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.

Name:
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.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Unscholarly SMU course should be canceled

Below is a copy of an email that I sent to Southern Methodist University:

Dear SMU administrators:

Physics 3333 / CFB 3333 should be canceled. It should not carry university credit, be taught on university-paid time, or be associated with SMU in any way. This course's gratuitous disparagement of particular people and their views is a violation of SMU's Code of Ethics, including the following rule --

Pursuit of truth. We seek knowledge and understanding through open, energetic inquiry and creative freedom. We support one another with hard questions and sincere encouragement. Because we seek truth, we encourage free expression of ideas, accept challenges to our assumptions, and treat those whom we question as colleagues sharing a common purpose.

The course description is full of intolerance and prejudice. A webpage on course material labels ID "(Un)Intelligent Design" and states, "Bill Maher on Intelligent Design -- 'You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap.' " The webpage calls ID proponents "IDiots." A list of anti-ID books is labeled, "Read these and learn some science," and a list of pro-ID books is labeled, "or read these and get stoopider."

A disclaimer for the course says,
.
The opinions expressed on these pages are those of the instuctors, Professor John L. Cotton and Professor Randall J. Scalise, (and other rational people) and do not necessarily reflect those of Southern Methodist University (SMU) or its Physics Department... but they ought to.

At Kansas University, Prof. Paul Mirecki created a for-credit course that labeled creationism and intelligent design as "mythologies" and was forced to cancel the course when it was revealed that he had written on a semi-private Internet forum that the course was "a nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies." He was censured by the university and resigned his chairmanship of the religious studies department. Evidently KU has more concern for its reputation than you do for yours.

Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that the course content is mostly biology.

Also, the course is fixated on ID and ignores the fact that there are non-ID scientific criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants.

Sincerely,

Larry Fafarman

An article in Evolution News & Views incorrectly states that this course "provides only anti-ID reading sources." As noted above, pro-ID reading sources are also listed but in a very disparaging fashion.
.

Labels:

22 Comments:

Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>Also, the course is fixated on ID and ignores the fact that there are non-ID scientific criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants.<<<

I see you are right, they did leave out several mainstays of scientific creationism that were not incorporated into the relabeling to ID, such as "criticisms" of co-evolution, chromosome counts, and propogation of sexual traits. However, Intelligent Design is the current hot topic in the creationism family. You can only teach so much in a week, after all - might as well go with the current claims, rather than the ones abandoned by all but a few lone nutcases 20 years ago.

Friday, September 14, 2007 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Sp said...

propagation

Friday, September 14, 2007 8:15:00 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

If evolutionary mechanics is Nature's method of designing the next generation of living systems, I suppose one can compare that method to alternative methods (such as genetic engineering or selective breeding).

Genetic algorithms (roughly corresponding to Monte Carlo search) are gradient-free random searches. If the search space supplies a gradient suggesting the nominal direction of improvement, then gradient-based algorithms are likely to do better, at least in the short term. Perhaps in the long term, a mix of gradient-driven local improvements supplemented with occasional arbitrary new departures in a random direction yields an overall best strategy.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Homo Schleppian said...

Hey, Moulton, that's a cool link; I've bookmarked it. :-)

Interesting astrological coincidence -- I too am an Aquarius, as well as a Monkey. Not that I'm into astrology ...

Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

'You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap.'

The best argument I have seen for Wikipedia ignoring your efforts!

Sunday, September 16, 2007 7:19:00 AM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

>>>Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that the course content is mostly biology.<<<

"Wrong, dunghill." In fact, there is much more physics than biology in the course. You are simply focusing in on a small portion of the entire course, the portion which addresses most of the biology contained in the course.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Fred Hoyle's Ghost said...

"I spy a creationist," says Kevin,
Or ten -- or ten thousand eleven!"
If you have any doubts
About Darwin, he spouts:
"A creationist! Eager for Heaven!"

Sunday, September 16, 2007 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Darwin B. Leaver said...

Though Larry's no Darwinist, I'll say
He's a Social Darwinist (some way!)
That's a contradiction,
But at least it's a fiction
That lies about Larry. Hooray!

Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Randall J. Scalise said...

