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.

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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, February 21, 2008

New Florida Science Standards and Selman v. Cobb County

The Florida Board of Education narrowly decided by a 4-3 vote to make just one change in the proposed science standards: calling evolution a "scientific theory" and adding "scientific theory" or "law" to other theories or laws in the standards in order to avoid giving the appearance of "singling out" evolution. A proposal for other changes was rejected. According to one report, board members Roberto Martinez and Akshay Desai voted no because they did not want any changes at all, and another board member, Donna Callaway, voted no because she wanted more changes. I don't know the exact views of the four board members who voted yes -- maybe they really wanted only the change that they were voting on or maybe they just wanted the board to make a decision. Anyway, this was a modest victory for those opposed to the dogmatic teaching of evolution, and just getting this small concession was like trying to pull teeth.

Unfortunately, that annoying statement about evolution being the "fundamental concept underlying all of biology" remains in the standards. I am an engineer. Most of the different engineering, science, and math subjects that I studied each had their own fundamental underlying principle(s), and most of these subjects did not have a single underlying principle. But biology is supposed to have this one fundamental underlying principle, evolution, yet I don't even remember studying this principle at all in high school biology. How can that be? Regardless of whether or not evolution is wholly or partly true, telling students that it is the fundamental unifying principle of all of biology is brainwashing them with a big lie.

Biologists have an inferiority complex because of the kind of attitude expressed by Lord Rutherford: "All science is either physics or stamp collecting." Because of this inferiority complex, biologists are waging a prestige war against other branches of science by boasting that biology has something that the other branches don't have, a single grand central fundamental underlying principle, evolution.

The constitutionality of calling evolution a "theory" was a big issue in the Selman v. Cobb County evolution disclaimer textbook sticker case. The sticker said,

“Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

A district court judge ruled that the sticker was unconstitutional. In an oral hearing on the appeal, appeals court judge Edward Carnes told an attorney representing the plaintiffs/appellees,

"I don't think y'all can contest any of the sentences. It is a theory, not a fact; the book supports that."

-- and --

"Your difficulty is that you've got to take something that actually is reflective of the content of this textbook you like so much, and say it violates the First Amendment."

Another judge on the panel, Frank Hull, questioned how the federal district court could have found the sticker's language misleading to biology students when there was no evidence to support that view.

The appeals court vacated and remanded the lower court's decision because of missing evidence. A new trial was granted. The Cobb County school board finally took a dive, settling out of court.
.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Unfortunately, that annoying statement about evolution being the "fundamental concept underlying all of biology" remains in the standards. <

You are annoyed by it. That doesn't make in inherently annoying. Your statement says nothing about the statement at issue. It does say a great deal about you.

> I am an engineer. <

You were an engineer. The California business and professions code requires someone representing themselves to the public as an engineer be licensed. You lost your license. You lost all of your engineering jobs. You are not an engineer. You are an unemployed layabout.

> Most of the different engineering, science, and math subjects that I studied each had their own fundamental underlying principle(s) <

None of which you seem to understand, e.g. your confusion about AC circuits.

> I don't even remember studying this principle at all in high school biology. <

Do you remember going to High School?

> Biologists have an inferiority complex <

You have an inferiority complex but unlike most of your mental processes, this is quite rational. You are indeed inferior.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 5:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, ViW beat me to the easy punchline (I was going to go with, Easy, you have a bad memory).

but I can still say:

>>>Most of the different engineering, science, and math subjects that I studied each had their own fundamental underlying principle(s), and most of these subjects did not have a single underlying principle

But biology is a different subject. What may be the case with mathematics, engineering, and other sciences has no bearing

>>>>>yet I don't even remember studying this principle at all in high school biology. How can that be?

I'll say it anyway (again): maybe you just have a bad memory; maybe you didn't study it -- in which case you studied natural history, not biology

>>>>>Biologists have an inferiority complex

Did you learn about this in therapy or by watching TV characters?

>>>>Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things

The language is misleading; science does not deal with facts, but with what is most likely given the evidence -- as such, the statement conflates the scientific definition of theory as something that is well supported by evidence with the lay definition of 'well, gee, I have a theory as to what's making the noise under the car' (which is, as you should concede, is not a scientific use of the term).

