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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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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Darwinist poor-mouthing about evolution education

Darwinists are always portraying themselves as the underdogs in science education whereas the opposite is true -- they are actually in the driver's seat and have a near monopoly on evolution education in the public schools.

In an abstract of an article in the Integrative & Comparative Biology journal, Kevin Padian says,

Although contemporary high school and college textbooks of biology generally cover the principles and data of microevolution (genetic and populational change) and speciation rather well, coverage of what is known of the major changes in evolution (macroevolution), and how the evidence is understood is generally poor to nonexistent.

Padian was a plaintiffs' expert witness at the Dover trial and handed out "Friend of Darwin" certificates at a reunion of the Dover plaintiffs team [1][2]

Steven Schafersman, president of Texas Citizens for Science, says (see comment of 9/7/2008 1:51 PM CDT ) --
.
. . . in our country's public schools, especially in Texas, evolution is being marginalized and avoided . . .

The reality appears to be quite a bit different.

Dover defendant Bill Buckingham said in an interview for a PBS NOVA program about the Dover trial,

In looking at the biology book the teachers wanted, I noticed that it was laced with Darwinism. I think I listed somewhere between 12 and 15 instances where it talked about Darwin's theory of evolution. It wasn't on every page of the book, but, like, every couple of chapters, there was Darwin, in your face again. And it was to the exclusion of any other theory.

An author of that biology textbook, fanatic Darwinist Ken Miller, testified at the Dover trial that versions of the book are used by about 35 percent of the high school students in the USA:

Q. Is this a textbook that's used in the Dover Area School District, to your knowledge?

A. My understanding, sir, is that it is.

Q. And is it used anywhere else besides Dover?

A. It is used in each and every one of the 50 states of the United States and several foreign countries.

Q. Do you know how many high schools use your biology book?

A. I can't give you a number in terms of the number of schools, but I have been told by my publisher that about 35 percent of the high school students in the United States use one or another of the various textbooks we've been discussing.

Also, this post shows that evolution gets a tremendous amount of attention in US public school science courses.
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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darwinists are always portraying themselves as the underdogs in science education whereas the opposite is true -- they are actually in the driver's seat and have a near monopoly on evolution education in the public schools.

Hmm, maybe because, as you define 'Darwinism', that IS evolution. Therefore, what you're really saying is that the teaching of evolution in schools has a large proportion of evolution teaching in it.

I think that comes under, 'no shit, Sherlock'.

As for the supposed contradiction between the quote from the article by Kevin Padian, and the evidence presented in the Dover trial, sorry, I fail to see it. Even if the textbook in question is, as claimed, heavy on evolution, the details of exactly what is taught in the textbook is not presented, so it could be exactly as described by Padian. In addition, even your own evidence indicates that it is only being used by about 35% of highschool students. Considering that evolution is the best scientific explanation of how the modern diversity of life, to such a degree that it's arguably the ONLY truly scientific explanation, then only having that percentage at 35% is marginalizing it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008 1:51:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>> Therefore, what you're really saying is that the teaching of evolution in schools has a large proportion of evolution teaching in it. I think that comes under, 'no shit, Sherlock'. <<<<<<

WHAT? That is the most breathtakingly inane statement I have ever seen, idiot.

>>>>>> Even if the textbook in question is, as claimed, heavy on evolution, the details of exactly what is taught in the textbook is not presented, so it could be exactly as described by Padian. <<<<<<

Ken Miller is a fanatic Darwinist. No one has ever directly claimed that his textbooks' coverage of evolution is inadequate.

>>>>>>In addition, even your own evidence indicates that it is only being used by about 35% of highschool students. Considering that evolution is the best scientific explanation of how the modern diversity of life, to such a degree that it's arguably the ONLY truly scientific explanation, then only having that percentage at 35% is marginalizing it.<<<<<<

"Only" 35%? You call that "marginal"? That figure is much more than large enough to invalidate Padian's statement, "coverage of what is known of the major changes in evolution (macroevolution), and how the evidence is understood is generally poor to nonexistent," at least so far as high school texts are concerned. And you have presented no evidence about the remaining 65%.

I also showed that the facts about the great emphasis and preference that evolution gets in our public schools completely refute Steven Schafersman's claim that evolution is "marginalized and avoided" in our public schools.

