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.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The clueless National Center for Science Education

A news article by the National Center for Science Education says,

A section describing survey results about the American public's beliefs about evolution and the Big Bang was removed from the 2010 edition of Science and Engineering Indicators. According to a post on the AAAS's Science Insider blog (April 8, 2010) and a subsequent report in Science (April 9, 2010; subscription required), although survey results about evolution and the Big Bang have regularly appeared in the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators, its biennial compilation of global data about science, engineering, and technology, they were absent from the 2010 edition.

NCSE's Joshua Rosenau decried the decision, saying, "Discussing American science literacy without mentioning evolution is intellectual malpractice ... It downplays the controversy." . . .

. . . . . Officials at the National Science Board defended the decision. Louis Lanzerrotti, chair of the board's Science and Engineering Indicators committee, told Science that the questions were "flawed indicators of science knowledge because the responses conflated knowledge and beliefs."

"Responses conflated knowledge and belief"? "Belief" probably refers to religious belief. Another commenter said,

George Bishop, a political scientist at the University of Cincinnati who is familiar with the difficulties of polling about evolution, regarded that position as defensible, explaining, "Because of biblical traditions in American culture, that question is really a measure of belief, not knowledge."

Many people have the misconception that "belief" is defined as being religious only.

If the survey had only partly concerned the evolution v. religion issue, the survey probably would not have been deleted from the report, because the title of the report is very general, "Science and Engineering Indicators." Those who decided to delete the survey from the report probably assumed that the survey was only about religion (that's still not a good reason to delete it, but I am only trying to guess these people's thinking). And guess who is one of the biggest promoters of the idea that all opposition to evolution is religious? The NCSE. NCSE's Director Eugenie Scott said, "antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition," and NCSE "Faith Project Director" Peter Hess even went so far as to call opposition to evolution "blasphemous."

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13 Comments:

Blogger Whateverman said...

I think I too am a bit disappointed that the questions/data were omitted from the survey. While it shouldn't have been allowed to turn the survey into a referendum on creationism, the number of people who reject the ToE over biblical creationism certainly IS pertinent in regards to scientific indicators.

However, I take issue with an implication at the end of your post: And guess who is one of the biggest promoters of the idea that all opposition to evolution is religious?

The vast majority of opposition to the theory of evolution IS, in fact, religious. This statement needs no advocation, nor is someone who does advocate it promoting ideas in an effort to get them accepted.

Opposition to the ToE is religious and little else.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 5:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Alkabo said...

If the question is scientific literacy, why would attitudes or beliefs about unscientific things be relevant?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 7:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

There are many scientists and others who understand the evolutionary theory or hypothesis which has long been properly called Darwinism, but see no good reason to believe in it. Most of us who are now intelligent design proponents formerly believed in Darwinism, but abandoned the Darwinist faith when it was shown to clash rather harshly with many biological facts, and to be supported by no good evidence. Darwinism cannot be considered to be any sort of real science. Real science is thoroughly confirmed by replicable experiments; the Darwinist doctrine is not.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 1:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

Biochemist Michael Behe, a leading intelligent design scientist, was a longtime believer in Darwinist evolutionary theory, until he found scientific evidence that called that theory strikingly into doubt. Behe is a Roman Catholic, and most leading Catholics have believed in the (Darwinist) theory of evolution at least since the 1950's. So if Behe has any religious bias, it has always been in a Darwinist direction.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:46:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Whateverman said,

>>>>>>>However, I take issue with an implication at the end of your post: And guess who is one of the biggest promoters of the idea that all opposition to evolution is religious?

The vast majority of opposition to the theory of evolution IS, in fact, religious. <<<<<<

Eugenie Scott said "uniformly," not the "vast majority" -- she said, "antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition."

These four blog articles show that Eugenie Scott is so full of living crap that it is coming out of her ears.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 5:26:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Alkabo said...

>>>>>> If the question is scientific literacy, why would attitudes or beliefs about unscientific things be relevant? <<<<<<

The question is not just "scientific literacy" -- as I said, the title of the report, "Science and Engineering Indicators," is very general. The title covers all kinds of things: scientific things, unscientific things, religious things, irreligious things, philosophical things, etc..

Thursday, April 15, 2010 5:32:00 PM  
Blogger Jim Sherwood said...

One can understand what the doctrine of the evolution of all life by chance and natural selection (or Darwinism) is, without believing it to be true. And believing Darwinism to be verifiable science, is in reality a form of ignorance or delusion, not a form of "scientific literacy." If more people understood what the Darwinist doctrine actually says, fewer would believe in it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger Whateverman said...

