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Mixed Outcome of Texas Textbook Vote

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the compromising-on-established-mainstream-science dept.

Education 646

The Texas Board of Education — as discussed here last week — has voted on the guidelines for textbooks in that state, which represents a large enough market to have influence nationwide. The good news is that the board dropped a 20-year-old requirement that both "strengths and weaknesses" of all scientific theories be taught; score one for the teaching of evolution. The not-so-good news is that in a "compromise," the board also voted to require that students "in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations ... including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student." Score one for the Discovery Institute. A Republican board member explained that the words "strengths and weaknesses" have become "code for creationism and [the similar theory of] intelligent design. So by being more clear in the language and using words that aren't seen as code words, we were able to get all of the 15 board members to agree that this is how we'll teach all sides of scientific explanation, using scientific evidence." Reporting on the Texas vote is all over the map, as a US Today blog summarizes. Some reports claim that an amendment was passed that preserves a requirement that students study the "sufficiency or insufficiency" of common ancestry and natural selection. Other reports claim that the board also adopted language that would have students study the "different views on the existence of global warming."

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not-so-good? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383753)

The not-so-good news is that in a "compromise," the board also voted to require that students "in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations... including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student."

How is this not-so-good news?

Tag Article Just Like My Name! KDAWSONSUCKS (1)

KDAWSON sucks (1165799) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383769)

KDAWSON, get a life. Or commit suicide. It would be better for you and better for the rest of us.

Hackers. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384157)

Was the best movie of all time.

Re:not-so-good? (3, Insightful)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383785)

It sounds as though they're assuming that creationism/intelligent design have scientific evidence.

Re:not-so-good? (4, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383869)

Does the Texas law include a legal definition of "scientific evidence"? If not, then the creationists can quite easily claim to be doing "science" under their definition of the term. And it's probably going to be hard to find a Texas judge whose legal training included techniques for deciding scientific issues.

Re:not-so-good? (5, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383943)

Judges are not supposed to know everything - they only need to know who to ask.

Re:not-so-good? (4, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384123)

BING BING BING -- we have a winner. The wording was changed just enough to stop argument and allow further plundering of science education by those who 'claim' to meet the criteria for course material via 'scientific evidence'....

I live in Texas and I have to tell you that the news that makes national and world headlines from this state is never good... outside that one press release on the invention of breast augmentation. When it comes to science and the law, most people here are not really in the slot of sharp knives in the flatware drawer.

Think about it clearly: the simple fact that this is an ongoing news-making argument means that they just don't get it and will have left a back door for ID and creationism to creep it's way into school curriculum, either directly or through the school's 'emphasis' on what is said in class.

I can tell you that I'm fully frustrated that this is even being discussed. Religion belongs in some other class, not science class. The bible is not evidence. If it was then clips like this [kickyoutube.com] would be banned, and not as funny as this really is.

The whole argument about creation in the science class is disgusting. Disgusting as anything I can think of. Fscking morons.

Re:not-so-good? (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384217)

I feel your pain, bro. But look at the bright side - at least you're not in Louisiana. [arstechnica.com]

Re:not-so-good? (4, Insightful)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383815)

I agree with the "how is this not-go-good news?"

Good Science is all about putting science theory and practice under scrutiny and peer review. This promotes proper investigation and revision and kills-off Bad Science through attrition.

Re:not-so-good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383921)

lol "not go-good news" misquote...

ta-ta-ta-TODAAYYY JUNIOR!

Re:not-so-good? (2, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383923)

Putting science theory to the test is all well and good when it is scientists that are involved in weighing the evidence to see what fits and what doesn't.

With "intelligent design", you have theologians trying to make scientific decisions.

It doesn't work.

Re:not-so-good? (-1, Flamebait)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384009)

Putting theological doctrine to the test is all well and good when it is theologians that are involved in weighing the evidence to see what fits and what doesn't.

With the theory of evolution, you have scientists trying to make theological decisions.

Re:not-so-good? (4, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384071)

No, its exactly the other way around. In the evolution controversy, we have theologians (or, rather, most of the time, preachers) trying to make scientific decisions.

Re:not-so-good? (2, Insightful)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384127)

I agree but having a litmus test to see who is qualified to talk about what subject isn't a good idea. While I think the evangelical movement is disturbing I don't think their views should be silenced. It is by argumentation and refutation that the public's understanding of scientific and philosophical matters is expanded.

Re:not-so-good? (3, Funny)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384081)

Putting theological doctrine to the test is all well and good when it is theologians that are involved in weighing the voodoo to see what fits and what doesn't.

Fixed that for ya.

Seriously, since when has religion been about evidence?

Faith is not sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la-la-la" so you don't hear thing that challenge your beliefs. If you want to cling to a literal interpretation of a document written by a primitive group of humans that wouldn't have understood even if God HAD tried to show them exactly how he made everything, go right ahead. Meanwhile, I'll be over here thinking of evolution as how I was created.

Re:not-so-good? (-1, Troll)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384177)

How is a scientist calling theological matters voodoo and different then preacher calling evolution BS? Both science and religion/faith/whatever serve a purpose in peoples lives. Why be so hostile. How is having confidence in an unproven scientific theory any different that having faith in god? How is the scientific any different than a religious ritual? Both are performed by anointed individuals according to prescribed methods.

Re:not-so-good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384135)

Biologists do not give a rattus' ass about theology. Yet preachers / creationists are railing against biology (evolution) all of the time.

Not exactly theologians, strictly speaking (1, Troll)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384169)

With "intelligent design", you have theologians trying to make scientific decisions.

Somehow when I first read this, it looked like you have hooligans trying to make scientific decisions. But then (in this context, at least) I guess that isn't very different anyway.

Cheers,

Foo on the other shoot: The Christan Gene (2, Funny)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384197)

Did anyone else see the recent breakthrough announced by gay scientist research group Pink Tiger, with their discover of the Christian gene? Fabulous send-up...

