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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.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fordham report's lead author is co-author of Creationism's Trojan Horse!

Here is one that shocked me out of my wits: Paul R. Gross, a co-author — with Barbara Forrest — of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design, is also the lead author of the fanatically pro-Darwinist Fordham Institute Report on State Science Standards (Fordham Institute has no connection to Fordham University). As many of us know, Creationism’s Trojan Horse promotes the preposterous theory that Intelligent Design is part of a fundy conspiracy to take over the USA. Even though evolution education accounts for only 3 points out of 69 in the Fordham report’s rating system, Gross threatened to drop Ohio’s overall grade from a B to an F because of Ohio’s evolution lesson plan.

The Fordham report has been used to pressure states into adopting excessively pro-Darwinist science education standards.

The fact that Gross is a co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse and the lead author of the Fordham Institute report is one of the worst conflicts of interest that I have ever seen.

Here is the letter wherein Gross threatened to drop Ohio's overall grade from B to F:
.
In the recent report, “The State of State Science Standards” (Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Institute, 2005), of which I am the lead author, we issued a grade of “B” for the Ohio standards. This was in recognition of documents unnecessarily long and with some errors, but dedicated, on the whole, to good and sufficient science content. My distinguished colleagues, members of the expert advisory committee, join me in the statement that follows.

The standards we reviewed present evolutionary biology well enough, and start it early enough, although the treatment is rather thin in relevant molecular genetics. In one benchmark, there is a mention of “critical analysis” of “aspects of evolutionary theory.” We gave Ohio the benefit of the doubt that such ordinarily innocuous words might raise in the current political climate. After all, modern evolutionary biology includes, in fact comprises, “critical analysis of evolutionary theory,” just as modern physics includes critical analysis of relativity and quantum theory. Serious science is a continuous critical analysis.

But the benefit of doubt we gave the benchmark may have been a mistake. Creationism-inspired “critical analysis” of evolutionary biology - as has been shown over and over again in the scientific literature, and recently in a Pennsylvania Federal Court - is neither serious criticism nor serious analysis. The newest version of creationism, so-called Intelligent Design (ID) theory, is no exception. Like its predecessors, it is neither critical nor analytic, nor has it made any contribution to the literature of science. Any suggestion that our “B” grade for Ohio’s standards endorses sham critiques of evolution, as offered by creationists, is false.

To the extent that model lessons are to be provided in Ohio as curricular guidance, lessons that refer favorably to, or incorporate, sham critiques of evolution, or bad science, or pseudo-science, the standards we reviewed are contradicted. That part of the state’s science education will be a failure. Moreover it will reflect badly on the entire standards undertaking, not just on biology and evolution. To devote scores of pages in the official standards to the principles of good science, and then to teach bad or pseudo-science in the classroom, is to defeat the very purpose of standards. If creationism-driven arguments become an authorized extension of Ohio’s K-12 science standards, then the standards will deserve a failing grade.

Paul R. Gross
University Professor of Life Sciences, emeritus
University of Virginia

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19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>>>>>
As many of us know, Creationism’s Trojan Horse promotes the preposterous theory that Intelligent Design is part of a fundy conspiracy to take over the USA
<<<<<<<<

How can you keep saying this with a straight face in light of all the evidence? Oh wait, I forgot who I was speaking to... I suppose in your world, the Wedge document was a Darwinist hoax and the pre-Edwards v. Aguillard. drafts of Of Pandas and People never existed...

I suppose if you want to make a huge issue on conflict of interest, then every single proponent of intelligent design would have this problem. In fact, the whole intelligent design movement is one gigantic conflict of interest issue, with religious zealots like Dembski et al masquerading as self-professed "scientific experts" in support of ID, and throw a hissy fit when their rabid religious agendas are inevitably uncovered. Then it's the same SOB story every time, how just because they worship god, believe everyone else should worship god under pain of death and hellfire, doesn't mean that their motives for forcing ID into the school system are impure. Hypocrisy+1, Larry...

Monday, December 10, 2007 9:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Larry- Ever hear the one about the cdesign proponentsists?

Apparently not.

Larry falls flat on the facts once agian, but gets a hat tip for a fine spin on his way down.

Monday, December 10, 2007 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>As many of us know, Creationism’s Trojan Horse promotes the preposterous theory that Intelligent Design is part of a fundy conspiracy to take over the USA

How can you keep saying this with a straight face in light of all the evidence? <<<<<<

The fundy conspiracy theory is no more relevant to the scientific issues than the Darwin-to-Hitler theory.

>>>>>> I suppose if you want to make a huge issue on conflict of interest, then every single proponent of intelligent design would have this problem. <<<<<<

The proponents of ID do not write a report of state science standards and then pretend that the report is objective.

Monday, December 10, 2007 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any more so than a fundie education board member who tried to push ID into the science curriculum? And then lies about how his faith had nothing to do with "what he believed is in the best interest for the students" while in another interview, denounces evolution as evil, un-Christian, and so on.

Monday, December 10, 2007 2:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

Whoosh!! There it goes over Larry's head again.

Monday, December 10, 2007 3:07:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Physicist Frank Tipler, who is skeptical of Darwinism but doesn't exactly endorse intelligent design theory, wrote in 2004 that scientists who believe in Darwinism habitually "foam at the mouth" whenever intelligent design theory is mentioned. (That's in his essay in the book Uncommon Dissent, 2004, ed. by Dembski.)

Paul Gross certainly qualifies as one of the greatest Darwinist zealots.

But Philip Skell, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote a very favorable review for the jacket of The Edge of Evolution, biochemist Michael Behe's recent book on intelligent design. Those who want to be better informed might read what Skell has to say.

