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  • UNINTELLIGENT SCHOOL BOARD

    Filed at 10:10 am under by dcobranchi

    The ACLU is suing the Dover (PA) School Board to stop the teaching of “Intelligent Design” in the local g-schools. With public comments like this, I don’t think the Board has a prayer:

    “Two thousand years ago, someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”

    If there were any doubts that ID was just providing cover for teaching religion in the schools, that should pretty much settle the matter.

    19 Responses to “UNINTELLIGENT SCHOOL BOARD”


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 15th, 2004
    at 7:27 pm

    I don’t think that comment discredits ID. It just indicates that there are folks with religious beliefs that find ID compatible or supportive of them. Likewise, Darwinian evolution has spawned a sub-culture of Darwinists that are equally in the dark regarding scientific processes. There are many more folks like that on school boards than the person quoted here. (my opinion)

    Let’s see… what did Richard Dawkins say about Darwinian evolution.. “it allows one to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

    Personally, I’d just like to see evolution taught less dogmatically. More specifically, I’d like schools to remove the naturalistic speculations regarding origins (of life and species and…) that are not well supported (or supported in any sense) by evidence or experimentation.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    December 16th, 2004
    at 10:20 am

    “Likewise, Darwinian evolution has spawned a sub-culture of Darwinists that are equally in the dark regarding scientific processes.”

    Then the answer is not downplaying GOOD science and advancing noncritical acceptance of faith (=belief without evidence), is it?

    “I’d like schools to remove the naturalistic speculations regarding origins (of life and species and…) that are not well supported (or supported in any sense) by evidence or experimentation.”

    And which “speculations” might those be?


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 17th, 2004
    at 12:01 am

    Thank you for your comments – I appreciate the opportunity to clarify my thoughts on the matter.

    Re examples, there are many. – In fact most of the examples of evolution that are cited in secondary textbooks are incorrect or misleading to some degree. Regarding pre-biotic evolution, there are references to orgin of life experiments that Stanley Miller conducted in the 1950’s. Most textbooks cite his results and then extrapolate that life began in some similar manner. To me, that is one example of naturalistic speculation. One could take the same data and speculate from a creationist perspective. (his results aren’t convincing given all that we know today. 50 years of additional research hasn’t come up with any additional breakthroughs that I am aware of, which is probably why the books refer to Miller’s experiments. They suggest that if he could synthesize some amino acids 50 years ago, imagine what science can do now!

    Thomas Kuhn discusses this sort of scientific bias at length in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

    Scientists have observed minor examples of evolution in the lab, which is probably why we hear the statement, “The fact of evolution, amen.” On the other hand, the sort of evolution that has been observed involves the loss of genetic inf0rmation, the selection of existing genetic inf0rmation, or mutations that would be selected out of otherwise healthy populations. Are you aware of a biological mechanism that can create new, useful genetic inf0rmation? I am not, and until one is discovered, textbooks need to be careful when they speculate that such a mechanism exists. The shame is when they assert that natural selection is that mechanism.

    Biology textbooks will sometimes present experimental results that are known to be false, or not correct these errors in subsequent printings even when they are pointed out. J. Wells has documented many of these in his book “Icons of Evolution”, and I have confirmed a few myself out of curiousity. In my daughter’s college Biology text, there is a picture of a fruit fly with an extra pair of wings. The book claims that the extra wings are fully functional, and then makes a number of speculative comments regarding the creative power of natural selection/random mutation. But, it turns out that the extra pair of wings are not functional at all.

    I offer to anyone interested to send me a high school biology textbook from their friendly neighborhood public school, and I will review it and return to them their book along with a list of fallacies, speculations, errors of fact, and examples of religious statements (e.g., materialism).

    So, my request to the schools/book publishers is to clean up the examples, remove the materialist dogma, and just present the good science that has been done. More importantly, schools need to do a better job teaching what the scientific method is, what its limits are, and make it very clear that what science says is always tentative.


    Comment by
    Anonymous
    December 17th, 2004
    at 11:24 am

    “Are you aware of a biological mechanism that can create new, useful genetic inf0rmation? I am not…”

    Yes, I am, and you are sadly behindhand on the available literature, probably because you choose not to read things that are poor fits with your spiritualist dogma. (The only “materialist dogma” I know of is a strict insistence that only reality is real.)