Gay Scientists Isolate Christianity Gene [thedailytube.com]

Cheers,

Re:not-so-good? (1)

DJLuc1d (1010987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383861)

Exactly. If this wasn't about Creationism vs. Evolution, this would be a law that every stat should follow. God forbid we expose students to both sides of an argument. But I do have to give it up to the evolution side, at least they don't need to mix words to say "We believe in Evolution"

Re:not-so-good? (4, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383881)

The problem is that many teachers aren't going to use that to engage in genuine critical thinking. They will use this as an excuse to bring up every single tired creationist saw which have been debunked hundreds of times over. Many teachers would likely do that anyways but this way they can do it in an approved fashion as long as they are a) minimally clever enough to disguise the creationist roots and b) intimidate children and parents into not complaining too much.

Re:not-so-good? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383929)

So because you think that people who endorse creation will attempt to use this as some sort of loophole through which they can slip in arguments that don't actually stand up to scientific scrutiny, you would rather that the currently accepted theory not be encouraged to be subjected to any further scrutiny than it already has been either?

Uhmmm.. wow. that's all I can say is just... wow. Talk about cutting of one's nose to spite their face.

Re:not-so-good? (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383979)

This is in the context of education not actual scientific discourse... school is not the place to establish what is the best science.

Re:not-so-good? (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384181)

If evolution is genuinely scientifically valid, it will stand under all possible scientific scrutiny anyways, even from those who might advocate alternative theories with no evidence. To discourage such scrutiny, simply out of fear that they might utilize the opportunity to push some religious agenda they actually have, even if this fear is completely well founded, is to strike down the very scientific method that enables us to discover more about the universe than what we already know.

Re:not-so-good? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383989)

It isn't an issue of thinking that. I know they will do that. They've been using almost identical language to accomplish the same goal (as described in the summary). The wording hasn't changed that much. Having children understand how the scientific method works is very important. But it is also important that we educate children in what theories have overwhelming evidence for them and that no one uses this as an excuse to distort the basic nature of reality or use it as an excuse to push their religion on others. That's a difficult balance to strike. Better wording would help make that balance.

Re:not-so-good? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384207)

It doesn't matter that you know they will do that. It is appalling, at least to me, that anyone with a scientific outlook would ever object to anybody scientifically scrutinizing an accepted theory, even if they did not believe that the person would actually do so. It is, as near as I can see, no better than some religions wherein only the highest ranking are allowed to examine and study certain aspects of their so-called sacred texts.

Re:not-so-good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383941)

I think something that you are missing here is this is guidelines for "textbooks" not for teaching. You can still teach however you want, I would suppose; just giving them reading assignments will be a bit more difficult than saying to turn to page 342 and read about creationism.

Re:not-so-good? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383931)

I really don't see a reason to be concerned with encouraging critical thinking or requiring the strengths and weaknesses with evolution. It is a theory and as far as theories go, it's a fairly weak one. We can use it for micro-evolutionary changes but macro-evolutionally changes are far from being supported. Pointing out it's flaw is the only responsible thing to do if we are truly educating students. We do that with all other theories and it doesn't seem to be an issue. Why here? Is the thought of God that annoying to the /. crowd?

Before the rant begins about the Jesus freak from the trailer, this is coming from a Christian degreed in particle physics and nuclear reactor design. In all that I've studied, I have to say science leads me towards God being real. Too many variables for life to exist without Him. I'm also not afraid to mix my science and my faith. Science just explains how He works. I do agree that the Church has historically done a very poor job of dealing with science. I can't find nor do I want to find a defense for the actions in the past. With that said, why have we now decided to ignore the historical social, economic, and scientific influences in public schools if they refer to God?

Science is the search for God's rule book.

Re:not-so-good? (2, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384049)

Science is about trying to understand how things work. If you have already decided that god exists then you are not doing proper science.

I don't understand how any reasonably intelligent person (and I take it that you are if you work in physics) can buy the micro vs marco evolution nonsense (akin to saying that people can walk a kilometre but walking a 100 kilometres is impossible!) - but I have seen plenty of otherwise intelligence people believe all sorts of silly things. Even such a tertiary source as wikipedia has all the information one would need to make the right conclusion, let alone all the primary sources that you as an educated person should be able to follow.

There is nothing wrong with pointing out flaws in a theory - but with evolution everyone trots out quite bizarre arguments against it (as you yourself have done) which anyone with a bit of thinking should be able to reject. Any actual scientific debates would be about some of quite complex and in depth aspects of the theory which would not be taught at school level.

Re:not-so-good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384141)

Thanks for the response. This is the poster you are replied to.

I don't think the macro-evolution debate is trivial at all. I think it is THE key flaw in the theory of evolution. We've told everyone that things adapt, sure, got it. Longer legs, run faster, escape predators. No problems on that.

Where we have problems are when we take a blob that can't see, hear, or feel and it magically decides that it needs to see when it has no concept of sight. Or that it needs to move from water to land and start breathing air instead of water. These are HUGE changes that evolution skips over writing it off as a simple mutation. I've seen mutation, this isn't it.

Think about the complexity of the eye and it's interaction with the brain. That in itself is enough to debunk evolution, as we have it now, as covering macro-evolution.

Now, is Biblical intelligent design correct? I doubt it but I'm open to the idea. It's worthy of mention in school but it doesn't have a scientific basis. The Bible is God's word but it was written by man that had no concept of what we know now. 10,000 might as well have been 7,000,000,000 years. Both are infinite numbers when referencing time to a persons lifetime and knowledge 5,000 years ago.

To clarify, I became a Christian after becoming a scientist. There are more of us than you think. Science aided me in accepting that there is a God. Coming to Christ is another story all together.

