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.

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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.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Censoring criticism of evolution in public schools actually hurts evolution education

I have pointed this out before but it bears repeating -- outlawing evolution disclaimers and "critical analysis of evolution" in public schools will backfire by actually hurting evolution education. Ironically, the evolution disclaimers that were outlawed by the Kitzmiller v. Dover and Selman v. Cobb County decisions were actually weak concessions that were made for the purpose of increasing public acceptance of school boards' adoption of the extremely pro-Darwinist biology textbooks authored or co-authored by Ken Miller, the plaintiffs' lead expert witness in the Kitzmiller trial. Furthermore, only evolution was actually being taught in the Dover and Cobb County public schools. Without the option of adding either an evolution disclaimer or critical analysis of evolution to science courses, state boards of education, local school districts, schools and teachers are likely to respond to evolution's critics by just restricting, not expanding, not instituting, or even eliminating evolution education. Furthermore, the censorship of criticism is likely to increase -- not decrease -- skepticism of evolution. The Darwinists' wins in Kitzmiller and Selman were pyrrhic victories.

Here is what actually happened in Dover. The Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion said (pp. 112-113, 120):

. . . . .Despite the fact that the teachers strongly opposed using Pandas as a companion text, they agreed that Pandas could be placed in the classroom as a reference text as a compromise with the Board. (29:111 (Buckingham); 12:136 (J. Miller); 13:88 (Spahr)). Baksa testified that no one could construe the teachers as having supported Pandas in any way, reference text or otherwise, which is evidenced by Jen Miller's statement that if the teachers compromised with the Board, "maybe this will go away again." (35:120 (Baksa); 12:136 (J. Miller)). It is patently evident that by this point, the teachers were both weary from the extended contention concerning the teaching of evolution, and wary of retribution in the event they persisted in opposing Buckingham and his cohorts on the Board . . . . . .(emphasis added)

Baksa provided highly pertinent information concerning the position of the teachers throughout this process. He testified that the teachers did not support Pandas in any way, but that they made compromises to insure the purchase of the biology book entitled "Biology." (35:119-20 (Baksa)).

Whether or not the teachers were "weary from the extended contention" or "wary of retribution," they did agree that the book could be placed in the classroom as a reference text. And in the end, the book was not placed in the classroom but was only placed in the school library and the teachers were required to read to the science classes a statement saying that copies of the book were in the library. Also, the Dover opinion falsely stated that "[t]he Board failed to consider the views of the District's science teachers" (page 131) -- the record shows that the teachers were consulted, though arguably they should have been consulted more and heeded more. IMO the teachers' suggestions for minor changes in the ID statement should have been accepted.

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