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.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Still more "central to biology" claptrap

An article titled "Evolution and Creationism in America's Classrooms: A National Portrait", whose Penn State authors are not even biologists but are political scientists, says,

The National Academy of Sciences calls evolution “the central concept of biology” [6], and three respected national organizations have provided model high school curriculum guidelines with evolution as a unifying theme [7–9] . . . ..

Community pressures place significant stress on teachers as they try to teach evolution, stresses that can lead them to de-emphasize, downplay, or ignore the topic [20]. This is particularly true of the many teachers who lack a full understanding of evolution, or at least confidence in their knowledge of it. Such a lack of confidence can lead teachers to avoid confrontations with students, parents, and the wider community. They may, for example, not treat evolution as the class's organizing principle, or may avoid effective hands-on activity to teach it, or not ask students to apply natural selection to real life situations [19] . . . . .
.
Those teachers who stressed evolution by making it the unifying theme of their course spent more time on it. Overall, only 23% strongly agreed that evolution served as the unifying theme for their biology or life sciences courses (Table S2); these teachers devoted 18.5 hours to evolution, 50% more class time than other teachers. When we asked whether an excellent biology course could exist without mentioning Darwin or evolutionary theory at all, 13% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that such a course could exist.

Well, it's good to know that "only 23% strongly agreed that evolution served as the unifying theme for their biology or life sciences courses," though a larger number might think that evolution is the unifying theme. And assuming one hour per class, 18.5 hours devoted to evolution amounts to nearly four weeks! That's disgusting. I don't even remember studying evolution at all when I was in high school in the early 1960's.

. . . .there are three widely circulated documents that serve as guidelines at the national level [6–8] . . . . all three of these reports expect and recommend a substantial investment in evolutionary biology and evolution-related topics. All expect science teachers to “provide evidence that evolution has attained its status as a unifying theme in science”[12].

However, the article reported some positive news:

Our survey of biology teachers is the first nationally representative, scientific sample survey to examine evolution and creationism in the classroom. Three different survey questions all suggest that between 12% and 16% of the nation's biology teachers are creationist in orientation. Roughly one sixth of all teachers professed a “young earth” personal belief, and about one in eight reported that they teach creationism or intelligent design in a positive light. The number of hours devoted to these alternative theories is typically low—but this nevertheless must surely convey to students that these theories should be accorded respect as scientific perspectives.

These Darwin-doubting biology teachers have at least some knowledge of biology and do not fit the stereotypes of Darwin doubters as being ignorant rednecks and hillbillies.

The statement that evolution is "central to biology" simply isn't true. There are lots of things in biology where evolution is simply irrelevant. That "central to biology" statement is at least partly intended to be -- in the words of Kansas Univ. professor Paul Mirecki -- "a nice slap in the big fat face of the fundies" and other critics of evolution theory. Opponents of Darwinist dogma need to make opposition to this "central to biology" claptrap a top priority.

The following chart is from the article:


Figure 2. High School Biology Teachers' Personal Beliefs Concerning Human Origins, Compared with a Representative Sample of the General Public, Spring 2007

Our teachers were each asked a question about their own personal beliefs about human origins. This question is identical to a question that major polling organizations have asked members of the general public since 1981 [2]. Figure 2 compares the results for our sample of teachers surveyed during March and April of 2007 with the results of a public opinion poll conducted for Newsweek on March 28–29 of 2007 (see Table S4). Among the biology teachers, 16% believed that human beings were created by God in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years (and an additional 9% declined to answer). Although this is a far smaller proportion than found among the general public (48%), our data demonstrate substantial sympathy for the “young earth” creationist position among nearly one in six members of the science teaching profession. The teachers who chose the “young earth” creationist position devoted 35% fewer class hours to evolution than all other teachers (Table S5).

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27 Comments:

Anonymous Jim said...

"whose Penn State authors are not even biologists but are political scientists"

And yet you feel you're in a position to sound off on the issue as an engineer? The vast majority of evolution nay sayers are not biologists, but yet you don't seem to denounce them.