Again, thanks for your quality response.

science and god (1)

FranklinWebber (1307427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384201)

Cassius Corodes wrote:
>Science is about trying to understand how things
>work. If you have already decided that god
>exists then you are not doing proper science.

From your claim, and the fact that Isaac Newton was a Christian theologian and believed in God, it follows that Newton was not doing proper science. Do you agree with that conclusion?

Re:not-so-good? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384133)

Science doesn't explain how god works, it explains how the universe works. If the universe really only works simply because god said so, then one might logically infer that there is some aspect of god that is utterly unchanging over what we perceive of as time, since the principles that govern the universe's operation appear to us to be invariant.

Re:not-so-good? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384215)

How in the fuck did this get an "insightful"? This is the bullshit type of thinking that passes for "science" in the Creationist camp. As far as theories go, evolution is exceptionally STRONG. There's much more evidence for evolution than for string theory, or even black holes. You have to know the fucking theory before you can "point out holes". Hell, you can't even define the difference between "macro" and "micro" evolution. If you say "species", you're a fucking moron, because species classification REGULARLY change as more genetic information is discovered. Hell, I was just reading in National Geographic that they discovered that parrots and falcons are closer related than falcons are to eagles and hawks.

The thought of God is not annoying to the /. crowd... it's the tendency that the mentioning of God to turn off thought entirely that causes us consternation. And I use your post as evidence. Idiocy being spouted forth, trying to claim protection under the banner of "tolerance".

Re:not-so-good? (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383963)

Yeah, on the whole that seems good to me, if actually applied as written, rather than narrowly just to the evolution/creationism debate. One of the bigger things missing in science education is the idea of taking existing knowledge with a mixture of reliance and pervasive skepticism. You can't assume all previous science is wrong, but you also can't assume that every peer-reviewed paper you publish, or even widely held scientific consensus, is unassailable. (Of course, you must also know when you do or don't have sufficient evidence on your own side to assail it.)

As a nearing-finishing PhD student in science, probably one of the more educational parts of doing a PhD was learning a healthy skepticism of the peer-reviewed literature: there is a lot of outright crap published, even in prestigious journals, and you'd do well not to consider it a process that magically separates bad things (rejected) from gospel truth (published). On the other hand, things that have been consensus for decades, and have been replicated by multiple research groups using multiple methods, are less often wrong than recent discoveries where all the work has been done by a single group.

But, I will say that I'm somewhat uncertain this is what the resolution is intending to teach. Do Texas's legislators really want to promote a healthy sense of skeptical empiricism? It seems that if they're religious, they might actually not want that...

Re:not-so-good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383977)

I think there is a key point to which intelligent design theories can actually improve understanding of science. Allot of arguments that I have heard refuting ID actually are scientifically wrong. People try to defend science, but they end up treating science as a religion just as much as christians warship the bible (and science isn't a religion).

For example, claiming that lots of scientists believe in evolution, and use that as a refutation of ID is very bad science (its not scientific at all actually), yet, that's an argument often used.

Giant Spaghetti Monster theory is actually great science. Its an example of a hypothesis that has absolutely no scientific validity whatsoever, since it makes no predictions about natural reality. Yet it share many common traits with ID, and in fact, all the refutations of Spaghetti Monster theory also work against ID. So, if one can refute SMT, then one can reject ID as well.

Anyway, the point I was trying to get to was that if you teach people to understand science, rather than have faith in science, Intelligent Design theories, and other silly things will go away naturally.

Re:not-so-good? (1)

JuzzFunky (796384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384219)

"examining all sides of evidence"
and
"to encourage critical thinking by the student"
To me, that means students will be taught to make up their own minds rather than passivly accept whatever bullshit they're fed.
It is not possible to think critically about a book that claims absolute authority of truth.

Criticism [wikipedia.org] : (emphasis added) Criticism in terms of expectations means democratic judgment over the suitability of a subject for the intended purposes, as opposed to the authoritarian command, which is meant as an absolute realization of the authority's will, thus not open for debate.

Religion: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383765)

Q: Why was baby Jesus born in a manger?
A: Because the "virgin" Mary wanted to be close to the horse she was fucking. Incidentally, baby Jesus was born with a black eye.

Religious idiots are the most dangerous lunatics on the planet and there are an awful lot of them. It begins with mind control. They are taught to feel cognitive dissonance as well as guilt and shame for being human, then they project their filthy urges onto everybody else in orgies of zealous rage while they attempt to suppress knowledge and discovery. Religion is one giant thought-terminating cliche. Religious lunatics appear normal enough to be able to infiltrate the highest levels of government. The FBI in particular is composed of mostly Catholics and Mormons, some of the most batshit crazy of the Christians, and they believe that the laws of their religion override the laws of America.

The vast majority of religious tards have the infantile "my god is better than your god" mindset and they get hard-ons for envisioning atheists and heretics burning in hell. I propose the outlawing of public worship. Humans tend to be okay by themselves when left free to develop their own spirituality. However - they also believe that assembling into groups gives them free licenses to behave like assholes.

Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383773)

What's the problem with teaching sciences by presenting theory and showing how evidence supports it?

Pardon but... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383777)

Pardon me, but I fail to see how not teaching the weakness of a theory, whether it be evolution or gravity or special relativity, is a win for anyone?

Weakness of a theory (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384163)

Are the proponents of this move really concerned with science? Do they ever say "teach the controversy" about other subjects? Indeed, whatever the scientific problems (if any) that the theory of evolution has, would they (or the teachers) address them?

Sorry, but they're absolutely right (0, Troll)

ChuckSchwab (813568) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383781)

I hate to be the one to break it you all, but it's a cold, hard fact that evolution is basically just a theory at this point.

Or, to use the language of science, a conjecture.

It hasn't been proven and probably can't be proven, so students are right to learn about this weakness.

It's quite unscientific to quash dissenting views.

Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (4, Informative)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383819)

You are wrong. Maybe you shouldn't get your science from your preacher there, dumbass.