Mr. Larry Fafarman,

Thank you for your recent email expressing your opinion of the course
CFB 3333 / PHYS 3333 The Scientific Method - Critical and Creative Thinking.

There are a few inaccuracies in your note that I should like to address.

On Fri, 14 Sep 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:
> The course description is full of intolerance and prejudice.

The course description, which appears in the undergraduate catalog
(http://www.smu.edu/catalogs/undergrad/dedman/physics.asp) and on the
course website (http://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/), reads

3333. The Scientific Method. (Debunking Pseudoscience) Provides
students with an understanding of the scientific method
sufficient to detect pseudoscience in its many guises:
paranormal phenomena; free-energy devices; alternative medicine;
creationism; and many others. Prerequisite: None.

The latter description, which is not limited in character length like
the former, includes the topic "intelligent design creationism". The
"intolerance and prejudice" that you mention are not apparent to me.

On Fri, 14 Sep 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:
> Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that
> the course content is mostly biology.

The course is concerned with the scientific method; any scientist in
any science department is capable of teaching the course. The course
content is wide-ranging and is certainly not "mostly biology" as a
glance at the syllabus (http://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/syllabus.html)
will clearly show. The topics covered include: Astrology; the Bermuda
Triangle; Bigfoot; How to Lie with Statistics; the Flat Earth; Talking
to the Dead; Psychics; ESP; Experiment Design; Alternative Medicine;
Global Warming; AIDS Denial; Scams, Frauds, and ID Theft; and many more.

Intelligent Design is but one lecture topic out of forty-two, and we
always invite Professor John Wise from SMU Biological Sciences to
deliver that lecture because of his expertise in biology in general and
evolution in particular, and his special knowledge of the subject of ID.
Guest lecturers are common in the course. For example, the "Scams"
lecture is presented by United States Secret Service Special Agents
Paul Ahner and Bill Flowers, experts in the subject.

On Fri, 14 Sep 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:
> Also, the course is fixated on ID and ignores the fact that there
> are non-ID scientific criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms
> concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and
> flowering plants --

As I wrote above, the course is not "fixated on ID". Furthermore,
valid (I repeat, valid) scientific criticisms of evolution would not
be found in a course on pseudoscience; they would be addressed in a
course on evolution. Any purported weaknesses of evolution (and I can
not think of any) would not automatically be evidence in favor of
Intelligent Design. ID must stand or fall on its own scientific
predictions and currently ID does not make any predictions at all.
Therefore ID can not be tested, so it is not within the purview of
science; it is a non-falsifiable construct, a belief system.

Any comparisons to Professor Paul Mirecki are without merit. We never
cast aspersions on the purely religious beliefs of any individual or
group. A glance at our "Science and Religion" lecture (note, not
"Science versus Religion") will show our adoption of Stephen Jay
Gould's apothegm "non-overlapping magisteria" for keeping science and
religion separate. Science deals with the testable while religion
deals with matters of faith. The problem is that proponents of
Intelligent Design are trying to call their belief system science when
scientists worldwide and the court of law in the Kitzmiller decision
have said that ID is absolutely not science.

Science is intolerant. Science is biased. Science does not operate
democratically. Not every idea is worthy of inclusion in the vast
system of knowledge. We don't teach astrology in the astronomy
courses. We don't teach alchemy in the chemistry courses. We don't
teach Holocaust denial in the history courses. Intelligent Design
is pseudoscience masquerading as science, and as such it deserves the
attention it receives in our course.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 5:33:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

My reply to the preceding comment:

>>>>>> Mr. Larry Fafarman,

Thank you for your recent email expressing your opinion of the course CFB 3333 / PHYS 3333 The Scientific Method - Critical and Creative Thinking.

There are a few inaccuracies in your note that I should like to address.

On Fri, 14 Sep 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:
> The course description is full of intolerance and prejudice.

The course description, which appears in the undergraduate catalog (http://www.smu.edu/catalogs/undergrad/dedman/physics.asp) and on the course website (http://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/), reads

3333. The Scientific Method. (Debunking Pseudoscience) Provides students with an understanding of the scientific method sufficient to detect pseudoscience in its many guises: paranormal phenomena; free-energy devices; alternative medicine; creationism; and many others. Prerequisite: None. <<<<<<

Dear Prof. Scalise,

I was referring to what is on the course's website and not just what is in the undergraduate catalog.


