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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.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Darwinist calls for spoonfeeding students

An op-ed by Dave Thomas in the Albuquerque Tribune said,

In this session of the New Mexico Legislature, no fewer than two bills and two resolutions supporting "intelligent design creationism" were proposed . . . .

The carefully crafted "academic freedom" measures made no specific mention of intelligent design. But it was clearly the driving purpose behind these, which would have permitted and encouraged teachers to present so-called weaknesses of evolution science in biology classes.

"No fewer" than two bills and two resolutions? Well, we can't get any fewer than the number two for the bills and we can't get much fewer than the number two for the resolutions. The two houses of the legislature just had a pair of identical companion bills and a pair of identical resolutions.

There is that old false "contrived dualism" again, where there are only two alternatives, evolution theory and "intelligent design creationism." Also, the term "intelligent design creationism" is intended to fool the public because there is a great difference between ID and biblical creationism -- ID is based on scientific (pseudoscientific to some) observations and reasoning and makes no references to religious sources. The bible does not mention irreducible complexity, DNA, bacterial flagella, etc..

The op-ed continued,

The measures would have also have given students the "right and freedom to reach their own conclusions about biological origins."

We don't encourage students to "reach their own conclusions" on how to add fractions. Why should we suddenly do so with the biosciences?

The comparison to adding fractions is a straw man. There are only a few simple ways to add fractions and adding fractions is not controversial -- either the fraction-adding method is correct or it is not. And if students can find new ways to add fractions, fine. When the great mathematician Leonhard Euler was in grade school, his teacher assigned the students the task of adding all the numbers from 1 to 100. Euler successively paired numbers from the bottom and the top, i.e., 1 and 100, 2 and 99, 3 and 98, etc.. The sum of each pair is 101 and there are 50 pairs, so the sum is simply 50 X 101 or 5050.

Students should be encouraged to do critical thinking rather than being spoonfed.

I myself found fault with the New Mexico bills, but not for the reasons given by Dave Thomas.

Thomas's op-ed is also criticized by Casey Luskin in Evolution News & Views.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Why are Darwinists opposed to teaching students to think critically?

Those scientists and others who still cling dogmatically to the Darwinist version of evolution are huddled together in a quite large, but very skittish, herd: where they sniff the intellectual atmosphere anxiously for any scent of new perspectives, such as "complexity," "critical analysis," "information theory," "Fred Hoyle," or anything else that might suggest some insufficiently-conformist presence lurking nearby.

At a shrill warning-cry from P.Z.Myers or some other sentinel guarding the pack, it first stampedes in fright: then blindly charges any "mavericks" that may have strayed from its conventional bounds; striving mightily to trample upon their careers.

Oh "Darwins" of "Pandas" and "Thumbs,"
How is it your folly succumbs
To nourish such fears
That you face with your rears
To the fore, as a wider view comes?

Friday, March 16, 2007 5:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the laws passed are pointless. Any legitimate scientific view is already permitted in class. If the sponsors are recommending something else be taught, they seem to be unwittingly admitting that their views are based on religious convictions and that they know that ID does not meet the standards of real science. The question of critical thinking is a canard -- we don't encourage critical thinking about the shape of the earth or whether the earth revolves around the sun.

Manuel

Friday, March 16, 2007 6:17:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous (Manuel) said,

>>>>> But the laws passed are pointless. <<<<<

If the laws are pointless, then why are Darwinists so uptight about them?

As I said in my opening post, I myself think that this particular New Mexico bill is bad, but not for the same reasons as Dave Thomas's.

>>>>>> If the sponsors are recommending something else be taught, they seem to be unwittingly admitting that their views are based on religious convictions and that they know that ID does not meet the standards of real science. <<<<<<

The sponsors are not "recommending" that something else be taught -- the sponsors are just saying that teaching scientific criticism of Darwinism should be allowed. And as I have pointed out many times, ID is not the only scientific (or pseudoscientific) criticism of Darwinism -- there are many non-ID scientific criticisms of Darwinism -- for examples, just click on the "Non-ID criticisms of evolution" in the left sidebar on the main page.

>>>>>> The question of critical thinking is a canard -- we don't encourage critical thinking about the shape of the earth or whether the earth revolves around the sun. <<<<<<

That's just a straw man.

Saturday, March 17, 2007 2:47:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Jim Sherwood said...

>>>>>>Oh "Darwins" of "Pandas" and "Thumbs,"
How is it your folly succumbs
To nourish such fears
That you face with your rears
To the fore, as a wider view comes? <<<<<<

OK, Jim, you finally persuaded me to set up a special post just for limericks and other poetry.

Saturday, March 17, 2007 4:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Straw Man said...

< That's just a straw man. >

I guess you never heard of http://www.strawman.org?

Saturday, March 17, 2007 9:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>the sponsors are just saying that teaching scientific criticism of Darwinism should be allowed.

But this is already allowed per SCOTA. These politicians are merely pandering to the members of their constituency who mistakenly view evolution as opposed to their religious views. The culture wars continue on while those same politicians sit on the sidelines otherwise unaffected as local school board members push for unconstitutional changes that result in legal action and a deficit for the local school budget (except in ... was it Utah that passed a law forcing the state to cover any such legal action)? The culture wars continue on, evolving in its own way, just as creationism moved to intelligent design, a propaganda machine that promises to do real science but, just like most politicians, has yet to deliver on a single promise other than to continue their propaganda machine.

Manuel

Sunday, March 18, 2007 9:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> OK, Jim, you finally persuaded me to set up a special post just for limericks and other poetry. <

Now Larry has persuaded himself!

Monday, March 19, 2007 9:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

Any individuals who are so imperceptive as to fantasize that I don't exist -- that I am Larry in disguise -- are at least giving me some good publicity. Those who Google the combination

"Jim Sherwood" (Darwinism OR Darwinist)

will be treated to my comments on other blogs.

Monday, March 19, 2007 4:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Sherwood said...

If "creationism moved to intelligent design," in the view of Anonymous Manuel, how is it that Fred Hoyle, a materialist and atheist, seems to have first coined the phrase "intelligent design;" as his proposed explanation for certain remarkable complexities in life; in 1982?

Look in Hoyle's book Evolution from Space: The Omni Lecture (1982, p.28).

Hoyle thought that an intelligence had in all probability played a role in designing some features of terrestial life; but he thought that the intelligence(s) involved arose naturally.

In 1982, he thought that it was an extraterrestial civilization. By 1990, in his book Cosmic-Life Force, with his co-worker Chandra Wickramasinghe, Hoyle proposed a naturally-arising "cosmic intelligence" as an intelligence which "designed and worked out" some aspects of earthly life (in all probability.) (p.138-9, if I recall correctly.)

Of course, "intelligent design" is a phrase that has been used in many different contexts: but Hoyle seems to have been the first to use it to describe a proposed explanation for certain remarkable complexities in living things.

Hoyle was a great scientist who played a key role in the discovery of how the chemical elements are produced in the stars.

Monday, March 19, 2007 4:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

> Hoyle was a great scientist who played a key role in the discovery of how the chemical elements are produced in the stars.<

Hoyle was more of an entertainer than scientist, like Carl Sagan.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007 5:13:00 AM  

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