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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Discovery Institute hardly knows the half of it

The New York Times has a news article with the misleading title "Opponents of Evolution Adopting a New Strategy" and a related editorial with the title "The Cons of Creationism" (which should be titled "The Cons of Darwinism" -- the Darwinists are the ones who are conning us).

Robert Crowther said in Evolution News & Views,

Let's review. In 1998, the Texas Board of Education adopted the current set of science standards calling on students "to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information . . . .This is the language that the New York Times now insists is a new development!

John West said in Evolution News & Views,

As previously pointed out, the New York Times botched its recent story about the science standards debate in Texas, implying that support for covering the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution is supposedly a new strategy on the part of Darwin critics. The only problem is that the “strengths and weaknesses” language in the Texas Science Standards was adopted some 10 years ago in 1998, and so there is nothing new about it.

Then John West said in another article, titled "Message to New York Times Editorial Page: Hire a Fact-Checker,"

The Times apparently hasn’t been paying attention to Texas during the past decade, because (as we pointed out last week) the “strengths and weaknesses” language the Times’ editorialists so fear has been part of the Texas science standards since at least 1998! In short, the Texas State Board of Education isn’t considering whether to add “strengths and weaknesses” language; it’s the Darwinists who are trying to remove the language that has been in the Texas science standards for a decade.

You dummies, the New York Times news article itself says that the "strengths and weaknesses" language was added to the Texas science standards "in the late 1980's":

The “strengths and weaknesses” language was slipped into the curriculum standards in Texas to appease creationists when the State Board of Education first mandated the teaching of evolution in the late 1980s.

Steven Schafersman of the Texas Citizens for Science says that the "weaknesses" language in the Texas science standards may have been first adopted as early as the mid 1980's --

I was present at the very SBOE meeting in the mid to late 1980s (I have not had time to search long-stored records to find the correct date, but the experience is still vivid in my memory) when the "weaknesses" language was first adopted for a textbook proclamation that included biology texts.

So it looks like the Discovery Institute needs a fact checker, too.

Also, John West says in one of the articles,

As for whether “other states are likely to follow” Texas’s example: the Times’ editorial writers clearly haven’t been paying attention to what has been happening in those other states over the last decade. Six states already call for the critical analysis of evolution in their science standards—Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Alabama, and Missouri. Contrary to the Chicken Littles at the Times, the sky hasn’t fallen in any of them.
Alabama has even had evolution-disclaimer textbook stickers of the kind banned in Selman v. Cobb County.

It is disgraceful for such a prominent reference as the New York Times to spread such misinformation. Who do they think they are, Wikipedia?

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Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Not only is The New York Times spreading misinformation about the controversy, but it evidently doesn't give a damn about informing the public about the real state of "evolutionary biology."

Otherwise it would have reported by now on the Susan Mazur interview with Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, which is causing much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth by Larry Moran and other conventional Darwin-fans. Uncommon Descent, May 11, has a convenient link to the interview.

Massimo, who is a True Believer in materialism and a conventional scientist of much conventional repute, lets the cat right out of the bag. He points out that Darwinism, i.e., emergence of all life basically by natural selection of some sort of random genetic variations, is now known to be false and impossible.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

So what's wrong with Darwinism, according to Massimo?

"The point is, however, that organisms can be modified and refined by natural selection, but that is NOT the way new species and new classes and new phyla originated."

But golly and gee, Massimmo! Fred Hoyle and Michael Behe have been saying exactly the same thing for decades! Aren't you going to give some credit to them?


And why have most "evolutionary biologists" kept on telling us that Darwinism works, and that it's the great this and the great that? The answer from Massimo is:

"I think that abandoning Darwinism (or explicitly relegating it to where it belongs, in the refinement and fine-tuning of existing forms,) sounds anti-scientific. They fear that the tenants of intelligent design and the creationists (people I hate as much as they do) will rejoice and quote them as being on their side. They really fear that, so they are prudent, some in good faith, some for calculated fear of being cast out of the scientific community."

OK Massimo, I get it! They distort or hide the truth for fear of helping the IDists: or else of being EXPELLED!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger Bryce said...

So it turns out that, in spite of what Cornelia Dean has been telling us, according to Massismo Piattelli-Palmarini, there is no credible materialistic explanation
for how these critters got here, today! But he's hoping that one will be dreamed up in about 20 years! In that case Cornelia Dean should report:

Said Cornelia, "There's no credible view
At all, now that Darwin's askew!
I'll rant and I'll cry,
For IDists will try
To tell the public that's true..."

"Though Darwin's My Saint, I fear
That his theory was dumb! So it's clear
That biologists, well,
Don't know what the Hell
Produced these damn beasts, that are here!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 5:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

The last comment, and the poetry, were written by me. It turns out that a blogger named Bryce has been using these library computers today, and his gmail address was still in the computers. So Blogger ascribed my comments to him. Sorry about the mix-up. --Jim Sherwood

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 7:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Some of the militant atheists are accusing creationists of secret code words now involving these terms: strengths and weaknesses of evolution...lol...Apparently they think they are uncovering some sort of secret society based on those terms...lol...

In the evolutionary circle of politically correct terms: "Evolution doesn't have any weakness otherwise it's "Creationism". What it does have however, is a boat load of models trying to explain the same thing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 1:27:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

You're completely right, Michael. The conventional "theory of evolution" that the Darwin-fans are trying to impose in Florida, etc., is not only full of enormous "weaknesses," it's an impossible and absurd doctrine.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

One thing that Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini pointed out in his interview (see my comments above,)is that living things have bafflingly "optimal" physiological systems, which are very precisely suited to their requirements.

Massimo points out that random genetic variations plus natural selection, obviously, cannot produce such precise systems.

So what did it, then? Intelligent design could obviously do it.

But Massimo is a True Believer in Materialism, so he thinks that he has to reject ID.

So he dogmatizes that some purely materialistic process must have done it. It's just that he doesn't know what that process is!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 2:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim Sherwood is over his head in referring to the Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini interview. What he (Piattelli) criticizes is the old-fashioned and reductive evolutionary theory proposed by Darwin. Of course, it has been largely modified and complicated, one example being the Evo-Devo that Piattelli mentions. Massimo argues that this challenges the role of natural selection to a great extent (this being his strongest criticism of "darwinism"). Of course, what Jim Sherwood misses is that 1) he isn't a biologist (but seems pretty knowledgeable about the subject, his degree is in physics, but works in related fields) and 2) his approach is entirely scientific, unlike the anti-scientific approach of IDists and creationists.

But Jim will keep on posting how some writer who criticizes whatever he (Jim) means by "Darwinism" opens the door for intelligent design or other theories, not recognizing that the work of scientists most days (well, when the results of experiments come in) challenge previously held tenets of evolutionary theory and modify it, making it less "Darwinistic" every day.

Friday, June 13, 2008 11:11:00 AM  

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