"However, the article reported some positive news"

16% of high school biology teachers have creationsist leanings is good news? 1/6th believing in a young earth is good news? The fact that 1/8th are even teaching creationism/ID in SCIENCE class is good news? This is horrifying news, Larry, and the fact that the numbers are that high are a testament to our failure as a society to properly educate our children. The fact that there are "teachers" indoctrinating (yes, teaching creationism and ID is nothing more nothing less) our younger generations with PERSONAL BELIEFS held by a segment of our population as scientifically valid concepts is depressing beyond words. And before you say it, teaching evolution is NOT the same thing as it has the most important criteria met: evidence.

"There are lots of things in biology where evolution is simply irrelevant."

Name one thing, Larry and I'm sure myself or someone else will promptly point out how evolution IS in some way pertinent to that topic.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 1:30:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>"whose Penn State authors are not even biologists but are political scientists"

And yet you feel you're in a position to sound off on the issue as an engineer? <<<<<<<

At least I know enough about biology to know that evolution is not central to it. And I have been studying the scientific issues of evolution for a long time whereas presumably these authors have not studied those issues at all -- otherwise they probably would not have been so stupid as to say that evolution is central to biology. Biologists say it only because they have an ax to grind.

>>>>>> This is horrifying news, Larry, and the fact that the numbers are that high are a testament to our failure as a society to properly educate our children. <<<<<<<

These are biology teachers, who presumably know a lot about evolution, yet even a large percentage of them reject it.

>>>>> And before you say it, teaching evolution is NOT the same thing as it has the most important criteria met: evidence. <<<<<<

But a lot of the evidence is against evolution.

>>>>>> Name one thing, Larry and I'm sure myself or someone else will promptly point out how evolution IS in some way pertinent to that topic. <<<<<<<

Since supposedly all living things originated through evolution, of course it can always be claimed that evolution is "pertinent" to a particular topic in biology. But evolution is certainly not central or important to everything in biology. The statement that evolution is "central to biology" and similar statements are just plain wrong and should not be in any biology textbooks or education standards.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 3:19:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

At least I know enough about biology to know that evolution is not central to it.

According to whom, do you know this?

Saturday, August 16, 2008 4:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Apparently "the majority" at the National Academy of Sciences is behind the ludicrous doctrine that "evolution," presumably meaning the wholly mechanistic or Darwinist variety of "evolution," is "the central concept of biology." Since a survey by Edward Larson found that three-quarters of the NAS guys are true-believers in philosophical materialism, that is probably why they prefer the "central concept" doctrine. Without some theory of the perfectly mechanistic emergence of all species, it's hard to see how philosophical materialism could thrive, or even exist.

If anything might qualify as a central concept in biology it would probably be genetics, since living things must reproduce in order to exist. Modern genetics was discovered by Gregor Mendel, a Christian monk who rejected Darwinism and, I believe, every other form of evolution.

Mendel must surely be regarded as the greatest biologist of the 19th century. He discovered genetics in the same way that every genuine scientific discovery has ultimately been made or at least verified: through careful experiments. "Evolutionary biologists," on the contrary, have relied on arbitrary extrapolation, and upon untestable speculations about what might have caused species to appear, in the largely-inscrutable past.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 4:58:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

'Nonymous said,
>>>>>> At least I know enough about biology to know that evolution is not central to it.

According to whom, do you know this? <<<<<<

According to common sense. Evolution is just supposed to be the means by which living things were created. Saying that evolution is central to biology is like saying that manufacturing (including construction) is central to engineering because manufacturing is the means by which engineered things are created.

Jim Sherwood said,
>>>>>> If anything might qualify as a central concept in biology it would probably be genetics, since living things must reproduce in order to exist. <<<<<<

I disagree with the idea that anything can be central to biology.

Even in a very narrow engineering specialty like heat transfer analysis, there is no unifying concept. Only heat conduction in solids has a unifying concept, Fourier's Law.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 5:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Axelrod said...

> Even in a very narrow engineering specialty like heat transfer analysis, there is no unifying concept. Only heat conduction in solids has a unifying concept, Fourier's Law. <

Incredible. Any you claim you used to be an engineer?