Also, weren't those who proposed and argued for the placement of the sticker religiously motivated? If so, that's one possible reason why the board settled after the case was sent back.

Thursday, February 21, 2008 9:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"like trying to pull teeth"

Is that the "fundamental concept underlying all of dentistry"?

I guess you're not a dentist either.

Friday, February 22, 2008 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous said,
>>>>>>Most of the different engineering, science, and math subjects that I studied each had their own fundamental underlying principle(s), and most of these subjects did not have a single underlying principle<

But biology is a different subject. What may be the case with mathematics, engineering, and other sciences has no bearing <<<<<<

They are not different subjects in the sense in which I compared them. Studying and applying the other subjects would be impossible without their "fundamental" principles, but in biology it is easy.

>>>>>> maybe you just have a bad memory; maybe you didn't study it -- in which case you studied natural history, not biology <<<<<<

The last time I visited the American Museum of Natural History, there were a lot of dinosaur bones there. So evolution has nothing to do with dinosaur bones?

>>>>>Biologists have an inferiority complex

Did you learn about this in therapy or by watching TV characters? <<<<<<

No, I learned it by listening to biologists -- and Lord Rutherford.

>>>>>> The language is misleading; science does not deal with facts, but with what is most likely given the evidence <<<<<<<

At least two of the three judges on the appeals court panel that reviewed Selman v. Cobb County thought that the language was not misleading.

>>>>>> Also, weren't those who proposed and argued for the placement of the sticker religiously motivated? <<<<<<

Not necessarily. And the sticker had no express evidence of religious motivation.

Also, religious motivation is a factor in the "Lemon test" but not the "endorsement test," and the Lemon test has been in disfavor for a great number of years now. I don't understand why the courts still use the Lemon test. Also, motivation in the Lemon test is supposed to be the motivations of the government officials and not the motivations of members of the public, but in Selman the issue of motivations was about the motivations of members of the public.

>>>>> If so, that's one possible reason why the board settled after the case was sent back. <<<<<<

The board was actually in an excellent position -- at least two of the appeals judges indicated that they were leaning towards reversal for reasons other than the fact that key evidence was missing. I have no idea why the board took a dive. The original board decision to appeal the case was 5-2. A news report appeared to imply that some of the board members who voted to appeal did not even support the sticker but felt that the judge was infringing upon the board's prerogative.

ViU driveled,
>>>>> You were an engineer. The California business and professions code requires someone representing themselves to the public as an engineer be licensed. <<<<<<

No, you stupid dunghill, that's only if you are offering engineering services to the public for pay. Also, I didn't "lose" my engineering license -- I only decided not to renew it.

Sheeesh -- what other blogger has to put up with this kind of crap?

Anonymous driveled,
>>>>>>"like trying to pull teeth"

Is that the "fundamental concept underlying all of dentistry"?

I guess you're not a dentist either.<<<<<<

Another example of a breathtakingly inane comment from a troll here.

Friday, February 22, 2008 3:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> I learned it by listening to biologists -- and Lord Rutherford. <

Lord Rutherford talks to him often! He is one of the voices in Larry's head.

> I don't understand why the courts still use the Lemon test. <

Nor do you understand anything else about the courts. What is your point?

> I didn't "lose" my engineering license -- I only decided not to renew it. <

And you weren't really fired from all of those places, you only decided not to come back to work the next day.

> Sheeesh -- what other blogger has to put up with this kind of crap? <

What other bloggert puts out this kind of crap?

Friday, February 22, 2008 7:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's O.K. Larry. Your failure as an engineer has no relationship to the material that you spout on this blog. The fact that you are failing in that too is only a coincidence.

ViU, Lay off of Larry's past failures. There are plenty enough of his recent failures to provide material for years.

Friday, February 22, 2008 7:44:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

The troll here are unable to debate the issues, so they just try to sabotage this blog by posting breathtakingly inane comments.

Friday, February 22, 2008 8:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> The troll here are unable to debate the issues,<

He are?

They are unable to debate the issues because you will not respond except with insults.

If you are unable to answer their questions, why do you respond in the first place. We can see who is winning all of the arguments and it certainly isn't you.