    Comment by
    speedwell
    December 17th, 2004
    at 11:27 am

    Furthermore, I will not argue this in Daryl’s comment section anymore because I am getting plenty PO’d. I always post with my legitimate e-mail address and you may contact me there if you’re interested in being badgered further.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 17th, 2004
    at 2:57 pm

    I’ll take you up on your offer – but remember, my concern is how evolution is being taught in the public schools.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 17th, 2004
    at 6:41 pm

    Here’s (IMHO) a very nice commentary on the situation that my daily google search pulled up:

    roanok...0.html

    I love the following quote: “Far from being a “principle supported by the known evidence,” however, macroevolution is, as biochemist Michael Denton put it, a theory in crisis. The evidence Charles Darwin assumed would appear to support his theory hasn’t turned up, and, whether willing to admit it publicly or not, many scientists have come to doubt that Darwin’s theory is sufficient to account for the diversity of life forms.”

    Speedwell is like many that I have dialogued with. They get angry, they employ ad-hominem arguments, and they throw out red-herrings. I’m interested in what he’ll send me privately, and certainly will consider his comments if they address the issues.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    December 17th, 2004
    at 7:03 pm

    That’s funny. I’ve always thought of speedwell as female (possibly because most H&OES are). One of us is bound to be correct.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 17th, 2004
    at 8:11 pm

    Oops – I think you are right. If I goofed, I apologize!


    Comment by
    Allen Williams
    December 19th, 2004
    at 12:31 pm

    The facts and evidence simply don’t support Darwin’s evolutionary or any of the post ‘D’ models either. We learn that Haekel’s diagrams are a fraud.

    Kettlewell’s moths, Biston Biculara, don’t light on trees, white & black populations changed as a function of birds’s abilities to discern them when pollution cleared in Britain.

    Darwin’s Galopogos island finches are one species not nine as darwin claimed. Extinction is the rule for species based on the 3rd law of thermo, i.e. entropy.

    Halton Arp has found discrepancies in ‘red shift’ phenomena that suggest Hubble’s velocity law is invalid, or ‘poof’ goes the big bang!

    How many ways and how many times does something have to be discredited for you to get it? Teaching things that evidence doesn’t support is called propaganda, not science, learn about it.

    The fact that real world evidence supports religion’s claims doesn’t make it any less scientific because you believe something different or because you want it to be that way.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    December 19th, 2004
    at 12:36 pm

    So the Earth is really 10,000 years old? *Snort*


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 19th, 2004
    at 4:25 pm

    Allen brings up many good points – the claims of evolutionists exceed the evidence, and they use propaganda techniques to promote them. Even more disturbing is that many of the best examples are later found to be flawed. Sometimes, significantly.

    Instead of acknowledging that yes, our children are being taught evolution in an uncritical dogmatic fashion, evolutionists avoid the question and resort to ad-hominem attacks. And that is certainly not science.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    December 19th, 2004
    at 5:33 pm

    Give me a break. The red shift is wrong? Uranium decays at different rates over time? There is so much evidence that the universe and the Earth are billions of years old that it is laughable. And the Third Law is the biggest red herring of all. Creationists love to throw that one out to “prove” that evolution is unscientific. Bullshit! The Third Law simply stated is that the entropy of the universe tends towards a maximum. The UNIVERSE!!! A local increase in entropy is eminently possible. In fact, chemistry (and life) depend on it. Delta G = Delta H – T Delta S. So, even spontaneous chemical reactions can overcome a negative Delta S given a large output of energy. What happens to that emitted energy? It is dispersed into the universe, increasing its entropy.

    Is evolutionary theory perfect? No. What is? Is it scientific? Yes. Absolutely. Unlike ID. If you want to believe in ID or creationism on pure faith, fine. No one is stopping you or anyone else. Just don’t call it science. And don’t try to teach it as science.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 19th, 2004
    at 8:10 pm

    I agree – but he made some good points too. (Finches, Moths) And, the fossil record really does demonstrate statis followed by extinction.

    The evolution/ID debate is a great stage to demonstrate what science and the scientific method are. Science is always tentative, especially with respect to origins. The value of a scientific theory rests in the reliability of its predictions and observed outcomes. In that regard, evolution is a weak theory (at its boundaries), unlike quantum mechanics, for example that has (to my knowledge) never been contradicted by scientific experiment.