Saturday, August 16, 2008 7:37:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Incredible. Any you claim you used to be an engineer? <<<<<<

I didn't "used to be an engineer," dunghill, I am an engineer. Once an engineer, always an engineer. And I should know something about my own area of specialization.

What is wrong with my statement?

Saturday, August 16, 2008 8:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

"At least I know enough about biology to know that evolution is not central to it.

You've yet to demonstrate that you have even a rudimentary grasp of biology and its concepts.

"And I have been studying the scientific issues of evolution for a long time whereas presumably these authors have not studied those issues at all -- otherwise they probably would not have been so stupid as to say that evolution is central to biology."

I could study particle physics for a long time if I wanted to, but it wouldn't do me a damn bit of good if I don't have a knowledge base to support what I've learned. Also, has your "study" been in primary literature or websites? There's a huge difference between the two and based on the one time you've talked about a specific paper, I'd say you're not reading the primary literature effectively.

"Biologists say it only because they have an ax to grind."

You think that because you think you're knowledgeable enough to disagree. But you're absolutely right, biologists do have an ax to grind: ensuring that children are taught proper science.

"These are biology teachers, who presumably know a lot about evolution, yet even a large percentage of them reject it."

Key word: PRESUMABLY. I know it's anecdotal but the high school biology teachers I've met have a firm grasp of basic biology, including evolution. However, although they are more knowledgeable than the kids they are teaching, a basic understanding of evolution is not enough to accurately determine it's viability. I have a basic knowledge of particle physics, enough so that I can teach people around me a little about it, but I accept that I don't have NEARLY enough to try to question the validity of the field, I leave that to people who have spent years (decades most likely) studying it.

"But a lot of the evidence is against evolution."

HAHA I can't believe you actually wrote this. Please tell me the evidence against evolution (preferably BIOLOGICAL evidence against evolution).

"Since supposedly all living things originated through evolution...the statement that evolution is "central to biology" and similar statements are just plain wrong and should not be in any biology textbooks or education standards."

Translation: I'm talking out my ass and since I've been called on it and don't actually know what I am talking about, I'm just going to repeat it as if it's true and be happy in my ignorant little world.

Common, Larry, lets see some EXAMPLES!

Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous jim said...

"Apparently "the majority" at the National Academy of Sciences is behind the ludicrous doctrine that "evolution," presumably meaning the wholly mechanistic or Darwinist variety of "evolution," is "the central concept of biology."

Oh, those arrogant bastards. Who do the brightest scientific minds currently alive think they are? I agree, they should just defer to non-biologist lay people who have read some information (or, more likely disinformation) online to set scientific education curriculum and standards.

"If anything might qualify as a central concept in biology it would probably be genetics"

From websters:
Genetics:
"1. Biology. the science of heredity, dealing with resemblances and differences of related organisms resulting from the interaction of their genes and the environment.
2. the genetic properties and phenomena of an organism."

EHHHH wrong, try again.

Jim Sherwood, are you another Larry who has "studied" biology for a long time? Or do you, like Larry, just enjoy talking out your ass in an attempt to sound smart?

"Modern genetics was discovered by Gregor Mendel, a Christian monk who rejected Darwinism and, I believe, every other form of evolution."

This is like arguing whether or not Thomas Jefferson was a creationist: it's completely IRRELEVANT! While Mendel's contributions to science are immense, we're working with an extra 124 years of information than he had available. Citing his position on evolution is like talking about Dalton's position on an atomic bomb.

"He discovered genetics in the same way that every genuine scientific discovery has ultimately been made or at least verified: through careful experiments. "Evolutionary biologists," on the contrary, have relied on arbitrary extrapolation, and upon untestable speculations about what might have caused species to appear, in the largely-inscrutable past."

You're clearly not a biologist nor do you peruse primary literature. While much of our knowledge of evolution comes from the fossil record, your little sneer against evolutionary biologists does not hold true to those using genetics and model organisms to glean new data on evolution.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

I agree with you, Larry, that there can't be any "central concept of biology." What I meant is that genetics is surely more important in biology than is any concept of evolution, whether mechanistic or Darwinist, or otherwise. But I should have used different language.

