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, October 17, 2008

Darwinists oppose balance on science standards committees

The Texas Board of Education has nominated 6 people for a panel to review the proposed new Texas state science standards. An article in the Dallas Morning News says, "The committee was chosen by 12 of the 15 members of the board of education, with each panel member receiving the support of two board members." The Texas Freedom Network website says,

AUSTIN - Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller today sharply criticized the inclusion of three strident evolution opponents, including two authors of an anti-evolution textbook, on a panel that will review proposed new science curriculum standards for Texas public schools. The inclusion of the two textbook authors raises serious questions about conflicts of interest and whether political agendas took priority over giving Texas students a 21st-century science education, Miller said.

“It’s simply stunning that any state board members would even consider appointing authors of an anti-evolution textbook to a panel of scientists,” she said. “Are they coming here to help write good science standards or to drum up a market for their lousy textbook?”

As the Discovery Institute points out, Darwinist panel nominees David Hillis and Gerald Skoog also have a "conflict of interest" because they are also authors of biology textbooks.

The TFN webpage continues,
.
The textbook, Explore Evolution, is intended for secondary schools and colleges, according to its U.S. distributor, the anti-evolution Discovery Institute in Seattle. Because of that, the State Board of Education could consider it for the state’s approved list of science textbooks in 2011.

The two authors are Stephen Meyer, who is vice president of the Discovery Institute, and Ralph Seelke, a professor of the department of biology and earth sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. A third panel member, Charles Garner, is a professor of chemistry at Baylor University in Waco.

All three are supporters of the anti-evolution concept “intelligent design”/creationism and have signed the Discovery Institute’s “Dissent from Darwinism” statement. In addition to their textbook, Meyer and Seelke testified in 2005 against evolution in hearings called by religious conservatives who controlled the Kansas State Board of Education.

Texas state board members nominated all six panelists. The three other members of the review panel are Texas scientists with long, distinguished resumes:

David Hillis, professor of integrative biology and director of the Center of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at the University of Texas at Austin;

Ronald K. Wetherington, professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University and director of the Center for Teaching Excellence;

Gerald Skoog, professor and dean emeritus of the College of Education at Texas Tech and co-director of the Center for Integration of Science Education and Research

The Darwinists are quick to accuse Meyer, Seelke, and Garner of bias while ignoring the biases of the other three nominees, Hillis, Wetherington, and Skoog. David Hillis was a speaker at a press conference of the 21st Century Science Coalition, which seeks to remove the ~ 20-year-old "strengths and weaknesses" language from the state science standards. Gerald Skoog has also been a pro-Darwinist activist and is a signer of the coalition's statement that opposes the "strengths and weaknesses" language. Ronald Wetherington opposed the holding of a "Darwin v. Design" conference at SMU last year (to his credit, Wetherington has not signed the 21st Century Science Coalition's statement opposing the "strengths and weaknesses" language -- yet). So none of the 6 nominees for the panel is neutral and the nominees are evenly divided between dogmatic Darwinists and Darwin doubters.

It was reported that 6 members (correction -- the correct figure is 7, out of a total of 15 members) of the Texas board of education support retaining the "strengths and weaknesses" language, so why should anyone be surprised that they selected panel nominees who support that position?

Darwin doubters are not asking for the moon -- mainly they are just asking for retention of the "strengths and weaknesses" language that has been in the standards for 20 years or more.

The TFN webpage says,

“Texas universities boast some of the leading scientists in the world,” Miller said. “It’s appalling that some state board members turned to out-of-state ideologues to decide whether Texas kids get a 21st-century science education.”

If Meyer and Seelke supported the TFN agenda, TFN would not object to their being from out-of-state.

News articles about the selection of the nominees for the panel are here and here.

Darwinists are opposed to any kind of balance on science standards committees. Why does every member of a state science-standards committee have to be a dyed-in-the-wool Darwinist? Why shouldn't the many people who are in favor of keeping the "strengths and weaknesses" language be represented on the standards committees? Also, the Darwinists really loused up the recently adopted Florida state science standards. The Florida science standards say that "evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology." That's just plain wrong -- how can that be true when 13% of respondents in a recent national survey of science teachers agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that an "excellent" biology course could exist that does not mention Darwin or evolution theory at all? And the Florida science standards say that "scientific theories" are by definition "well-supported" and "widely accepted." That's ridiculous -- there are strong scientific theories and weak scientific theories.