The Theory of Evolution makes predictions about the kinds of fossils that should be found, and guess what, we keep finding them. It has been tested and proven itself quite well.

Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (3, Insightful)

iseletsk (204040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384101)

Theory of Evolution was proven? I clearly need to get out more. I didn't know that it is Theorem of Evolution now.
From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory [wikipedia.org]
"Theories are abstract and conceptual, and to this end they are never considered right or wrong. Instead, they are supported or challenged by observations in the world"

Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384205)

Although the wording is a bit ambiguous "Proven itself" does not have the same definition or connotation as "proved" (as the case of a mathematical theorem) would.

The Theory of Evolution has been proven to be a good predictor of fossil remains, and the manner in which we can observe bacteria conform to their surroundings in a controlled experiment. In other words, the theory's been extensively studied, examined, and tested, and we haven't found any firm basis on which to disprove or refute it.

However, it has not been proved, nor can it ever be -- just like the Theory of Gravity, which though extensively tested and proven on Earth, is thought to be incompatible with some astronomical observations.

Conclusive proofs can only exist in the world of mathematics and logic.

Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384147)

Even science takes a few things on faith, only instead of faith, science just says "assume this" then proves how 'if' that's true, then it also explains the below theory.

There's still very large gaps in fossils we should have found were the theory to be true ( yes, i phrased it that way, i'm a creationist :gasp!: ) we should have been finding them, a lot of them, not just a handful, and evolution and adaptation are two separate things. adaptation or mutation can explain a handful, but a handful cannot prove evolution. also, true or not, isn't review a good thing for scientific theories/discoveries.

also, from the above post (way above)
"I think we should teach how gravity might not exist. After all, it's still just a "Theory" we haven't actually found the particles (or whatever) that cause it. I for one don't believe in gravity." replace the concept of gravity with God, and i think the sarcasm makes a good point.

Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383999)

Hey Einstein, you're right. Gravity, electromagnetism, chemistry, biology, mechanics also happen to be "just theories". They can't be proven either. Show us how enlightened you are by refraining from using the internet.

Re:Sorry, but they're absolutely right (1)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384109)

I like how pro-creationists suddenly revert to nihilists whenever you resort to "burden of proof" arguments. For example, "the Theory of Evolution has been sifting through a mountain of proofs in the forms of fossil records for more than a century." "Yes, but could you say anything is really 'true'? What is 'truth'? It is a mere construction of... *blah blah metaphysical blah*" The truth is, all that metaphysical nonsense aside, the Theory of Evolution has been sufficently proven enough to be a real science where Intelligent Design has not.

Go Texas! (5, Insightful)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383787)

I think we should teach how gravity might not exist. After all, it's still just a "Theory" we havn't actually found the particles (or whatever) that cause it. I for one don't believe in gravity.

Re:Go Texas! (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383803)

You are right, there is no such thing as gravity, there is just this invisible force that pushes masses together.

Re:Go Texas! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383879)

There is no gravity. Texans suck.

Re:Go Texas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384249)

You misunderstand. The law of gravity is well understood; things definitely gravitate towards each other. However, the theory of gravity, which purports to explain how gravity works, is, while almost universally agreed upon, still feasibly capable of being disproven.

Re:Go Texas! (4, Funny)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384097)

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation.

Score for who? (4, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383813)

The not-so-good news is that in a "compromise," the board also voted to require that students "in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations... including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student." Score one for the Discovery Institute.

No, score one for science. If one examines all sides of scientific evidence for those scientific explanations, then creationism and ID are left out in the cold because they are not based on science, are not scientific explanations, and thus can not be discussed.

Further, if the goal is to encourage critical thinking, then ID and creationism are in trouble because they do not stand up to critical examination.

Re:Score for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383857)

Exactly: ID is not falsifiable, so is not a scientific theory and so is not something one needs to consider critically. The only viable alternative to evolution is, well, evolution.

Re:Score for who? (2, Insightful)

ubergeek2009 (1475007) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384131)

yeah I agree with you, but the problem is that that is not the way it will be taught.

Re:Score for who? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383871)

Depends on how it's taught, doesn't it?

Re:Score for who? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383951)

Depends on how it's taught, doesn't it?

Quite. If some teacher decides to mention creationism as an alternative to evolution in class, it should now be easier to sue him/her for incompentence.

s/incompentence/incompetence/ (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383975)

D'oh!

Re:Score for who? (4, Insightful)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383893)

You're assuming that both the students and the teachers have the competence, knowledge and understanding of the science in order to properly evaluate it, and that the teachers guiding such student evaluation do so in an honest and unbiased fashion.

Good luck with that.

Re:Score for who? (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384209)

You're assuming that both the students and the teachers have the competence, knowledge and understanding of the science in order to properly evaluate it, and that the teachers guiding such student evaluation do so in an honest and unbiased fashion.

You falsely assume that Texas schoolteachers blindly back the political machinery that drives State Board of Education. From my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Most science teachers I know could not care less about what goes on in Austin, and they certainly don't teach science based upon who happens to be in power in the legislature in any given year.

Re:Score for who? (1)

CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383897)

Yeah, I fail to see how this is bad news for anyone. OK, if the language is code for creationism and is taught accordingly, then that's bad. But if the curriculum is taught as the language says, then it's essentially a rephrase of scientific philosophy: nothing is set in stone, and somebody should always be looking for weaknesses in theories usually taken for granted, just in case they're wrong. Who knows, maybe one of them will find that something in commonly-accepted evolution theory doesn't hold. That's not to say that creationism wins, but human knowledge does. The tendency in this evolution vs. creationism debate of BOTH sides to cling to their beliefs no matter what is troubling. Scientists need to remain always aware that they're probably wrong in the details, and to resist change or criticism makes them no better than creationists.