- Bill

Friday, February 22, 2008 9:26:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

The extremism of the Darwinist drive into Florida schools brings to mind something Fred Hoyle, a pretty great scientist, wrote about the Darwinist mentality. In his book The Mathematics of Evolution,1999, p.3-4, Hoyle wrote about the dogmatic "new believers" in Darwinism, and the equally dogmatic "old believers" in creationism:

"So it came about from 1860 onward that the new believers became in a sense mentally ill, or, more precisely, either you became mentally ill or you quitted the subject of biology, as I had done in my early teens. The trouble for young biologists was that, with everyone around them ill, it became impossible for them to think they were well unless they were ill, which again is a situation you can read all about in the columns of Nature."

Saturday, February 23, 2008 2:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

The deist, Fred Hoyle was often the last to accept modern theories that did not fit with his fundamentalism. He fought on with his "steady state" theory after every other competent astronomer in the world had given it up, as he finally did himself. While he wasn't one of the 6000 year old Earth nuts, he wasn't far from it.

Strangely despite his religious convictions, he He found the idea that the universe had a beginning to be philosophically troubling, as many argued that a beginning implies a cause, and thus a creator.

He was full of other odd ideas such as his belief that "it is pointless for the world to hold more people than one could get to know in a single lifetime."

Saturday, February 23, 2008 3:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

< Fred Hoyle, a pretty great scientist >

Both "pretty" and "great", eh? Hmm.

Monday, February 25, 2008 2:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

< 6000 year old Earth nuts >

These might be stale, if not properly mummified.

Monday, February 25, 2008 2:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Darth Robo said...

Oh, and Larry. Don't forget to continue to post your um, "scientific" arguments against the Darwinist regime here:

http://www.topix.net/forum/source/south-florida-sun-sentinel/T69QED0JDNQJFBUPP/p19

:)

Monday, February 25, 2008 5:43:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Don't forget to continue to post your um, "scientific" arguments against the Darwinist regime here: <<<<<<

There are 366 comments there -- I can't even find mine anymore.

Monday, February 25, 2008 6:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Darth Robo said...

Page 18. It is currently only on page 19, so you don't have loads to catch up on.

Am I a helpful Dude or what?

Monday, February 25, 2008 6:46:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

It's strange that some Voices (above) should associate Sir Fred Hoyle with deism, with religious convictions, even with fundamentalism(!); or with any other supernatural view.

Explicitly rejecting anything supernatural, Hoyle proposed in his book The Intelligent Universe (1984) that an intelligence that "is firmly within the Universe and is subservient to it" (p.236), had designed the first living cells on earth. In his opinion at that time, the intelligence was space aliens. He continued,

"The idea that the intelligence that designed carbon-based life is squarely within the Universe of normal cause and effect is one that has had an uncomfortable reception in the contemporary western world because in conformity with Judeo-Christian tradition it seems to be the real wish of western astronomers to invoke supernatural ultimate causes from outside the Universe...The big bang theory requires a recent origin of the Universe that openly invites the concept of creation..." (p.237)

Hoyle held that the universe is intelligent in the sense that, in his view, intelligence necessarily arises within it: but by perfectly natural laws. By 1984 he had rejected both the big bang theory, and the steady-state theory that he had originally proposed. And he held that it was his opponents who were, unconsciously, probably influenced by religious or supernatural ideas.

While I personally doubt that Fred Hoyle was right, it's clear that those who inveigh against him now, do so primarily because he rejected Darwinism; and advocated a form of intelligent design.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Incidentally, I think it was excessive for Sir Fred to write that Darwinists are "in a sense mentally ill." I find them to be overly dogmatic; but certainly not at all crazy.

Probably Fred is in no position to apologize to all Darwinists today. But is it possible that his ghost might, at least, appear and express his regrets, to Richard Dawkins?

Monday, February 25, 2008 5:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Darwin B. Leaver said...

I'm grinding my teeth at that Fred,
That Hoyle! I'm glad that he's dead!
He turned to design?!?
Intelligence? Fine!
But Our Darwin loved DUMBNESS, instead!

(Leaver! Stop gnawing on my carpet when you're angry! Or out you go.--Jim Sherwood)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 2:01:00 PM  

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