Incidentally, I could call myself an "intelligent design evolutionist," since I think that all existing species have indeed descended from earlier ones, in a long process. But I think that the evidence strongly suggests, at least, that intelligence of some sort played a role in designing many of the modifications that were involved in that descent. Many intelligent design proponents, including Behe and quantum physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff, agree with me on that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 1:02:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

The Non-Sherwood Jim barfed,

>>>>>> You've yet to demonstrate that you have even a rudimentary grasp of biology and its concepts. <<<<<<<

As the saying goes, don't feed the trolls.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 1:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Wilderness said...

>>>>>> You've yet to demonstrate that you have even a rudimentary grasp of biology and its concepts. <<<<<<<

> As the saying goes, don't feed the trolls. <

Translation: Larry is incapable of showing that he has even a rudimentary grasp of anything.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Translation: Larry is incapable of showing that he has even a rudimentary grasp of anything. <<<<<<

Translation: try telling that to bloggers Fatheaded Ed Brayton, Sleazy PZ Myers, Wesley "Ding" Elsberry, etc. and see how far you get.

Under the Social Darwinism that you love so much, you lousy trolls would be euthanized to protect you and others from the consequences of your stupidity.

Sunday, August 17, 2008 9:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Under the Social Darwinism that you love so much, you lousy trolls would be euthanized to protect you and others from the consequences of your stupidity."

Larry,
I don't think that ANYONE, except you, has EVER mentioned social Darwinism on this blog. Most of us stick to the science. Which you (very) obviously don't understand. Social Darwinism, rather than being one of our (alleged) favorite topics, instead seems to be one of yours. Whenever you cannot refute our arguments (or refuse to try, because you think you might not be able to) you resort to this "social darwinism" claptrap (Ooh, see what I did there?) Unfortunately it doesn't prove your point, it just makes you look ridiculous and desperate.

Additionally, your "don't feed the trolls" saying/ruse, doesn't prove any points either. All of us reasonable people, (I think that's everyone who looks at this blog except Jim Sherwood and yourself) read that particular phrase as "I LOSE. LOVE, LARRY." Just a heads up.

Finally, simply because you and Jim Sherwood agree on something (say, for example, your understanding of basic biology) does not make it true. I think, perhaps, it might make. it less likely to be true.

Anyway, Besides all that, you've continued to fail to demonstrate any actual understanding of biology, you've failed to mention even a single piece of "evidence" against evolution. (Keep in mind that "evidence" doesn't comprise your personal opinion. Especially because you don't understand biology, as previously discussed.) and you've failed to point out even a single thing in biology to which evolution is irrelevant.

Good Job Larry, you're maintaining your reputation!

Monday, August 18, 2008 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Anonymous barfed,
>>>>>> I don't think that ANYONE, except you, has EVER mentioned social Darwinism on this blog. <<<<<<

Because it's a good way of getting rid of mentally unfit jerks like you who clutter up this blog with your breathtakingly inane crap.

You hypocritical scumbags ridicule my opposition to arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments on blogs while you have the nerve to say things here that you wouldn't dare say on other blogs.

>>>>>> Whenever you cannot refute our arguments (or refuse to try, because you think you might not be able to) <<<<<<<

You despicable dunghill, I am very generous in participating in the discussions here -- it takes time away from writing new articles and from commenting on other blogs and websites. Unlike you, I am a busy man and sometimes need to end my participation in a discussion. On many other blogs, the authors of articles never or rarely participate in the discussions.

>>>>>> Additionally, your "don't feed the trolls" saying/ruse, doesn't prove any points either. All of us reasonable people, <<<<<<<

Please don't make me laugh. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oops, too late.

>>>>>>> you've failed to mention even a single piece of "evidence" against evolution. <<<<<<<

Just click on "Non-ID criticisms of evolution" in the sidebar.

>>>>>> you've failed to point out even a single thing in biology to which evolution is irrelevant. <<<<<<<

And you have failed to point out a single thing in engineering where manufacturing is irrelevant. So manufacturing should be called "the fundamental concept underlying all of engineering."

Monday, August 18, 2008 1:46:00 AM  
Blogger Nada Platonico said...