And they might also read Uncommon Dissent. It's an interesting book of essays critical of Darwinism, including David Berlinski's essay in "Commentary" in 1996.

Monday, December 10, 2007 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

David Berlinski, incidentally, is ethnically Jewish and an agnostic. He has a Ph.D in philosophy, and graduate work in mathematics and biology. He doesn't see any reason to believe in the Darwinist version of evolution, but he has never favored ID theory, either: he's expressed skepticism of both Darwinism and ID. Yet Berlinski is a Fellow of the Discovery Institute: which Darwinists abhor.

Skell is also basically a skeptic of Darwinism, rather than an ID-theorist.

Monday, December 10, 2007 3:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Darwin B. Leaver said...

Our Darwinist dogma must be
The Indubitable One Prophecy!
So we swagger and strut,
Yet get kicked in the butt
By Behe! Whence cometh ID?!?

(Posted by Jim Sherwood, Leaver's faithful ghostwriter.)

Monday, December 10, 2007 4:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how the ID supporters love to drop names of ID proponents with scientific backgrounds while glossing over the fact that the majority of said scientific backgrounds are never in biology. (I am aware of Berlinski's works on theoretical biology background but the field primarily relies on mathematics and computational models and is not the same as biology in a contemporary sense. Behe seems to be the odd one out in this case, but his testimony in the Dover trial seems to indicate that his views on ID are more influenced by his religious convictions than by actual scientific research, which is a big no-no.)

It seems the trend here is that anyone with a science background can spout off a few pro-ID catchphrases and expect to get get funding, fellowship, and other perks from the Discovery Institute with the understanding that that they continue to spout their pro-ID catchphrases every few months, publish a paper or two on the subject, and be called as expert witnesses in the inevitable legal battles that follow. Behe made a nice chunk of change earlier this year as an expert witness for the Association of Christian School International over the rejection of their courses by the University of California.

Monday, December 10, 2007 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Thanks for the limericks, Jim -- I copied your two recent limericks into the limericks archive.

Monday, December 10, 2007 4:57:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said...

>>>>> Any more so than a fundie education board member who tried to push ID into the science curriculum? <<<<<<

So two wrongs make a right?

Monday, December 10, 2007 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Check out www.expelledthemovie.com
and click on Playground to watch the Darwinists do the Darwin Daze Sock-Hop. It's pretty funny!

Monday, December 10, 2007 5:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>>
So two wrongs make a right?
<<<<

More like stop calling the kettle black, Mr. Pot.

Monday, December 10, 2007 5:24:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> More like stop calling the kettle black, Mr. Pot. <<<<<<

Stop attacking the Fordham report on state science standards? Never.

At least Buckingham and Bonsell have not written a report on state science standards.

Monday, December 10, 2007 7:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what of it? It's an evaluation report from a non-profit organization that issues rating on state education curriculum, sponsors school programs, research, and scholarship grants. Much like the Discovery Institute, which does more or less of the same except that both organizations have different agendas, and believe me, the Discovery Institute would love to, and has been trying to set education policy and standards. See where I'm going with this?

The Fordham institute just gets taken more seriously because they aren't comprised of a bunch of legally and socially discredited crackpots. Plus they don't resort to or condone illegal and unconstitutional tactics that cost state education systems millions in pointless lawsuits.

In other news, the pope says atheists are going to hell. Shouldn't he be objective about it? OMG my monocle just flew off.

Monday, December 10, 2007 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous driveled,
>>>>>>Much like the Discovery Institute, which does more or less of the same except that both organizations have different agendas, and believe me, the Discovery Institute would love to, and has been trying to set education policy and standards. <<<<<<

The Discovery Institute does not go around handing out F grades to states in an effort to pressure them into adopting anti-Darwinist science standards.

>>>>>> The Fordham institute just gets taken more seriously because they aren't comprised of a bunch of legally and socially discredited crackpots. <<<<<

Paul Gross is the crackpot -- co-authoring a book charging that ID is part of a fundy conspiracy to take over the USA. At least the Darwin-to-Hitler books make some sense.

>>>>>> Plus they don't resort to or condone illegal and unconstitutional tactics that cost state education systems millions in pointless lawsuits. <<<<<<

The DI tried to discourage the Dover school board from enacting the ID policy. And the ID policy was not unconstitutional.

Monday, December 10, 2007 9:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

>>>>> Any more so than a fundie education board member who tried to push ID into the science curriculum? <<<<<<

> So two wrongs make a right? <

We are making progress. Larry admits that trying to push ID into the science curriculum is wrong.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Larry admits that trying to push ID into the science curriculum is wrong. <<<<<

Nope. Never admitted that -- only admitted that lying under oath is sort of wrong, but maybe is not really wrong when the lying is done to those pettifogging ACLU attorneys. It was sure fun seeing Buckingham make a monkey out of that lousy ACLU attorney. It was sort of like that "who's on first" routine of Abbott and Costello.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 1:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Nope. Never admitted that <

I was giving you too much credit.

> only admitted that lying under oath is sort of wrong, but maybe is not really wrong when the lying is done to those pettifogging ACLU attorneys. <

From the pettifogger in chief, Larry.

> It was sure fun seeing Buckingham make a monkey out of that lousy ACLU attorney. It was sort of like that "who's on first" routine of Abbott and Costello. <

Amazing! Not only did you not see what the sane world saw, the ACLU attorney making a monkey out of Buckingham, but you show that even Abbott and Costello were over your head.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007 12:29:00 PM  

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