I called the Texas Education Agency yesterday and asked when they are going to post the online form for commenting about the proposed new science standards and they told me that they are working on it and did not give me a firm release date. The proposed standards were released nearly four weeks ago and time's a-wasting -- there is going to be some kind of preliminary hearing or decision in November (there will be further hearings and a final decision will be made some time next year).
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18 Comments:

Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

No balance is needed between science and superstition in science classes.

Friday, October 17, 2008 7:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would somebody please explain to me why discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory is a superstitious exercise?

Friday, October 17, 2008 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Voice in the Urbanness driveled,
>>>>>> No balance is needed between science and superstition in science classes. <<<<<<

I was talking about balance on science standards committees, doofus, not about balance in science classes.

Anonymous said,
>>>>> Would somebody please explain to me why discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory is a superstitious exercise? <<<<<<

Don't ask somebody, ask ViU -- it was his idea.

Friday, October 17, 2008 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous jim said...

>Would somebody please explain to me why discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory is a superstitious exercise?<

The act itself is not superstitious. However, when said "weaknesses" stem largely from evolution's contradiction with the first book of a religious text, then you're wandering into the realm of superstitions.

Friday, October 17, 2008 1:20:00 PM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

Why does every member of a state science-standards committee have to believe in science? (What a concept!)

Friday, October 17, 2008 4:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Troll said...

It's "smart" if it sides with me,
And "stupid's" the opposite, see?
That logic's so strong,
It proves, all along,
I'm the brightest troll that can be!"

(Darwin-fan trolls have nothing to say, except to expound their notion that "science" is whatever some official, conventional body declares it to be. In that case, "science" becomes basically a matter of kowtowing to arbitrary authority, rather than truth-seeking. -Jim Sherwood)

Friday, October 17, 2008 4:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> I was talking about balance on science standards committees, doofus, not about balance in science classes. <

I see. So you are recommending mixing science and superstition on the standards committees?

>>>>> Would somebody please explain to me why discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory is a superstitious exercise? <<<<<<

> Don't ask somebody, ask ViU -- it was his idea. <

Another one with a reading comprehension problem! People can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific theory as far as I am concerned. What does that have to do with including superstition along with science?

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

A "superstitious exercise" is defined by Darwin-addicts as any process that might weaken blind faith in their arbitrary dogma that all life must somehow have emerged by perfectly mindless, mechanical processes. So discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism is superstitious, according to them. Since the arbitrary dogma in question is backed by no good evidence, therefore it must be declared to be Officially Forbidden to question it. Clear enough?

Friday, October 17, 2008 5:29:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

jim said,
>>>>>> when said "weaknesses" stem largely from evolution's contradiction with the first book of a religious text, <<<<<<<

Religious texts don't discuss irreducible complexity, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, co-evolution of obligate mutualism, etc..

'Nonymous said...
>>>>> Why does every member of a state science-standards committee have to believe in science? (What a concept!) <<<<<<

Someone needs to be the devil's advocate -- the Darwinists are so focused on defending Darwinism that they can't see the forest for the trees. Teaching scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of Darwinism is pro-science -- it encourages critical thinking, helps students learn the material, and increases student interest. Suppressing scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of Darwinism is anti-science and anti-intellectual. With only dogmatic Darwinist crackpots as members, these science standards committees turn into Darwinist love-fests that come up with cockamamie ideas like calling evolution "the fundamental concept underlying all of biology," misdefining scientific theories as being "well-supported" and "widely accepted" by definition, and removing "strengths and weaknesses" language so that technically sophisticated criticisms of Darwinism are taught by unqualified people.

Definitions of "process service": (1) serving a process cheese sandwich in a restaurant; (2) the delivery of a court summons for a lawsuit charging that a state's science standards are misleading because the common everyday meaning of "theory" is different from the scientific meaning.