>>>>>>The latter description, which is not limited in character length like the former, includes the topic "intelligent design creationism". The "intolerance and prejudice" that you mention are not apparent to me. <<<<<<

The "intolerance and prejudice" was described in my original email, e.g,, "You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load
of crap" and "or read these and get stoopider."


>>>>>>>On Fri, 14 Sep 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:
> Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that the course content is mostly biology. <

The course is concerned with the scientific method; any scientist in any science department is capable of teaching the course. The course content is wide-ranging and is certainly not "mostly biology" as a glance at the syllabus (http://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/syllabus.html) will clearly show. <<<<<<<

I don't care about the syllabus -- I am talking about all of the webpages of the course's website. I may have exaggerated when I said that the course is "mostly biology," but the website does emphasize intelligent design -- ID even has its own webpage,
http://www.physics.smu.edu/~pseudo/ID/


>>>>>>> The topics covered include: Astrology; the Bermuda Triangle; Bigfoot; How to Lie with Statistics; the Flat Earth; Talking to the Dead; Psychics; ESP; Experiment Design; Alternative Medicine; Global Warming; AIDS Denial; Scams, Frauds, and ID Theft; and many more.

Intelligent Design is but one lecture topic out of forty-two, <<<<<<

Then why the emphasis on ID in the course's website?

>>>>>> and we always invite Professor John Wise from SMU Biological Sciences to deliver that lecture because of his expertise in biology in general and evolution in particular, and his special knowledge of the subject of ID. Guest lecturers are common in the course. For example, the "Scams" lecture is presented by United States Secret Service Special Agents Paul Ahner and Bill Flowers, experts in the subject.

On Fri, 14 Sep 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:
> Also, the course is fixated on ID and ignores the fact that there are non-ID scientific criticisms of evolution, e.g., criticisms concerning the co-evolution of co-dependent organisms such as bees and flowering plants -- <

As I wrote above, the course is not "fixated on ID". <<<<<<

In biology, the course is fixated on ID. There is a special webpage on ID but nothing on non-ID criticisms of Darwinism, e.g., criticisms concerning (1) co-evolution of co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and flowering plants, and (2) the propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction. For example, co-evolution is completely different from adaptation to widespread physical features of the environment, e.g., land, water, air, and climate, because in co-evolution there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent feature in the other organism may be initially absent. These non-ID criticisms could be right even if ID is wrong.

>>>>>> Furthermore, valid (I repeat, valid) scientific criticisms of evolution would not be found in a course on pseudoscience; they would be addressed in a course on evolution. <<<<<<

Instead of spoon-feeding the students, why not just let them decide for themselves if a particular criticism of Darwinism has merit or not?

>>>>>> Any purported weaknesses of evolution (and I can not think of any) would not automatically be evidence in favor of Intelligent Design. <<<<<<

Unless, of course, the "purported weakness" of evolution is an ID argument.

>>>>>> ID must stand or fall on its own scientific predictions and currently ID does not make any predictions at all. Therefore ID can not be tested, so it is not within the purview of science; it is a non-falsifiable construct, a belief system. <<<<<<<

The same is true of Darwinism.

All that Darwinism tells us is that (1) random mutations occur (duh) and (2) fitter organisms are more likely to survive than less fit organisms (duh again).


>>>>>>Any comparisons to Professor Paul Mirecki are without merit. We never cast aspersions on the purely religious beliefs of any individual or group. <<<<<<

Intolerance of religion is not the only kind of intolerance.

>>>>>>> A glance at our "Science and Religion" lecture (note, not "Science versus Religion") will show our adoption of Stephen Jay Gould's apothegm "non-overlapping magisteria" for keeping science and religion separate. Science deals with the testable while religion deals with matters of faith. The problem is that proponents of Intelligent Design are trying to call their belief system science when scientists worldwide and the court of law in the Kitzmiller decision have said that ID is absolutely not science. <<<<<<<

The "court of law" Kitzmiller decision is a joke -- it was revealed that the opinion's entire ID-as-science section was copied nearly verbatim from the plaintiffs' opening post-trial brief while ignoring the defendants' opening post-trial brief and the plaintiffs' and defendants' answering post-trial briefs. There
is no evidence that the judge even read any of the post-trial briefs other than the one that he copied from.