Friday, September 19, 2008 4:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHAT? That is the most breathtakingly inane statement I have ever seen, idiot.

And being surprised that the teaching of evolution has a large proportion of evolution teaching in it isn't?

Ken Miller is a fanatic Darwinist. No one has ever directly claimed that his textbooks' coverage of evolution is inadequate.

The evidence you presented is inadequate to make that determinaton. The textbook can reference evolution 15,000 times, but if it leaves out details or simply doesn't cover certain parts of evolution to an inadequate degree, it still means evolution is not properly covered.

"Only" 35%? You call that "marginal"?

Considering what evolution is, yes.

That figure is much more than large enough to invalidate Padian's statement, "coverage of what is known of the major changes in evolution (macroevolution), and how the evidence is understood is generally poor to nonexistent," at least so far as high school texts are concerned.

No, it's not, because, even if that figure were 100%, there is no evidence whatsoever presented as to what, exactly, is covered in the textbook in question. Therefore, the exact problem mentioned by Padian could very well exist in this textbook.

And you have presented no evidence about the remaining 65%.

Why should I present evidence for the remaining 65%? It is you making the claim, apparantly, that evolution is not being marginalized. I am pointing out that your evidence simply does not back that up.

I also showed that the facts about the great emphasis and preference that evolution gets in our public schools completely refute Steven Schafersman's claim that evolution is "marginalized and avoided" in our public schools.

Hmm. A very telling quote from the source you used that isn't in your blog post:

The majority of teachers, however, see evolution as central and essential to high school biology courses. Yet the amount of time devoted to evolutionary biology varies substantially from teacher to teacher, and a majority either avoid human evolution altogether or devote only one or two class periods to the topic.

So, it seems, even the source you selected for that blog post appears to indicate that evolution is, indeed, being marginalized, even though a majority of teachers actually agree it is central to the teaching of biology.

Friday, September 19, 2008 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> The evidence you presented is inadequate to make that determinaton. The textbook can reference evolution 15,000 times, but if it leaves out details or simply doesn't cover certain parts of evolution to an inadequate degree, it still means evolution is not properly covered. <<<<<<

As I said, Ken Miller is a fanatic Darwinist. You and Kevin Padian have the burden of showing that his textbook does not cover evolution adequately -- I do not have the burden of showing the opposite.

>>>>>> "Only" 35%? You call that "marginal"?

Considering what evolution is, yes. <<<<<

I don't care what in the hell evolution is -- 35% is not "marginal." You don't know what the word "marginal" means. And what about the remaining 65%? Even the ultrafundy Bob Jones Univ. high-school biology textbook that the University of California refused to accredit (with the approval of a federal judge) has a 15-page section on evolution, and a Wall Street Journal reporter said that the textbook presented evolution "straightforwardly" (I presume that she was talking about the BJU textbook and not the A Beka Book textbook). What I mean by "ultrafundy" is represented by the statement in the BJU textbook's introduction: "If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them." So don't give me this bull about standard biology textbooks not covering evolution adequately, unless you can back it up.

>>>>>>Hmm. A very telling quote from the source you used that isn't in your blog post:

The majority of teachers, however, see evolution as central and essential to high school biology courses. Yet the amount of time devoted to evolutionary biology varies substantially from teacher to teacher, and a majority either avoid human evolution altogether or devote only one or two class periods to the topic.<<<<<<

Well, I don't have to quote everything -- I give links so that people can read the original for themselves. I just happened to think that your quotes were not especially significant or were covered by my other quotes -- I wasn't trying to mislead anyone. And in fact I consider that particular quote to be misleading. I will break it down into parts --

>>>>>>The majority of teachers, however, see evolution as central and essential to high school biology courses. <<<<<<<

The report also said,

Overall, only 23% strongly agreed that evolution served as the unifying theme for their biology or life sciences courses

So that's only 23%. However, the figure presumably would be higher if those who mildly agreed were included and maybe there are some more teachers who would make evolution the unifying theme if they had the opportunity. Also, the report said,

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.

That 13% is a remarkable figure -- even I don't agree with that statement! How in the hell can evolution be central to biology when 13% of science teachers in a poll agree with that statement? What percentage of physics teachers would agree with, say, a statement that an excellent physics course could exist that does not mention Newton's laws of motion at all? And those biology teachers weren't even asked if they thought that evolution was central to biology -- they were just asked if an "excellent" biology course could exist without mentioning evolution at all.