Larry farfarman wrote the following to me: Eugenie Scott said "uniformly," not the "vast majority" -- she said, "antievolutionism is uniformly the product of religious opposition."

The "vast majority" bit was mine, as I could not possibly show that opposition to the ToE is uniformly religious. With that said, can you show me a single critic who's NOT arguing the validity of religious beliefs over the theory?

In any case, I doubt that you were taking Eugenie Scott to task for such a minor gaffe as using "uniformly" where "vast majority" would have been more appropriate. If you had been, your criticism would have been more even toned; the gaffe in question was significant but relatively minor in the context of the general argument (ie. opposition IS religious).

Instead, you seem to have a general axe to grind against Eugenie. If so, then trying to portray your disagreement with her here as a semantic issue would be dishonest.

Friday, April 16, 2010 5:10:00 AM  
Blogger Whateverman said...

I'll simplify my last comment: can you please show me/us that there's a significant opposition to the theory of evolution that isn't religiously based?

Sure, the word "significant" is subjective, so I'll try to be open-minded in regards to scale (ie. is it significant or not).

Friday, April 16, 2010 5:16:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Whateverman said,

>>>>>> I doubt that you were taking Eugenie Scott to task for such a minor gaffe as using "uniformly" where "vast majority" would have been more appropriate. <<<<<<

It was not a gaffe. As one of the four blog posts that I linked to noted, she said on another occasion, "If you reject evolution, you are doing it for religious reasons."

>>>>>> the gaffe in question was significant but relatively minor in the context of the general argument (ie. opposition IS religious). <<<<<<

You are really talking through your hat: first you defended Eugenie Scott by claiming that she did not really mean to say that all opposition to evolution is religious, then you said that all opposition to evolution IS religious.

>>>>> can you show me a single critic who's NOT arguing the validity of religious beliefs over the theory? <<<<<<

Well, there's me -- see my discussions about co-evolution in my two post-label groups (see left sidebar of home page) titled "non-ID criticisms of evolution."

Friday, April 16, 2010 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Whateverman said...

Larry Fafarman wrote the following to me: You are really talking through your hat: first you defended Eugenie Scott by claiming that she did not really mean to say that all opposition to evolution is religious,

No Larry, what I implied was that she should not have said it, as it cant be verified.


then you said that all opposition to evolution IS religious.

No Larry, I said "opposition IS religious". Nowhere did I use the word "all".

I wrote: can you show me a single critic who's NOT arguing the validity of religious beliefs over the theory?

Larry responded: Well, there's me.

Fair enough; I should have chosen my words more carefully. I'm looking for critics who can seriously discuss the theory of evolution from a scientific standpoint. You and I can question ideas without having any authority on the matter, but that criticism is largely insignificant.

The theory of evolution is objective and testable, so to sit around and philosophize about its validity without actually discrediting the theory is nothing more than mental masturbation. Give me a critic who can show objectively that the theory is wrong.

Friday, April 16, 2010 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Whateverman said...

>>>>>>Larry Fafarman wrote the following to me: You are really talking through your hat: first you defended Eugenie Scott by claiming that she did not really mean to say that all opposition to evolution is religious,

No Larry, what I implied was that she should not have said it, as it cant be verified. >>>>>>

What in the hell do you mean, "it can't be verified"? On at least two occasions, she was quoted verbatim as saying it.

>>>>>then you said that all opposition to evolution IS religious.

No Larry, I said "opposition IS religious". Nowhere did I use the word "all".<<<<<<

Saying that "opposition to evolution IS religious" implies that "all" opposition is religious -- I merely added "all" for emphasis. Make up your mind -- is all opposition to evolution religious, or not?

>>>>> You and I can question ideas without having any authority on the matter, but that criticism is largely insignificant. <<<<<<

Well, if you think that our opinions are insignificant, then I have no interest in discussing anything with you.

Friday, April 16, 2010 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Whateverman said...

Larry wrote the following to me: Saying that "opposition to evolution IS religious" implies that "all" opposition is religious -- I merely added "all" for emphasis.

No, it does NOT imply anything of the sort. For you to add the word "all" and THEN to demand that I justify use of the word "all" is pure asshattery.

Learn to read. I said the opposition is religious; this does not preclude scientific opposition.


Make up your mind -- is all opposition to evolution religious, or not?

I've never equivocated; again, please learn to read before responding. I don't know whether all opposition is religious or not. The vast majority of it appears to be, and I am unaware of the theory being called into question by peer scientists.

Armchair skepticism, especially when the critics are unwilling to address the theory empirically, is feckless and therefore insignificant.

Sunday, April 18, 2010 7:24:00 AM  

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