ID is not a "belief system" -- nothing in ID is taken on the basis of faith.


>>>>> Science is intolerant. Science is biased. Science does not operate democratically. Not every idea is worthy of inclusion in the vast system of knowledge. We don't teach astrology in the astronomy courses. We don't teach alchemy in the chemistry courses. We don't teach Holocaust denial in the history courses. Intelligent Design is pseudoscience masquerading as science, and as such it deserves the attention it receives in our course. <<<<<<<

Astrology is fortune-telling and does not dispute anything in modern astronomy. Alchemy has been disproven because it has been demonstrated that elements can be transformed only by nuclear fission and fusion. All viewpoints should be presented in teaching history, along with the evidence for each. The students should be allowed to decide for themselves whether ID is pseudoscientific or not.

I have posted a copy of my original letter to SMU on my blog at
http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/2007/09/unscholarly-smu-course-should-be.html
Comments may be left there.

Thanks for writing.

Sincerely,

Larry Fafarman
http://im-from-missouri.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 16, 2007 7:52:00 PM  
Anonymous SMU Senior said...

First of all, the course is designed to debunk pseudoscience. Evolution is NOT pseudoscience; it is a scientific theory, which, by the definition of the phrase, means that it is a cohesive thread of many facts and experimental evidence tied together into a succinct, testable, proveable unit. Such a course would not carry criticism of Darwinism or evolution because no such criticism comes from the legitimate scientific community. It is not a pseudoscientific theory--it IS a full scientific theory.

You cannot attack Dr. Scalise, nor can you attack his course, just because you disagree with what is being taught. The class merely teaches students to be inquisitive about matters which in popular culture have been, or are, presented without argument and are thus accepted by the common masses. ID is nothing more than religious belief wrapped up in a pseudoscience packaging. I, in fact, attended an ID conference held by the Discovery Institute at my campus to open up my own mind to others opinions, as you say students should be allowed to do, and I realized that although the conference was entitled "Darwin vs. Design," there were no representatives of Darwin's case. And the speakers did, and this is a fact, make mention of not only the Bible, but also of God, in the same sentences in which they mentioned ID. Now, had this conference been video-taped, they certainly would not have acted in such a way since it would blow their cover, but without video cameras rolling, they were free to preach.

Honestly, what Dr. Scalise and his class are doing is to actually open up students' minds, as you claim you want to happen. Have you ever seen anyone who believed in ID take an Evolution course? Or attend a lecture course of this sort? No, because they have their minds made up. At least at SMU, we are taught to respect others viewpoints, and if it wasn't for Dr. Scalise and Dr. Wise, I never would have attended that conference. I was, and remain, steadfast evolutionist, but at least I went to see the other side of things. And my investigations into ID have simply confirmed what that conference had already shown me: ID is religious, faith-based pseudoscience, and the science classroom has no room for it, as it is NOT a science. And the course you refer to deals with so many other topics besides ID, that you really should not fixate so much unless you've taken it yourself. What you present is the opinion of someone with no first-hand experience with the class, and you have no right to bash my professors, who try so much to not only teach us, but to actually get us involved in things we care about. The fact that I am taking time out of my studies to write on your blog should indicate not only that I my school and its faculty have encouraged me to care outside of the classroom, but also that it is the same faculty and school which have taught me to respect others opinions, and that is what I am doing by spending time reading your personal blog and responding to it. And that makes classes like the one taught by Dr. Scalise and Dr. Wise very worthwhile (notice that not one single student at my university who believes in ID has mustered up the energy to log on and respond in your support). Classes such as the one you bash are the ones that take regular apathetic students and try to push their minds to see the big picture and become analytical thinkers who can read others viewpoints, respect them, and make scientific, logical arguments from them.