Larry wrote, "I am very generous in participating in the discussions here -- it takes time away from writing new articles and from commenting on other blogs and websites. Unlike you, I am a busy man and sometimes need to end my participation in a discussion"

One word of advice: get a life.

Expansion: there's a DK song, "Chickenshit Conformist" that includes the verse:
"Music scenes ain't real life
They won't get rid of the bomb
Won't eliminate rape
Or bring down the banks
any kind of real change
Takes more time and work
Than changing channels on a TV set"

Change the last line to "Than posting on my blog" and even Larry should get my point.

Monday, August 18, 2008 6:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, August 18, 2008 7:56:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU's comment was censored for violating the rule against blatant lies about objective facts:
>>>>> We rational commenters ridicule your arbitrary censorship and your disproven claims of what occurs on other blogs. <<<<<<<

Wrong -- I showed the exact point at which Fatheaded Ed Brayton permanently kicked me off his blog because he disagreed with my literal interpretation of a federal court rule.

However, I will answer ViU's following statement --

>>>>>> and sometimes need to end my participation in a discussion. <

When you realize that you are losing or have no answer. <<<<<<

You lousy trolls will always make that claim no matter when I choose to leave a discussion, dunghill.

Monday, August 18, 2008 9:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, August 18, 2008 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

ViU never learns.

Monday, August 18, 2008 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Hector said...

Does anyone know of a site besides Larry's that practices such blatant arbitrary censorship?

This hypocrisy is probably his way of calling much needed attention to himself. It seems that Larry never learns.

Monday, August 18, 2008 2:34:00 PM  
Anonymous axelrod said...

Let Larry keep it up. It gives us a good laugh.

Monday, August 18, 2008 2:40:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Hectoring Hector moaned,
>>>>>> Does anyone know of a site besides Larry's that practices such blatant arbitrary censorship? <<<<<<

It wasn't arbitrary censorship, dunghill -- censoring a comment for lying about an objective fact is not arbitrary. I linked to the comment where Fatheaded Ed Brayton stated his reason for kicking me off his blog and ViU falsely claimed that I did not give the real reason why Fatheaded Ed kicked me off his blog.

Next I will start deleting comments that make false claims of arbitrary censorship.

axelrod driveled,

>>>>>> Let Larry keep it up. It gives us a good laugh. <<<<<<

And I may start censoring your kind of comment too. My no-censorship policy does not commit me to accept that kind of crap.

Monday, August 18, 2008 2:57:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

In another recent thread, Larry(?) posted the following limerick:

There once was a lady named Chris,
whose presence we surely don't miss.
She so raised our ire
that were she on fire,
upon her we wouldn't even piss.


So, speaking of "censorship", would anyone care to recall what Ms. Comer's "offense" was?

Monday, August 18, 2008 6:49:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>>In another recent thread, Larry(?) posted the following limerick:<<<<<

What is the question mark for?

>>>>>> So, speaking of "censorship", would anyone care to recall what Ms. Comer's "offense" was? <<<<<<

What has this got to do with censorship?

This blog has a whole bunch of articles about Chris Comer -- just click on her name in the post label list in the sidebar.

Monday, August 18, 2008 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> censoring a comment for lying about an objective fact is not arbitrary. <

Then you should be censoring many of your comments where you lie about objective facts.

> Next I will start deleting comments that make false claims of arbitrary censorship. <

Next you will start arbitrarily deleting comments that correct your false claims of arbitrary censorship.

Have you disbanded your one-man "Association of Censoring Bloggers"?

Monday, August 18, 2008 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

>>>>>>In another recent thread, Larry(?) posted the following limerick:<<<<<

"What is the question mark for?"

I just thought it would be kind to offer you a chance to disclaim authorship. (Not that that would be very credible.)

>>>>>> So, speaking of "censorship", would anyone care to recall what Ms. Comer's "offense" was? <<<<<<

"What has this got to do with censorship?"

Oh, not much. Just the fact that she was fired for mentioning a lecture that people could choose to attend. That's not censorship, is it? Nah!

Saturday, August 23, 2008 5:16:00 PM  

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