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.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

News articles about evolution controversy in Florida

The articles are here, here, here, and here.



Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

It's remarkable that these Florida Darwinists are so avid to push their unverifiable hypothesis at Florida schoolkids: even claiming that it is somehow "the backbone of all biological science," if these articles are correct! Even as major new anti-Darwinist books have appeared, and an anti-Darwinist movie looms, they simply become more clueless, fanatical, and offensive in their demands for Darwinism-as-dogma to be foisted upon children. They don't understand, apparently, that their old hypothesis is not credible today, and is losing even more ground, rapidly. So that their position has to be a virtually impossible one.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

"My Darwin! He's gone!" So cried
A zealot, all misty-eyed:
"I've worshipped his beard,
And yet, as I feared,
His whole credibility's died!"

Sunday, January 20, 2008 3:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Transfixed said...

>>> an anti-Darwinist movie looms <<<

A movie! Wow! Well, that settles it, doesn't it? It's eye-witness evidence, just like "Fahrenheit 9/11", "Star Wars", "An Inconvenient Truth", etc. What more could one ask?

Soon we won't need to do science at all, just watch movies ...

Sunday, January 20, 2008 4:10:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

The transfixed individual should note that a movie isn't evidence that Darwinist claims are false: but it does suggest that the Darwin-fans will encounter a public ready to increasingly resist their drive to force Darwinism-as-dogma into science classes, as if it were verifiable science.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 4:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Transfixed said...

>>> it does suggest <<<

All it suggests is that there is unfortunately some market for ignorant fantasies -- but we knew that already.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 6:34:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

JIm Sherwood said,
>>>>>It's remarkable that these Florida Darwinists are so avid to push their unverifiable hypothesis at Florida schoolkids: even claiming that it is somehow "the backbone of all biological science," if these articles are correct! <<<<<<<

I don't even remember studying Darwinism in high school biology in the 1960's. We certainly didn't get any of this "grand central supreme overarching underlying unifying principle of biology" crap. Darwinism was just not considered to be all that important.

It seems that only the Darwinists are demanding that only their side be taught dogmatically.

I believe Darwinism should be taught because (1) being familiar with it is part of being an educated person and (2) the concept is useful in biology. However, to use Darwinism in biology, it is not necessary to believe all of it. For example, the mathematics of complex numbers and complex planes are used in the solution of problems in AC circuits and aerodynamics -- e.g., (1) AC voltages, currents, and impedances are represented by complex-plane vectors and (2) in the Joukowski transformation of conformal mapping, the aerodynamics of a rotating cylinder is used to find the aerodynamics of fixed wing airfoils -- even though there are no intuitive relationships between the math and the physical objects, though the relationships have been proven mathematically.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 7:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> It seems that only the Darwinists are demanding that only their side be taught dogmatically.<

I am all for also teaching opposing scientific theories. There don't seem to be any.

After this Larry shows why he failed as an engineer. Oh! I forgot. We aren't supposed to give personal information, but Larry daily places his stupidity on display here on this blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008 8:44:00 PM  
Anonymous The Evilutionist said...

In arrogant demeanor we bray.
The Good Book is our right of way!
On little details we make fuss
But our motives betray us!
In the end, we can do nothing but pray.

~The Evilutionist

Monday, January 21, 2008 1:15:00 PM  
Anonymous The Evilutionist said...

These articles only show how willfully ignorant/irresponsible the people pushing this "controversy" are.

At least some of them make clear their religious intentions for attacking evolution, but I suspect some are just saying so to maintain good rapport with the fundamentalist majority elements of their communities. However, in the end, they all cut short of introducing religious "theories" as alternatives, but I'm getting a sort of "this is just phase 1 of the master plan" sort of vibe.

The rest are divided into people who claim to be under pressure from the public opinion of their "Christian" communities (useful for avoiding legal accountability when the lawsuits hit) and the plain ignorant mouth-breathers who obviously don't understand what evolution is, but repeat the same fundie-manufactured catchphrases and propaganda for dead-horse theories like intelligent design.