[To clarify, I am not a fundamentalist creationist or anything like that; I believe in evolution. But I don't treat the prevailing theories necessarily as Holy Gospel. Pun intended.]

Re:Score for who? (4, Insightful)

interiot (50685) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383959)

The problem is that "critique scientific explanations" means different things to different people. To a good science teacher, it means valid scientific critiques, and yes, that's very good. To a bad science teacher though, that means critiques that sound like science to the uneducated ear, but are really nothing of the sort. Surf some of the anti-evolution videos on YouTube for a few minutes to see just how good some people can be at blurring the line between science and hogwash.

Re:Score for who? (2, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384025)

Let say our culture eliminates itself, and after 50000 years nearly no traces of us will be left. Still somebody looking at the Genes of the animals *will* find ID. He will find that certain genes were selected far beyond natural selection (actively bred), sometimes different from what you would expect in nature, and that new genes which do not belong to the pool of a species will appear (insulin in bacteria). What i want to say: there are scientific criteria for ID, but usually proposers of ID just want to justify their superstition and therefore hesitate to define these. Would i be in their place i would also hesitate, because this has the big risk of failing spectacularly.

Re:Score for who? (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384121)

By that logic, then in the past it would have been a simple matter to say that the "weakness" of creationism and ID is that they are not based on science, are not scientific explanations, and thus can not be discussed. But it didn't work that way before, so why expect it to now?

If the board had a genuine intent to either keep ID out of the classroom, or restrict content and discussions to established scientific theory, then they could have chosen much clear wording than what appears to be nothing but a re-phrasing of the language specifically intended to get creationism and ID into science class.

If the goal is in fact to keep religion in the science class, then real science is in trouble because this ruling still provides an excuse to insist that ID is introduced for critical examination. Let's not forget, the goal of the creationist is not to win a logical argument, but to win grassroots level, political battles to twist what kids learn in school to their personal agenda. We all know that what kids learn is not necessarily what the teacher is trying to teach them. Creationists could care less if science class gets bogged down in pointless discussion, because learning about science (or even critical thinking) simply isn't a priority for them.

Re:Score for who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384185)

You robots are reading this like robots. Or vulcans.

People aren't robots and some of them who believe in creationism will read "critique scientific explanations" as their opening to talk about creationism.

Does not compute?

And Florida too (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383833)

Florida just had a bill to introduce "critical analysis of evolution." That bill just died. http://www.flascience.org/wp/?p=975 [flascience.org] . So right now it looks like the creationists are losing. However, this anti-science agenda has been going on for a very long time and it isn't likely to end anytime soon. Even in Great Britain which has a much smaller percentage of people who are creationist http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/02/charles-darwin-creationism-intelligent-design [guardian.co.uk] there are still pushes for creationism.

Moreover, what matters isn't just what is officially in public school curriculum. Many teachers will skip evolution entirely simply to avoid controversy while teachers sympathetic to creationism will add it in even when they have no permission. Furthermore, even if children are taught evolution in schools, if they hear everywhere else (parents, peers, pastors etc.) that evolution is a satanic lie, then what is being taught in school won't matter much.

Overall, this is a good thing. But this particular set of anti-science memes will likely stick around for the expected life times of all Slashdotters (unless Duncan McCloud reads Slashdot).

FMS theory? IPU theory? Mmmm, PI ... (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383835)

I can almost hear the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Invisible Pink Unicorn supporters in Texas gearing up for the campaigns to pressure the school systems into teaching their alternative "scientific" explanations of evolution, cosmology, etc. It should be fun to watch.

And how about the people who think that the mathematicians have make pi far too difficult for kids, and want their favorite alternative value taught in the schools. Wouldn't it be fun to contemplate a world in which engineers could build things using the exact (and rational!) value of pi that was taught to them when they were young ...

I don't see how that is a bad thing (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383837)

The not-so-good news is that in a "compromise," the board also voted to require that students "in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations... including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student." Score one for the Discovery Institute.

Everyone knows that scientific theory is not scientific fact. A better theory may come along and frequently does in the the sciences. Especially if this criticism examines scientific evidence as the amendment requests and not "biblical evidence" which a lot of creationism is based upon. (Lots of circular arguements that basically end with the bible said so and it's correct because it's the word of god, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.)

Hopefully it would be interpreted that way and not just be a vehicle to introduce creationism. Afterall, scientific dogma is still dogma.

Well... (3, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383839)

The wording as described in the summary sounds fine in the abstract; I suspect the problem will come in the implementation.

As I see it, the problem with creationism and ID isn't that it's wrong, it's that it's untestable. Anything taught in the science classroom should be testable. There is a place for testable but wrong theories -- I remember learning about the aether, for example -- but things that make no testable predictions have no place. A discussion of how a popular theory (like the Ptolomeic theory of the solar system) gets disproved is quite valuable; if such a discussion was possible about creationism or ID it would have a place in the science classroom. But, as it makes no testable predictions, putting it in the same category as Aristotelean physics or Ptolomean astronomy is wrong.

Re:Well... (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383899)

I remember learning about the aether, for example

Woah, when did you go to school?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelson-Morley_experiment [wikipedia.org] performed in 1887

Re:Well... (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383949)

We learned about it as a failed theory, obviously. The fact that it was wrong doesn't mean it wasn't a valuable teaching tool for scientific principles. It's also an important part of the history of science.

Re:Well... (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383981)

By that definition I learnt about it too. In this century no less.

Point taken.

Re:Well... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383961)

Then there is the little thing "Science is the process of developing naturalistic explanations of natural phenomena".

ID and Creationism fail on this one in oh so many ways... A Diety Designing Life is neither a natural phenomena nor is it a naturalistic explanation.

Hypotheses involving such matters do not belong in a science curricum.

Re:Well... (1)

Quintilian (1496723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384039)

I honestly dont see how one can prove or disprove either the Theory of Evolution (i'm talking macro- not micro-) or Creationism/ID through the repetition of tests in a classroom.

