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.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Comment sent to Florida's science standards review

The state of Florida is accepting public comments for an upcoming review of the state science education standards. Not surprisingly, the future of the evolution education standards are a particularly controversial issue -- see here and here. I was not able to find a site for submitting general comments, so I sent the comment below to the following staffers designated as subject area contacts for the upcoming review:
Science: Lance King, Secondary Science Specialist, (850) 245-0667, Lance.King@fldoe.org
Science: Vie Vie Baird, Elementary Science Specialist, (850) 245-0758, Vievie.Baird@fldoe.org

I also sent the comment to members of the Polk County School Board because of a news article about their views about teaching about evolution. The school board members' email addresses are:


In contrast to my polite, benign comment, Wesley "Ding" Elsberry sent a blustering letter to the Polk County School Board.

Here is my comment:

I am opposed to the dogmatic teaching of evolution. I feel that both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution theory should be taught.

You should forget about the Fordham Institute's state science standards reports. These reports have vague criteria for rating the science standards (e.g., examples of the criteria are: expectations, purpose, audience; quality; seriousness), and the reports' ratings are subjective and arbitrary and have no correlation with student performance. Also, the Fordham Institute grossly overemphasizes evolution education -- for example, though evolution officially accounts for only 3 points out of 69 in the Fordham ratings, Fordham threatened to drop Ohio's overall grade from a B to an F because of Ohio's evolution lesson plan. Also, the Fordham report publishes state evolution education grades separately. The Fordham report is misused to pressure states into adopting excessively pro-Darwinist evolution education standards.

You should also forget about what that stupid judge in Pennsylvania said. He did not even write the ID-as-science section of the opinion -- the ACLU did. And he said in a commencement speech that his decision was based on his notion that the USA's Founders believed that organized religions are not "true" religions, clearly showing that he was prejudiced against the defendants, regardless of whether or not Intelligent Design is a religious concept.

I believe that evolution should be taught. I think it is important to know something about evolution because (1) such knowledge is part of being a well-educated person and (2) the concepts of evolution are used in some areas of biology (e.g., cladistic taxonomy and paleontology). However, IMO it is important to also know about the weaknesses of evolution theory -- that is also part of being a well-educated person. It seems that it is primarily the Darwinists who are in favor of just a one-sided, dogmatic presentation -- in contrast, the opponents of Darwinism generally appear to be flexible, believing that both sides should be presented. I rarely hear anti-Darwinists ask that only their side be taught. And if criticisms of evolution are not actually taught, there should be "evolution disclaimers" to reduce offense to people who for various reasons are opposed to the teaching of evolution, particularly the dogmatic teaching of evolution.

Also, there appears to be a "contrived dualism" where there are only two possibilities, evolution and intelligent design. However, there are many non-ID scientific (not pseudoscientific) criticisms of evolution. For example, the idea of co-evolution -- the mutual evolution of two co-dependent organisms, e.g., bees and flowering plants -- is a dilemma for evolution because in co-evolution, unlike in evolutionary adaptation to widespread fixed physical features of the environment, e.g., water, land, air, and climate, there may be nothing to adapt to because the corresponding co-dependent trait in the other organism may be initially absent.



Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> In contrast to my polite, benign comment <

I didn't find a polite, benign commnet. I found only the rant which said: "You should also forget about what that stupid judge in Pennsylvania said."

I also could not find a blustering letter by Elsberry. I only found a well composed and reasonable letter that said: "“Intelligent design” had its day in court and was exposed as the sham it is, without scientific standing and without the ability to sidestep the simple fact that every one of its arguments comes from earlier forms of creationism."

Why do you keep proving your opponents' case?

Thursday, December 06, 2007 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Buzz Corey said...

"Wesley "Ding" Elsberry"

"Fatheaded Ed Brayton"

Do you wonder why nobody refers to your site for anything other than perverse entertainment.

If you keep up this childishness, your blog will always be known as "crappy" and "non-notable".

Thursday, December 06, 2007 2:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your problem, Larry, is that your perception of the "sides" involved in this debate are seriously flawed, maybe purposely so. What is considered "dogmatic" to you? Is teaching evolution using only scientific resources dogmatic? Will the inclusion of religious theories make it less dogmatic?

Darwinists have NEVER explicitly stated that any new theory on evolution, if developed using verified scientific methods with consistently reproducible results (as is done with all scientific theories), will be rejected solely on the fact that it contradicts the existing evolution theory. To do so would be unscientific.

Your opinions and actions on this debate, and your continued support of the various garbage spewed forth by the Discovery Institute indicates that you are a subscriber to the Wedge Strategy. Your whole spiel practically contains all of the main strategic points listed in the Wedge document, beginning with the whole casting doubt and controversy on evolution while opening up the possibility for the religious bullshit to snake its way in as something valid and on the same level as a scientific theory being taught in a science class, all in the name of "keeping an open mind." Again, like intelligent design, the Wedge strategy was formulated with the ultimate goal already in mind, and I quote from the document itself:

"reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions"

We Darwinists have seen this crap before with creationism, creation science, and now intelligent design. I doubt your comment will be perceived any differently. I'll admit as I had commented in earlier postings, that this repeated assault on science by religious zealots may have driven some of us to become paranoid about any new challenges to evolution, even scientific ones, maybe even stifling new research based on fears that even a perceived challenge can mean ridicule, loss of credibility, and funding cuts. But I can say with confidence that if a contrary theory is developed, analyzed and found to be scientific in methodology and repeatability, it WILL be accepted. I can also confidently say that this new theory will NOT have and references to mythical/metaphysical intelligent entities whose existence/actions can't be documented with existing technologies.

In the end, the only thing this mess proves is that the Wedge strategy is having some limited success. It makes some of us Darwinists look like close-minded pricks by implying that we are shutting out all challenges to evolution as a blanket statement. Congratulations, you made a few of us look like dicks and possibly hindered the progress of evolution research due to the paranoia. But keep in mind that the courts have sided with us most of the time on this issue, and in the end, the wedge strategy may end up wiping out ALL religious activities from the public education system, even benign things like Christian student unions, charity and outreach programs, and such.

Saturday, December 08, 2007 12:50:00 AM  

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