Conspiracy theories aside, this might be just a pointless symbolic gesture for local school officials to garner enough public support from their communities to remain in power for another year or two at the expense of Florida's educational reputation a la Kansas.

Monday, January 21, 2008 5:32:00 PM  
Anonymous W. Kevin Vicklund said...

Haven't seen much of Larry today. He must really be stricken by the realization that millions of Americans are *gasp* celebrating the BIRTHDAY of a famous dead person! Oh, the horrors! Does he have enough barf buckets to make it through the day, or doth his cup runneth o'er?

To the sane people in the world -


Monday, January 21, 2008 8:58:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

"You're a fundie! A fundie!"(A shout
From a 'Darwin',) "I'll ferret you out!
Don't tell me you're not
From Robertson! Rot!
You're his tunneling 'mole', no doubt!"

Any way, this controversy has its amusing aspects! I should post Fred Hoyle's views on the reason for what he called "paranoia", among Darwinists, about fundamentalists.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous The evilutionist said...

What do you call a person who proclaims not to be a fundie but repeats many of the fundie-manufactured, intentionally misleading and deceptive propaganda on the so-called "inconsistent" and "unverifiable" flaws of evolution. As a purported non-fundie critic of evolution, what exactly is it of evolution that you find unverifiable? Here's a dirty little secret for you all to consider: Do you know why a fundie would never give out an actual scientific criticism of evolution?
Because ALL valid scientific criticisms of evolution still acknowledge certain aspects of evolution theory to be verifiable and true, and a fundie, knowing what they believe, could never accept this.

There are valid scientific criticisms of evolution, i.e. the degree of changes among populations or organisms over time sometimes exceed the expected rates at which natural selection and mutation would work to bring about these changes. Unfortunately, the most mainstream criticism being championed, ID, is an even worse unverifiable hypothesis that has been proven again and again to be a fundie Christian creation derived, not from scientific experimentation, but from biblical scripture. The issue at hand right now is that they want to declare this bullshit "theory" a "scientific criticism of evolution." There really is no issue with ACTUAL scientific criticisms of evolution, and there never should be.

Have you actually read standard? The declaration of evolution as being the backbone of biology is on page 42, followed by a list of evolution-related topics. Personally, I think it is rather arrogant to declare evolution as being the backbone of all modern biology (personally, I'd like to attribute it to the microscope and it leading to the origins of cell biology LOL), and the marginalization of mutation as a factor in evolutionary change is also kind of lame. However, it covers most of the important topics on evolution and how it has contributed to biology.

Overall, I think this is a series of knee-jerk reactions, starting with the Fordham Institute giving Florida and "F" on it's science standards back in 2005. Despite the fact that the 2005 standards were criticized for being lacking in areas not just in biology biology, but also in mathematics and physics. Given the whole fight over ID and evolution at the time, the knee jerk came from the drafters of this year's standards, who overdid it with the evolution bit (they must of really wanted that "A" from the Fordham Institute). Naturally, the final reaction comes from the fundies who jumped on the first innocuous statement they found and unleashed the whole dogmatic whine-fest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 3:49:00 PM  
Anonymous The Evilutionist said...

oh, and since Sherwood broke into song and dance, I feel I must respond in kind:

Behold the almighty Wedge!
Against Darwin, it will give us the edge!
We'll lie and confuse
They'll fall for our ruse
We'll then carry out our plan full fledge!

The Evilutionist's conspiracy radar indicates that this overly enthusiastic/arrogant adoption of evolution may have been intentionally engineered by fundie elements to generate sympathy to their cause.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Lighten up, fella. You evidently misunderstand the nature of ID theories, and you certainly don't understand my views correctly. This controversy, in my opinion, is going to increase for many years, or even decades. So do some reading, for instance: Behe's book The Edge of Evolution. I think that his arguments against the Darwinist version of evolution as the whole evolutionary process, are strong. When he begins to argue specifically for intelligent involvement in evolution, i.e., for ID theory, I find his arguments to be weaker. And he loses me to a large degree when he gets into ID in cosmology, which seems to me to be very speculative and unverifiable: as well as reminiscent of theism; and I'm not a theist. I find ID theories, in biology, to be very interesting; but I don't consider them to be well-verified, at least yet: and perhaps they never will be. And I'm not a disciple of any person or group of persons. So, lighten up: I'm not going to try to write my own book, on this blog.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 4:34:00 PM  
Anonymous The evilutionist said...