Sunday, September 16, 2007 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Two of the most memorable investigators who debunked pseudo-science were Martin Gardner and the late Carl Sagan.

Gardner's 1957 book, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, launched the modern era of debunking pseudo-science by using the tools of science (rather than drawing upon the tools of rhetoric).

Sagan followed Gardner's lead when he similarly debunked the pseudo-science "theories" of Emanuel Velikovsky.

Courses like the one at SMU work best when the students learn how such bogus theories are systematically dismantled by the tools of science.

Having said that, it's important to point out that challenging a good theory with an alternative one, no matter how preposterous, can still be a useful exercise in the art and science of epistemology.

Monday, September 17, 2007 3:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any of these comments are really from actual students and faculty of SMU, I pity you for stumbling on this blog of insanity and contradictions. In case you came here with even the tiniest notion that an intelligent and rational debate will take place, you will be sorely mistaken. Feel free to google Larry's name for a history of his asinine conduct and regular trolling of wikipedia, scienceblog, and basically any sort of online journal/article related to science or politics that allows user comments to be posted without pre-screening.

Monday, September 17, 2007 9:38:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

SMU Senior said,
>>>>>> Now, had this conference been video-taped, they certainly would not have acted in such a way since it would blow their cover, but without video cameras rolling, they were free to preach. <<<<<<

That's ridiculous -- the conference could have been secretly videotaped or audiotaped, and anyway there were plenty of witnesses.


>>>>> Honestly, what Dr. Scalise and his class are doing is to actually open up students' minds, as you claim you want to happen. <<<<<<

Baloney -- you don't open students' minds by saying "you don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap," "or read these and get stoopider," etc..

>>>>>Have you ever seen anyone who believed in ID take an Evolution course? Or attend a lecture course of this sort? <<<<<<

Many of them have. That's a ridiculous argument.

>>>>>> No, because they have their minds made up. <<<<<<

No, your mind is made up.

>>>>>> notice that not one single student at my university who believes in ID has mustered up the energy to log on and respond in your support <<<<<<

I guess they figure they have nothing to add to what I have said. Anyway, very few SMU students are aware of my protest.

As usual, Anonymous cannot counter any of my arguments, so he just attacks me personally.

Monday, September 17, 2007 4:30:00 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

A few years ago, Deborah Tannen published an insightful book entitled, The Argument Culture.

The evolutionary successor to the Argument Culture is what David Bohm calls the Dialogue Model.

I favor David Bohm's concept, as it frequently leads to useful new insights.

Monday, September 17, 2007 5:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

This show the professor and students that any attempt to conduct a logical debate with the jackass, Larry Fafarman, is futile. He is devoid of logical thought himself and can't recognize it in others.

Monday, September 17, 2007 5:43:00 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

Speaking of Buridan's Ass, I'm perplexed by a dilemma...

On the one hand, the editors from the Wikipedia Intelligent Design Project argue against Appeal to
Authority
, so the consensus of subject-matter experts is out the window for them.

On the other hand, Wikipedia has its own rule, No Original Research.

So what's left in between? One or two reliably sourced articles in a national magazine or newspaper, written by a lone journalist on a short deadline?

How do they ever get to the ground truth for the purpose of crafting articles which achieve any reasonable journalistic standard of accuracy, excellence, and ethics in online media?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> So what's left in between? <

This looks like a false dilemma. Not allowing appeals to authority does not mean that authorities cannot be cited or quoted. It only means that their standing is not enough. Their material must stand on its own merit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 8:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Dave Fafarman said...

< This looks like a false dilemma. Not allowing appeals to authority does not mean that authorities cannot be cited or quoted. It only means that their standing is not enough. Their material must stand on its own merit. >

I quite agree with this analysis. Perhaps my recent experience (yesterday) will shed some light.

I had gone to Wikipedia to look up the nickel mineral gaspeite (of course -- doesn't everyone? ;-). Overall a good article, that I had no plan to edit, but one paragraph had some utter nonsense in it that needed fixing:

Nickel carbonate was historically worked from the [[gold]]fields of Moruya, and in [[Ophir, New South Wales]] in the late 19th century, as a source of nickel. However, such sources of nickel were only exploited because of the then scarcity of non-sulfide sources of ore and the inability of Victorian era [[metallurgy]] to treat sulfide nickel ore. At the time, nickel was more valuable than gold pound for pound.