Friday, October 17, 2008 6:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Someone needs to be the devil's advocate <

But the Devil's advocate doesn't have to be totally ignorant. That defeats the purpose.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 6:57:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> But the Devil's advocate doesn't have to be totally ignorant. That defeats the purpose. <<<<<<

Wrong -- the purpose is defeated only if the Devil's advocate knows everything.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So teaching pseudoscience is 'pro-science'?

I think you really need to get your medication checked, Larry.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> So teaching pseudoscience is 'pro-science'? <<<<<<

Yes. Teaching pseudoscience broadens students' education, encourages critical thinking, helps students learn the material, and increases student interest. For example, I think that the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not a valid criticism of evolution, but analyzing the SLoT as a criticism of evolution would be a valuable educational exercise for students. Also, some of the criticisms of evolution are so technically sophisticated that they can be properly taught only by qualified science teachers.

>>>>>> I think you really need to get your medication checked, Larry. <<<<<<

I think you really need to be medicated by lethal injection to protect you and others from the consequences of your stupidity.

Saturday, October 18, 2008 1:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Yes. Teaching pseudoscience broadens students' education, encourages critical thinking, helps students learn the material, and increases student interest. <

So the flat earth theory should be taught in geography classes.

(Please don't get confused with the irrelevant discussion about who did and didn't believe in a flat earth.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008 9:47:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> So the flat earth theory should be taught in geography classes. <<<<<<

A typical ViU straw man. I think that despite my no censorship policy, I should censor such stupid comments because people may think that no visitors would post such stupid comments and that I posted them myself to try to discredit the opposition.

I examined all the proposed Texas science standards for grades K-12 and there was no mention of round-earth theory, so the issues of teaching "strengths and weaknesses," "teaching the controversy," etc. in regard to round-earth theory are irrelevant in regard to the Texas science standards. However, IMO it would be a good idea to tell or ask students about how we know the earth is round. I may make that suggestion in the comments that I submit to the Texas Education Agency.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 2:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Hector said...

> I should censor such stupid comments because people may think that no visitors would post such stupid comments and that I posted them myself to try to discredit the opposition. <

Many believe that Larry is a straw man maintained by the Darwinists to discredit the opposition. As far as your "no-censorship policy", you have already shown that it doesn't exist. You just declare anything you can't answer to be "personal gossip".

> I examined all the proposed Texas science standards for grades K-12 and there was no mention of round-earth theory <

ViU was right in his disclaimer. I thought that he was just being sarcastic, but you actually were dumb enough to comment on it.

> IMO it would be a good idea to tell or ask students about how we know the earth is round. I may make that suggestion in the comments that I submit to the Texas Education Agency. <

Make the suggestion early in your comments so the Texas Education Agency knows that it would be a waste of time to read further.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 7:51:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Hectoring Hector barfed,
>>>>>> I examined all the proposed Texas science standards for grades K-12 and there was no mention of round-earth theory <

ViU was right in his disclaimer. I thought that he was just being sarcastic, but you actually were dumb enough to comment on it. <<<<<<<

So you call me dumb if I answer questions and you call me dumb if I don't answer questions, you lousy dunghill.

>>>>>> IMO it would be a good idea to tell or ask students about how we know the earth is round. I may make that suggestion in the comments that I submit to the Texas Education Agency. <

Make the suggestion early in your comments so the Texas Education Agency knows that it would be a waste of time to read further. <<<<<<<

If it is so obvious that the earth is round, dunghill, then why did people in the Middle Ages believe -- according to you -- that the earth is flat?

Actually, I think it is a very good idea to ask students how people in the Middle Ages -- as well as the ancient Greeks -- knew that the earth is round. Obviously, viewing the earth from outer space is not an answer. Some ways: seeing objects disappear below the horizon and observing the different positions of celestial objects at different latitudes. This would also be an excellent opportunity to inform students that the myth that people of the Middle Ages believed that the earth is flat was promoted by stupid, ignorant Darwinists in an effort to discredit criticism of Darwinism. I wish to thank ViU for this excellent idea!

Sunday, October 19, 2008 9:48:00 AM  
Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

Any idiot can see that the Earth is flat.

Sunday, October 19, 2008 10:10:00 AM  

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