on all counts.

> it never hurts to teach the weaknesses of evolution theory <

Supporting fiction is not teaching a weakness. On the other hand it supports evolution by showing that the only opposing ideas currently mentioned are religious fantasy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:21:00 AM  

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