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.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Op-ed says Texas school board should not kowtow to Darwinist biologists

An Austin-American Statesman op-ed titled "Don't automatically defer to biologists when it comes to curriculum" says,

. . . . biologists still . . . . have not established a persuasive educational argument as to why religion should be banned from discussions of science . . . .

. . . . Many questions remain unanswered by the biologists who seem most interested in trying to control curriculum. Why do biologists assume they are experts in curriculum when they are not? Why are biologists afraid to broach the exciting intellectual problems surrounding the relationship between faith and science? Why not discuss the history of biology as a discipline and how the field's approach to this problem has evolved over time? Why not discuss with students why biologists tend to operate within a naturalistic framework, including the benefits and limitations of the framework?

Establishment clause considerations aside, IMO religion should not be an official part of public-school science curricula -- with the exception of evolution disclaimer statements -- because (1) some teachers and students might feel uncomfortable dealing with religion in a science class and (2) teaching religion in a science class could degenerate into sectarian proselytization. However, the issue here is not just science v. religion, because some scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms (or weaknesses) of evolution are not religious at all. Teaching scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution serves the bona fide secular purposes of broadening students' education, encouraging critical thinking, helping students learn the material, and increasing student interest. Also, some scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution -- e.g., criticisms concerning (1) the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and (2) the genetics of propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction -- are so technically sophisticated that they can be properly taught only by qualified science teachers and should not be taught by laypeople, e.g, typical parents and typical non-science schoolteachers. This stuff is not just "poof"-type creationism.

The op-ed says,

Until these questions are addressed persuasively by biologists, state leaders need to look to a broad range of university specialists to find the leadership necessary to provide a well-rounded, liberating education to all Texas students.

On one point I certainly agree with the op-ed: the Texas board of education should not kowtow to dogmatic Darwinist scientists, who have their own ax to grind. And as I remember, the last time a government deferred to Darwinist scientists' opinions as to what is best for society was when the Nazis put people in concentration camps, gas chambers, and crematorium ovens.
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6 Comments:

Anonymous Dr. Sanford Aranoff said...

The science of biology includes evolution. If you teach that God started life, then you are not teaching science. Believe what you want, but please do not mix science and religion.

When teaching, we must focus on the basic principles. See "Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better" on amazon.

Thursday, October 09, 2008 5:27:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> The science of biology includes evolution. If you teach that God started life, then you are not teaching science. Believe what you want, but please do not mix science and religion. <<<<<<

Did you read my post? I did not oppose teaching evolution and I opposed teaching religion in public-school science classes.

Thursday, October 09, 2008 5:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice in the Urbanness said...

> Why not discuss the history of biology as a discipline and how the field's approach to this problem has evolved over time? <

That would be fine in a history of science class just as creationism and ID would be O.K. in a mythology class.

> I opposed teaching religion in public-school science classes. <

False. You have wanted to include ID in science classes.

Friday, October 10, 2008 2:30:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> Why not discuss the history of biology as a discipline and how the field's approach to this problem has evolved over time? <<<<<<

This is a quote of the op-ed, not me. When you are not quoting me, please say so.

>>>>>> That would be fine in a history of science class <<<<<<<

It is not practical to have a whole separate course to cover a short subject. Also, if such a course is an elective, a lot of students will not be exposed to the material. If it is constitutional to teach something in public schools, it should be OK to teach it in any course. You Darwinists have this funny idea that there is something sacrosanct about science courses and that discussing criticisms of evolution in them is taboo.

>>>>>> creationism and ID would be O.K. in a mythology class. <<<<<<<

As I have said a zillion times, some scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms (or weaknesses) of evolution are so technically sophisticated that they can be properly taught only by qualified science teachers.

Just working on this blog has shown me that studying scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution is very educational! For example, in studying co-evolution, I have learned about buzz pollination, orchid mimicry of sexual pheromones of wasps, and extremely complex parasitic relationships, including some parasitic relationships with multiple hosts. For articles about co-evolution, click on the "Non-ID criticisms of evolution" post label in the sidebar of the home page. Proposals to avoid study of criticisms of evolution are extremely ant-intellectual.

Friday, October 10, 2008 6:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> It is not practical to have a whole separate course to cover a short subject. <

If it is not important enough to be included in a general history course, perhaps the students' time should not be wasted on it. Certainly it should not be clogging up a science course. It is not science.

> Also, if such a course is an elective, a lot of students will not be exposed to the material. <

Few students are introduced to the literature of Cambodia which is equally important.

> Just working on this blog has shown me that studying scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution is very educational! <

It is a shame that you have understood so little of what you have read.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 6:11:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

>>>>>> It is not practical to have a whole separate course to cover a short subject. <

If it is not important enough to be included in a general history course, perhaps the students' time should not be wasted on it. <<<<<<<

But there would still be the problem of scientific and pseudoscientific ideas being taught by unqualified teachers. Also, if the history of science were added to high school history courses, it would be necessary to use supplementary instructional material -- regular history textbooks do not cover the history of science in detail or as a separate subject.

You Darwinists have presented no sensible reasons why the history of science should not be taught where it belongs -- in science courses.

>>>>>> Few students are introduced to the literature of Cambodia which is equally important. <<<<<<

A typical Darwinist straw-man argument. And the history of science is much more important to know than the literature of Cambodia.

>>>>> It is a shame that you have understood so little of what you have read. <<<<<<

Most of my ideas about co-evolution are my own, doofus -- and they are far better than any ideas that you will ever come up with.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 6:35:00 PM  

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