>>>>>>> Yet the amount of time devoted to evolutionary biology varies substantially from teacher to teacher, <<<<<<

And one of the big reasons for that is that so many teachers spend an inordinate amount of time on the subject! The survey shows that 38% of teachers (not counting possible roundoff errors) spend 11-20 hours or more on "general evolutionary processes" -- of course there is going to be a big variation in time! Duh. And only 2% of the surveyed teachers did not cover general evolutionary processes at all -- that blows a big hole in Steven Schafersman's theory that evolution is "avoided" in US public schools.

>>>>>>and a majority either avoid human evolution altogether or devote only one or two class periods to the topic. <<<<<<<

The table shows that only 17% do not cover human evolution at all and 35% spend 1-2 hours. Many teachers cover substantially more time on human evolution -- the table shows: 3-5 hours, 25%; 6-10 hours, 12%; 11-15 hours, 5%; 16-20 hours, 3%; and 20 hours or more, 2%. I can't see the point of spending more than 1-2 hours on human evolution in a general biology or general science course. And these hours must be in addition to time spent on "general evolutionary processes" -- otherwise it would not be reasonable for the table to show 9% spending 1-2 hours on "general evolutionary processes" and 35% spending 1-2 hours on human evolution.

In addition to that survey, there is also this map chart showing that evolution is at least mentioned in all state science standards (though mentioned "briefly, unclearly" in the science standards of a few states) and is treated "straightforwardly and/or thoroughly" in the overwhelming majority of state science standards (Iowa doesn't count because it does not have its own state science standards). And this map chart was prepared by the National Center for Science Education and the Fordham Foundation, two organizations which would be expected to be extremely stingy in giving state science standards credit for treating evolution "straightforwardly and/or thoroughly."

>>>>>> So, it seems, even the source you selected for that blog post appears to indicate that evolution is, indeed, being marginalized, even though a majority of teachers actually agree it is central to the teaching of biology. <<<<<<

You are so full of living crap that it is coming out your ears.

Friday, September 19, 2008 6:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I said, Ken Miller is a fanatic Darwinist. You and Kevin Padian have the burden of showing that his textbook does not cover evolution adequately -- I do not have the burden of showing the opposite.

Sorry, did this suddenly become my blog whilst I wasn't paying attention? The original blog post above makes the claim that Padian, et al, are wrong. Now, unless you are not the same Larry Fafarman as who wrote the original blog post, it is you who has the burden of proof to back up your claim. I have pointed out you have yet to do this.

I don't care what in the hell evolution is -- 35% is not "marginal." You don't know what the word "marginal" means.

You obviously don't understand how central evolution is to vast swathes of biology. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that teaching biology without teaching evolution is like teaching about water without mentioning it's wet. Any basic science course should teach, amongst other things, the basics of biology - which, of course, includes the basics of evolution.

And what about the remaining 65%? Even the ultrafundy Bob Jones Univ. high-school biology textbook that the University of California refused to accredit (with the approval of a federal judge) has a 15-page section on evolution, and a Wall Street Journal reporter said that the textbook presented evolution "straightforwardly" (I presume that she was talking about the BJU textbook and not the A Beka Book textbook). What I mean by "ultrafundy" is represented by the statement in the BJU textbook's introduction: "If the conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them." So don't give me this bull about standard biology textbooks not covering evolution adequately, unless you can back it up.

Again, it is you making the claim that they do, apparantly based purely on someone else's claim as to the number of references made to what you, and they, call 'Darwinism' in one particular textbook. You have still not provided any evidence of what, exactly, is covered in even this one textbook, far less any others, so you still have yet to provide any evidence that Padian is actually incorrect.

As to the rest of your hogwash, it can basically be summarized by you saying, 'the parts of my own source that I agree with are correct, and the parts I disagree with are wrong', apart from the areas where you seem to provide yet more evidence refuting your original claim, seemingly without even realising it.

Friday, September 19, 2008 8:29:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

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

Friday, September 19, 2008 8:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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

Good advice - I made the mistake of not following it when I bothered to comment on your blog post.

Saturday, September 20, 2008 12:32:00 PM  

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