Interesting, given that the U.S. five-cent coin with 25% nickel (hence the nickname "nickel") was introduced in 1866.

The point here is that the author was probably thinking of aluminum (valuable enough in those days that pompous Emperor Napoleon III ostentatiously had his flatware made from it). So, does his entire paragraph get thrown out because of this mistake? I don't think so.

There is an "in-between" after all.

BTW, I think it's silly for Wikipedia to have a whole study about ID. "I'D" have been an "early adopter" of evolution, I believe, shortly after The Origin of Species was published. I certainly would not have been like the Japanese stragglers on Mindanao, who became legendary with their stories even reaching myth status.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Cave said...

You mean the Emperor surrendered?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 2:22:00 PM  
Blogger Moulton said...

In academia, examining the standard models of the subject-matter experts is part of the curriculum.

But Wikipedia does not provide a means for the editors to independently analyze either the arguments of the majority of subject-matter experts or the counter-arguments of a minority. Wikipedia can only present the fact of a controversy between two factions.

Whether an appeal to authority goes to those subject-matter experts who favor the majority view, or to those who front an alternative view, Wikipedia is hamstrung when it comes to suggesting which view the reader is advised to prefer. The reader has to do his or her own critical thinking, examining the issues with an independent mind.

An academic setting or a discussion forum is the appropriate venue for that exercise.

Wikipedia goes astray when it endeavors to try the case within the scope of its articles. Public policy has to be decided by the political process, and scientific findings have to be decided by the scientific method.

The journalistic enterprise has a different role to play -- namely presenting the story with the highest journalistic standards of accuracy, excellence, and ethics in media.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 6:41:00 PM  
Anonymous HappyMustang23 said...

On Sun, Sept 16, 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:

>>Also, the course is in the physics department despite the fact that the course content is mostly biology.<<

Mr. Fafarman, I believe you are mistaken. This course is not a biology course. They actually cover a large range of the sciences, not just biology.

On Sun, Sept 16, 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:

>>I don't care about the syllabus -- I am talking about all of the webpages of the course's website. I may have exaggerated when I said that the course is "mostly biology," but the website does emphasize intelligent design -- ID even has its own webpage,
http://www.physics.smu.edu/~pseudo/ID/<<

That's great that you point out that ID has it's own page... Well, so does alternative medicine, psychics, the Bermuda Triangle, etc... Do I need to keep going? I think that to say that the course is "fixated on ID" is an ignorant statement. If you want to come and listen to a few lectures, I'm sure that Prof. Scalise would be more than happy to let you sit in!

On Sun, Sept 16, 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:

>>Instead of spoon-feeding the students, why not just let them decide for themselves if a particular criticism of Darwinism has merit or not?<<

That's actually funny. I guess you didn't thoroughly read the website that you are so strongly objecting. This class is called, "The Scientific Method - Critical and Creative Thinking". And it is just that, a critical thinking course. They offer all sides of the topic covered. They cover the subject matter and give us the resources to research subjects further. They do not tell us what to think, but they do ask us what our motivation is for our beliefs.

On Sun, Sept 16, 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:

>>Intolerance of religion is not the only kind of intolerance.<<

True, but Prof. Scalise is not intolerant of any belief that we, as students, have. They do not bring up our religious beliefs, nor do they push their beliefs onto us... religious or otherwise.

On Sun, Sept 16, 2007, LarryFarma@aol.com wrote:

>>The students should be allowed to decide for themselves whether ID is pseudoscientific or not.<<

We need to be "allowed" to make decisions for ourselves? Really?? Since when did we stop thinking and making decisions for ourselves?? I just finished taking this course. Not once did I ever feel like Prof. Scalise was pushing his thoughts/beliefs on me, nor did I feel like he made my own personal decision on any subject matter for me!

This course is actually pretty popular. It is not an easy class either. This course is full each semester strictly by word of mouth amongst the students.

Maybe you need to come take this course to see what it is really about...

Sunday, May 04, 2008 8:12:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home