    One day, the ID folks may have a body of work that warrants teaching in the schools – perhaps as a complement to current evolutionary teaching, or melded with it. I think that the probabilities of specific evolutionary events that they have calculated are worth sharing with kids with the appropriate caveats.

    Evolution and ID really aren’t incompatible given that evolutionists such as NCSE state the evolution is mute on origins. There are some great (and not so great) articles and essays at discovery.org, arn.org, and icr.org. I’m more of the bent of the “process structuralists” that strive to understand biological mechanisms in a scientific manner and avoide making philosophical claims that are not supported by experimentation.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 20th, 2004
    at 11:32 am

    The third law debate is ultimately a red-herring.

    Here’s the equation that the biology textbooks infer in their treatment of evolution and origins:

    Energy + Time + Primordial Soup = Life

    Otherwise known as goo to you.

    If you want to believe that, fine. But that (so far) requires faith. Its not backed up by science, AFAIK. Most of the work that has been done in this area – e.g. chaos theory, is also pretty immature, and to some extent closely related to the work being done by ID folks. Its just that they both start from different premises and assumptions about reality. Personally, I find the ID work to be more intellectually honest than say the work done by Richard Dawkins (biomorphs anyone?) or going back a bit, Douglas Hofstadter.

    BTW – I’m still waiting for speedwell’s inputs. My email is w_public@cox.net.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 20th, 2004
    at 11:42 am

    The other major hypothesis coming from the evolutionists is that there is some (currently unknown) mechanism responsible for the creation of new genetic inf0rmation.

    Many mainstream biologists now doubt that random mutation and natural selection is the mechanism. RMNS has not demonstrated any creative ability. (This is paraphrased from my daughter’s mainstream college biology text book…)

    Keep in mind that DNA consists of instructions for building proteins. At another level, there are instructions for which proteins to build and in what order. Finally, there are mechanisms for assembling proteins into biological machines such as the flagella. Supporting this are error checking and correcting capabilities to make sure that nothing goes wrong.

    There is no experimental data that comes close to explaining a naturalistic orgin for these fundamental mechanisms.

    This closely relates to how computer software is structured. When a group of software engineers create a family of programs, there is quite a bit of shared “DNA” – why rewrite the class for a string, for example?

    Let the name calling begin…


    Comment by
    speedwell
    December 22nd, 2004
    at 10:54 am

    I never received a letter of any kind from Dave. Maybe my spam filter got it.

    I was sorta hoping that Dave would try to do some reading for himself, but obviously the ignorant cuss doesn’t want to waste his precious time on heresy.

    Well, Dave, Google “nylonase evolution,” for starters, and try reading talkorigins.com, if you’re not too chicken.


    Comment by
    Dave
    December 26th, 2004
    at 6:03 pm

    That’s interesting – thanks. I’ve written assembly language programs, and am familiar with what happens when an opcode or data is inserted inadvertently into the program. Usually, disaster, but in some cases, some interesting behavior emerges. Not necessarily useful, but interesting. That seems to be the case with the enzyme that can catalyze nylon, however inefficiently. (compared to other cellular enzymes that are incredibly efficient)

    So, regarding the bigger questions regarding evolution, Is there experimental evidence that “frame shift” mutations (or any other natural mechanism) can account for the origin of something more complex than a single protein?

    In my review of this particular example, (and associated links) I found no compelling answer to that question. Think of it this way – I can take existing inf0rmation, say the word FLOG, (which is likely what speedwell would like to have done to me) and by reversing the letters, create new inf0rmation. In this case, the word GOLF. (which is probably what I should be doing right now…) But, could such a mechanism be used to take something like speedwell’s posts and translate them into mine, with each transitional form making sense?

    I doubt it, and so do many scientists and mathmaticians. Anyway, the onus is on folks like speedwell to do the experiments that support the predictions of their theory. With evolution, we have the unusual situation where the evolutionists say their theory is true by definition and that others need to show that it is not true. (Please read Darwin’s Origin of Species – his rhetoric is brilliant, but not scientific) Worse, they resort to hand waving, and name calling, etc to avoid answering the questions at hand. There are many examples of this, one I like is the censorhip of Michael Behe at Emmaus High School, in Pennsylvania a couple of years back.

    As far as talkorigins goes, the S/N ratio is very low at that site, many of the posters are like speedwell, but having said that, there are some good resources there.


    Comment by
    dave
    December 26th, 2004
    at 6:04 pm

    Like I posted earlier, my email address is w_public@cox.net.