I would agree there that they really shouldn't be in the same category necessarily, because the Bible wasnt written as a book to give us "testable predictions."

I'm not sure I understand how this is news. (1)

russg (64596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383849)

What is news here?
1. A state acting in its own right to govern per the wishes of its people?
2. Free thinking and speech?
3. Questioning everything?

Would you like to teach children not to question theories or even supposed fact? I have this theory about cold fusion that I want to talk to you about.

Science is based on questions.

I would rant about states rights over the federal government but I'd take too long. Let's just say it's my business if I teach my children that Zeus is God and he'll stick a lighting bolt up your ass if you don't believe me. :)

Strengths and weaknesses? (1)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383865)

Stop trying to pretend evolutionary biology is on par with the mythologies they keep trying to push into the non-fiction classes! It isn't a static claim. More than that, it's not a claim with evidence "coming soon!" like its supposed competitor.

Can someone please point out a "weakness"? What is this part of the body of knowledge that makes up evolutionary biology that runs counter to observations in nature that the scientific community refuses to account for? I ask because the telepathic invisible sky deity fans really like to talk about it a lot. Then again, with all their talk you'd think they already derived exactly how many Hail Marys you have to say to consistently cure Parkinsons.

As a high school teacher, (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383891)

This is why I hate politicians who fuck with what we teach.

People, especially those here on Slashdot, keep blaming teachers for the problems with school. In reality, it's assholes like these ignorant pricks who make us educators look like idiots. What they do in the end only makes schools appear less and less credible.

Re:As a high school teacher, (1)

Punctuated_Equilibri (738253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384023)

Teachers, or at least their unions, have to take some of the blame for forcing the single-provider model of education.

If there was a choice of schools, religious parents could send their children to religious schools where the curriculum could be as irrational as they pleased.

And, yes, a lot of parents would choose that, and their children would be educated in the equivalent of madrassas.

But if you believe that people should be free to make their own decisions, even bad ones, that extends to parents being able to decide how their childredn should be educated.

Re:As a high school teacher, (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384079)

My impression, from my last couple of years in high school, and from visiting my teachers afterward, is that there's a giant, ever-growing pile of rules and "best practices" dumped on you folks from on high. You're so damn busy trying to introduce the new shit-hot teaching method to your curriculum, going to meetings with administrators that want status reports on all kinds of meaningless metrics, and so on, that you don't have time to actually teach anybody much of anything.

I think we'd all be better off if we got the hell out of your way and let you teach. And maybe paid you something commensurate with the level of education you had to get to hold the job. I honestly have no idea how to motivate that kind of change, though.

Wasting Time (3, Insightful)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383903)

Requiring students to evaluate every scientific explanation in light of the evidence that supports it will be a monumental waste of time. From the theory of gravity to the theory of the atom, spending time discussing the basis of scientific consensus will prevent students from getting very deep into any topic. I'm just glad that the most likely effect for students outside Texas is that science textbooks will be distributed in two volumes: the part Texas students are able to get through while critiquing the evidence and the rest of the curriculum all other high schools will be able to get to.

No, it's called "thinking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383973)

Requiring students to evaluate every scientific explanation in light of the evidence that supports it will be a monumental waste of time

Ability to evaluate evidence requires understanding it. Understanding is more important than memorization. Hence this is a way to force people to think about what they are learning. I see it as a big positive.

Re:No, it's called "thinking" (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383985)

Aaaaarrrggghhhhh.... isn't there a way to disable this fscking moronic "Post Anonymously" crap? I am beginning to hate /. for this idiotic design.

Process, not conclusions (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383917)

In Texas, the NCLB test, at least in high school, is predominately a process oriented test. The students have to understand the nature or science, i.e. how one creates a hypothesis, collects data, crunches numbers, decide if they hypothesis is correct, and apply the conclusions to real world problems. While are taught within the context of this framework, it is not very useful within the framework of the test kids have to pass for graduation.

For instance, kids must know that f=ma, even though we know that it is a highly inaccurate expression. In fact f=d(mv)/(dt), a concept not taught at the high school level. The closest students come to this is f=m (v2-v1)/(t2-t1) which is close but still inaccurate as it does not include the mass changing events at high velocity. So, are students to be given all these details they do not need to know? Perhpas after they pass their exit level and are seniors, but honestly if strengths and weaknesses of every law was debated, there would be no teaching going on. I can imagine in third grade discussing the fact that the earth is not an exact sphere, and that there is no reason to believe that the earth is sphere if one does not want to, and perhaps these students who do not believe can even sue the state for not allowing them to pass because the students family believes the earth is flat and so they answered related questions based on those beliefs.

In the end the only thing to conclude, once again, is that that vast majority of Texas students, who seem to have little trouble differentiating between personal belief and scientific fact, and end up passing all their tests with good scores, are much smarter than the people on the Board, who seem to have some deficiency that prevents them from doing the same.

Re:Process, not conclusions (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384193)

For instance, kids must know that f=ma, even though we know that it is a highly inaccurate expression.

I find your use of 'highly inaccurate' to be highly inaccurate. 'Slightly inaccurate in exceptional cases' would be more accurate. All the other formula you mention simplify down to F=MA in all but very unusual cases, such as traveling near the speed of light. Newtonian physics is perfectly reasonable to teach high-schoolers, since it is a valid subset of General Relativity that deals with typical behavior at the human scale.

the reason (5, Insightful)

digibud (656277) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383927)

The reason it's not such great news is that phrasing, however subtle, is still meant to appease the fundies. The perception, I believe, is that it still allows for a principal or school board to put pressure on the teaching of evolution by pushing teachers to "examine all sides". The desire is to get ID and/or young earth creationism in here one way or the other. There is nothing wrong with teaching a theory and the evidence to support it - as long as that theory is a valid scientific theory with evidence that is widely accepted by the scientific community as such. ID isn't science (read the Dover transcripts if you are STILL confused on that point) but "examining all sides" is all about trying to get ID snuck into a science curriculum. Scientists are not against teaching weaknesses in any theory. Examining weaknesses is what science is all about. What scientists do NOT want done to "examine" those weaknesses by contrasting observations and facts that led to a theory (evolution) with observations that fit a pre-set fairy tale (creationism in whatever form you want to call it) and then pretend that both are valid science. The language used (above) is vague enough that it will provide the grist for many subsequent arguments between teachers and parents and schools and districts and I'm sure, many others. Nice job. Not.