In this book, isn't Behe acknowledging that Darwinian evolution does exist, but still holds that an intelligent designer is responsible for what he considers the more extreme changes over short periods of time that cannot be attributed to natural selection or "random" mutations. He is essentially beginning with what, in actuality, IS a legitimate scientific criticism of evolution theory, but then jumps the gun to "Divine Intervention" as the answer to these inconsistencies. Seems like he's trying to plug intelligent design into the last few areas of biological research that remain unexplainable by current evolution theory.

Overall impression to me is that he's struggling to find questions for an answer he already has fixed in his mind. Oh and Jim, you do know what a parody is, right?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 5:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Grammarian said...

< and "F" on it's > < must of >

Ouch! Strike 3!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 5:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Actually Behe's view is based upon empirical studies of evolution in microbes, especially the malaria parasite. He concludes that random mutations and natural selection very rarely give rise to new protein-to-protein interactions. Since living cells involve many thousands of such interactions, he infers that Darwinist processes alone were not, by a large margin, sufficient to produce them. Hence he ascribes the major structures that define phyla, classes, and probably many other large taxonomic groups to "multiple coherent genetic mutations" that were not randomly produced. He then goes on to argue that intelligence produced them; but nothing in that argument itself implies that the intelligence is divine.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 6:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

So actually Behe's argument isn't about extreme changes over short periods of time, but about empirical data which he says, show that Darwinist processes are very ineffective in producing new protein-to-protein interactions, via new binding sites. Hence he thinks that non-random mutations produced the major biological structures; while Darwinist processes caused some changes and produced some new species, perhaps new genera, and with decreasing probability new families and perhaps larger groups. An "edge" or limit of Darwinist evolution thus exists, but it isn't that well-defined.

Anyway, I'm not a biochemist who can argue all the details.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 6:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway, I'm not a biochemist who can argue all the details.

Neither is Behe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 2:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Behe is indeed a biochemist, and a full professor at Lehigh. The fact that many of his colleagues disagree with him could mean he's wrong; or it could mean that he's a bold and innovative thinker.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 3:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Alt-Anonymous said...


(What part of "unequivocal" and "sole" did you not understand?)

The department's position statement, btw, is very fair-minded and appropriate, I think.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or it could mean that he's a bold and innovative thinker

Ever the optimist. That's called spin where I come from.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 2:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

It's not hard to discover that Behe was elevated to a full professor of biological science at Lehigh in 2002: and that the notorious disclaimer went up in August 2005. So why was he promoted, if these guys thought he was a bum?

The Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News reported, on Oct 17, 2005:

"Because of the increased publicity Behe is generating at Lehigh and comments made by President Bush in support of intelligent design, Behe's department chairman and his colleagues posted a disclaimer of their own on the department's website..."

The Dover trial was looming, and Bush made that statement in August. Immediately, the disclaimer went up.

The article quotes the department chairman as "adding that his decision was also aided by a comment that President Bush made in August about teaching intelligent design."

Thursday, January 24, 2008 5:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

So it's not so hard to conclude that the disclaimer went up because of "publicity," and Bush, and the looming Dover trial which would generate more "publicity," since Behe was to be a witness.

Sounds like politics and "spin," to me.

Incidentally, I'm a Democrat; and I didn't vote for Bush.

And this will be my final comment on this post, folks.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 5:35:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Jim Sherwood said...

>>>>>> So it's not so hard to conclude that the disclaimer went up because of "publicity," and Bush, and the looming Dover trial which would generate more "publicity," since Behe was to be a witness. <<<<<

Yes -- I remember that the Los Angeles Times had a big article about Behe at the time.

Thanks for your limericks, Jim.

Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:13:00 PM  

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