Why does CmdrTaco put up with kdawson? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383933)

Seriously, does he not notice how much he's effectively tabloidizing Slashdot?

Seriously, I was concerned I may have been missing something(since the summary's "bad thing" didn't sound all that bad) until I saw "by kdawson".

Re:Why does CmdrTaco put up with kdawson? (2, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383965)

Because trolling works -- it produces responses, and with those come page views and ad revenue. Trolls in the comments are bad because they piss people off and they leave; trolls on the front page are good because they piss people off and then they comment and view ads.

Review the Entire curriculum (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383947)

If they want to redefine the teaching of the Sciences for the purposes of meeting some political and ideological agendas, then the entire curriculum needs a review.

Nominations are:
1. English. Shakespeare is supposed to bring out a great appreciation for the fine arts and literature for students but the annual sales of Coles Notes show a consistent pattern of disinterest in Shakespeare.

2. Politics. The textbook sounds nice but its the reality they leave out. They should introduce essential skills like taking bribes - but don't get caught and How-To manipulate and lie to the public.

3. Business. I think the study of business in high schools is so far away from preparing students to work in the real work. Essentials are how-to "Fudge the numbers", create off-shore bank accounts, setup SPAM servers for Viagra ads (bonus! they learn some IT skills), etc.

In all, a curriculum focusing on the English literature teachings of Sir Coles, Political practices of the majority of successful politicians, and creating new grads with a more diverse business acumen, will certainly help creating the great minds in Texas for the years to come.

So what's the lesson here? (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27383971)

No matter how often you read about such stories, I'm always saddened by things like this. "Educators" wanting to impose their own opinions on subjects which they don't understand is bad enough. But to be, as I see it, fundamentally dishonest and sly (in the public eye, no less) in trying to get your way is such a betrayal of the future of the children you should feel responsible for. The big lesson here for kids won't be about science or religion, it will be about how to use political influence to get what you can't justify on its own merits. And how the truth isn't as important as, say, a good Christian might like to think it is.

On a lighter note, they've provided a fantastic example of thinking by committee. The fundamental decision they've made appears to have been to change "strengths and weaknesses" to "all sides". Rather than the outcome of the vote, I'd be more interested in the suicide rates of people forced to endure such discussions...

Let's not beat around the bush. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27383983)

Intelligent design == Creationism.

Dogmatic Teachings Of All Kinds In Danger (1)

DustoneGT (969310) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384033)

I don't see anything wrong with teaching students to question authority. If nobody ever questioned basic 'truths', nobody would ever discover anything new. I say teach them to question everything they see.

The summary is total Kdawson FUD (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384037)

Who is keeping "score" here? Encouraging students to be critical thinkers is not a bad thing. The summary writer sounds just as bad as the theists he is denouncing; he wants to mind-guard people from the idea of God in the same way they want to mind-guard people from the idea that there might not be a God; they want to prevent people from critiquing religious theory by banning the teaching of evolution. He wants to prevent people from critiquing evolutionary theory by banning religious theory. This isn't a game where you keep score, it's an important philosophical debate of profound significance to our entire society. Don't we value free speech and open debate?

Science is the search for God's rule book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384043)

I really don't see a reason to be concerned with encouraging critical thinking or requiring the strengths and weaknesses with evolution. It is a theory and as far as theories go, it's a fairly weak one. We can use it for micro-evolutionary changes but macro-evolutionally changes are far from being supported. Pointing out it's flaw is the only responsible thing to do if we are truly educating students. We do that with all other theories and it doesn't seem to be an issue. Why here? Is the thought of God that annoying to the /. crowd?

Before the rant begins about the Jesus freak from the trailer, this is coming from a Christian degreed in particle physics and nuclear reactor design. In all that I've studied, I have to say science leads me towards God being real. Too many variables for life to exist without Him. I'm also not afraid to mix my science and my faith. Science just explains how He works. I do agree that the Church has historically done a very poor job of dealing with science. I can't find nor do I want to find a defense for the actions in the past. With that said, why have we now decided to ignore the historical social, economic, and scientific influences in public schools if they refer to God?

Down with critical thinking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384093)

Yea - I agree that encouraging kids to fully understand both sides of an argument and think critically about a scientific theory is a HUGE STEP BACKWARDS!

Kids should be taught a scientific principle and be expected to believe it without question.

Wait, are we talking about science or religion?

It doesn't encourage critical thinking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384111)

It allows Creationist teachers to teach religiously-based claptrap as a bogus alternative to the fact (yes, fact) of evolution.

We have seen the emergence of a new species (ID/Creationist "macro" evolution - as if there was a difference between small changes and big ones when you have millions of years to accumulate the small ones)

FSM Now has a place in the Schools!!! (1)

1mck (861167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384171)

I'd laugh my ass off as if I lived there as I'd argue for the FSM, and see how they spin out of control trying to prove me wrong...happy days in Texas schools!!! Reminds me of the time that I was allowed to write anything about the state of the Catholic religion at my Catholic High school anonymously! You should have seen what was written!!! That was a hap-hap-happy day!

Sneaking in Young Earth Creationism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27384183)

According to the New Scientist [newscientist.com] :

An amendment to the Earth and space sciences curriculum requires the teaching of different theories of the origin, age and history of the universe. The board voted to remove from the standards the statement that the universe is roughly 14 billion years old.

"The goal here was to make science more tentative and vague so that teachers have room to tell students, 'This is only one explanation and the scientists are not even sure about it themselves' â" which is, of course, utter nonsense," says Quinn.

School textbooks are required to comply with a state's science standards, so all changes to the science standards translate into changes to textbooks. In two years, the board will meet to review the state's textbooks, so creationists have been eager to slip in changes to the standards ahead of time.

A Big Win for Actual Science and Science Education (1)

itsybitsy (149808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384187)

"The meaning of the world is the separation of wish and fact." - KURT GÖDEL

The not-so-good news is that in a "compromise," the board also voted to require that students "in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations... including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student."

Excellent! Science is all about the pursuit of the truth of objective reality. Every assumption needs to be questioned otherwise it's not science but rather it's dogma if you're not allowed to question the science.

Score one for the Discovery Institute.

Utter NONSENSE. These and other anti-science and anti-science-education crowds LOST in Texas: Discovery Institute, Intelligent Designer proponents, Creationists, Religionists, Our-Science-is-Correct-and-we-Don't-Have-to-Prove-It-And-If-You-Ask-Questions-Crowd-You're-Automatically-A-Denier-(anti-science)-Crowd and Delusional of all sorts had a huge loss.

Asking questions leads people to give up their delusions if they get the power of asking questions. Sure some imaginary friend delusionals will use that to attempt to push their religious agenda but in the end what will happen is that the battle ground shifts to critical thinking skills where it belongs!

Sharpen your pencils girls and boys and get ready to educate people who don't know about science, about your field of science, in the ways and means of science, the scientific method and critical thinking skills.

The fostering of asking questions and learning to think that my Roman Catholic parents encouraged in me helped me deprogram their attempts to bring me into their faith. Thank ERG (pardon the expression) for all those science books at home and at school.

Without getting the power of critical thinking anyone is lost in today's world of magical claims, weird fake science, television, government, bogus medical claims, con men of all kinds, parents, friends and family who are constantly attempting to pull you into their delusions.

Every CULTure you interact with has it's own delusions and often those are the very ones that people use to justify their killing of others one way or the other. Do you even know how many different CULTureS you're embedded within? How many? How can you tell? What are the beliefs of your CULTure? How do they blind you?

The Human Belief Engine we call the brain-mind is the culprit not what is in a book and the sooner that people realize that the better. Critical thinking skills are the only path to knowledge devoid of delusions, or at least with minimized delusions, about objective reality.

http://www.pathstoknowledge.net/ [pathstoknowledge.net]

http://www.godlessaccident.com/ [godlessaccident.com]

"According to Peirce's doctrine of fallibilism, the conclusions of science are always tentative. The rationality of the scientific method does not depend on the certainty of its conclusions, but on its self-corrective character: by continued application of the method science can detect and correct its own mistakes, and thus eventually lead to the discovery of truth".

A guiding principle for accepting claims of catastrophic global events, miracles, incredible healing, invisible friends, or _fill_in_the_blank_ is:

"extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." - Carl Sagan

Sagan's Principle applies to ALL FIELDS OF SCIENCE as well as ALL wacko claims by non-scientists. To say differently is to assert that any part of science should not be questioned! Asking questions is the fundamental core of science. "Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness." - Alfred Korzybski

"Science is a search for basic truths about the Universe, a search which develops statements that appear to describe how the Universe works, but which are subject to correction, revision, adjustment, or even outright rejection, upon the presentation of better or conflicting evidence." - James Randi

Why the special treatment for biology? (1)

TimTucker (982832) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384223)

Thinking back to the science classes that I had, it always struck me as interesting how theories in Biology seemed to be treated much differently than theories in Physics.

Within Biology, things were generally presented with "this is the way that we think things are" and that was about it.

Within Physics, the discussion tended to center around "this is how ideas of this subject have developed over time and this is the way we think things are now", at times followed by discussion of where there might be opportunity to better clarify current theory.

Just wondering why it is that lots of introductory physics textbooks include a history of the atomic models (complete with plenty of examples of "hey, we got some parts right and were dead wrong on others, but at least we kept improving our models"), but I can't really recall any biology textbooks that gave serious discussion to shortcomings in evolution that have been identified and how the theory has "evolved" over time.

I am curious... (1)

athlon02 (201713) | more than 5 years ago | (#27384229)

I agree with those who say it is a good thing that students think critically so as to come to the truth. I just don't agree with the conclusion that Creationism has no scientific evidence in support of it and that it is all theological.

And I was well aware before I even looked at one comment what the majority of posters would think of evolution vs. Creationism. Too many /. articles have already shown me how easy it is to predict the type of responses that'll occur.

However, I would like to ask a rhetorical question or two... For those who insist Creationism has no scientific evidence, that it's hypothetical or slight of hand or based on bad science or misrepresenting science...

How much research have YOU actually put into researching what Creationists have to say scientifically speaking? And I'm not talking about what some Creationist zealot told you about it. Nor am I talking about what the media or some professor told you about it. How much have YOU PERSONALLY researched on the matter from those considered authorities and educated in Creationism?

We all know there are evolutionist zealots who support evolution without really understanding what it says or by their own study of the theory. The same goes for Creationism. So, I implore you to ask yourself honestly and put on your critical thinking caps and ask yourselves if YOU have REALLY researched and used critical thinking skills *OR* if you are parroting what someone else told you. And if you are parroting, is your disbelief in Creationism your own or by proxy? The same goes for evolution... is your belief in it because you KNOW it is truth, or is it a proxy belief?

I say all this because I've seen plenty of people who claim to be Christians, but are little more than Christians by proxy. I have no doubts whatsoever that there are evolutionists by proxy. Now whether you reply to me or not is not the point. The point is do you believe evolution by proxy? Are you being academically honest or not?

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