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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the that's-just,-like,-your-opinion,-man dept.

Education 665

Toe, The writes "The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved new science standards for students except for one clause: the one that involves the use of the phrase 'natural selection.' Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, argued against teaching natural selection as fact, when he believes there are other theories students deserve to learn. Fair argued South Carolina's students are learning the philosophy of natural selection but teachers are not calling it such. He said the best way for students to learn is for the schools to teach the controversy. Hopefully they're going to teach the controversy of gravity and valence bonds too. After all, they're just theories."

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How is presenting all theories a problem? (-1, Troll)

Supp0rtLinux (594509) | about 8 months ago | (#46220271)

I honestly don't see the issue with presenting all sides of an issue. I think going all evolution and excluding creationism is as bad as forcing only creationism to the exclusion of evolution. That said, I can only hope they use the Darwin Awards as the best proof we have of natural selection.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220345)

Creationism is not a theory. They can discuss any issues with evolution as it currently stands (and any science course worth its salt will teach any student how to think critically)

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (5, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 months ago | (#46220505)

Creationism is not a theory.

Sure it is. It just isn't a *scientific* theory.

A scientific theory makes testable predictions. Experiments can be devised whose results confirm or refute the predictions. Knowledge can be collected from the environment which either fits or refutes the predictions. That's what makes it science.

Creationism and it's stepchild Intelligent Design make no testable predictions. Therefore they are not science. Therefore they do not belong in a science curriculum.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220515)

Creationism actually is a theory. It is just not supported by evidence at all and quite a few established facts contradict it. So it is a theory with a very low probability of being a model for reality and hence not worthy of study.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

Vermonter (2683811) | about 8 months ago | (#46220553)

Yeah, but the problem is very few public school science classes are worth their salt. Very rarely do students actually learn critical thinking skills.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220683)

As evidenced by the naive responses here. Did you all go to public school?

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

micahraleigh (2600457) | about 8 months ago | (#46220349)

The government needs to get out of the business of policing ideas.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220705)

The government needs to get out of the business of policing ideas.

Get the government out of the public school system!!!

Pull your head out (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220359)

Teach religion in religion class and science in science class. If you can't test it, it's not science. If you CAN, even if it's something you find distasteful, it IS science...

There's no controversy here, merely people who don't like the fact that the sun doesn't come up in the south.

Re:Pull your head out (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220535)

You can teach Creationism as an example of a theory that is wrong with very high probability. But I guess that is not what these people want.

Re:Pull your head out (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | about 8 months ago | (#46220719)

Not really. Creationism doesn't lie within the realm of science, so science cannot make any meaningful comment about it, pro or con. It can only say "that's not science".

It would be useful for illustrating what makes something not a scientific theory, though.

Re:Pull your head out (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 8 months ago | (#46220725)

It does to in the winter.

Re:Pull your head out (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220727)

Exactly. Move evolution to the religion classes because you can't test it. Now, of course, it requires that you define what you mean by "evolution". Macro-evolution, e.g. one kind of animal changing into another hasn't been demonstrated and can't be tested. But micro-evolution (i.e. change within a species) has clearly been shown to happen. The latter is science, the former is religion.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46220377)

Because there are no other competing scientific theories.

Do you have a scientific theory that explains what we see, makes prediction, and is factual verified 1000's of time?

No. This is a politician shoving religion down are throat under a very thin vale. He should be tossed out for violating the constitution.

Creationism is not science. Not my any stretch. It is a belief made on biblical literalism.

Maybe you should learn what science is?

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220619)

Your argument is wrong. Evolution is not science either. Finding evidence for or against Evolution is science. By the same reasoning, finding evidence for or against Creationism is science. It just happens that you will find a lot of evidence for Evolution and little against it, and the converse for Creationism. That does not mean Creationism is not a model for reality while Evolution is. It is just by far the best supported assumption. If you teach science, do it right. Creationism is an excellent example for a theory with very low confidence in it, use it as such.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220767)

"Finding evidence" isn't science.

Science involves constructing and testing hypotheses.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

JohnFen (1641097) | about 8 months ago | (#46220785)

Evolution is not science either.

Yes, it is. Evolution makes testable predictions. That's really all that's required. Creationism isn't science because it doesn't make testable predictions.

That does not mean Creationism is not a model for reality while Evolution is.

You're talking about something else now. Lots of models for reality are not science -- namely, every religious belief on the planet.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | about 8 months ago | (#46220621)

He should be tossed out for violating the constitution.

How about just not re-electing him?

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220649)

>Creationism is not science. Not my any stretch. It is a belief made on biblical literalism.

Maybe you should learn what science is?

I posit it does make predictions.

The kind of "creationism" discussed here would claim there are not forms that transcend "kinds" of animals. Only variations of those kinds leading to the variations we have today. Dogs no matter the size and shape are still canines. Humans, no matter the variations to the shortest human to the tallest are still apart of the same kind even though they cannot likely breed with each other.

This has falsibility.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

jandrese (485) | about 8 months ago | (#46220771)

What the hell is a "kind" of animal? That doesn't fit in the taxonomy at all. A theory is not a theory if you don't define the terms.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 8 months ago | (#46220819)

It's also already been falsified; artificially created environmental pressure on fast-breeding insect populations created divergent species that could no longer interbreed. To the extent that you can claim "alternatives" to evolution make testable predictions, those predictions have been tested and found false.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

JohnFen (1641097) | about 8 months ago | (#46220821)

That's a good point. Are there other predictions? Because that one has been falsified, repeatedly, for a very long time. Now it's up to creationists to modify their model to account for that, and make a new prediction.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Dan667 (564390) | about 8 months ago | (#46220391)

It is a red flag when anyone presents their view and then refuse to allow any other theories to be discussed. And that is exactly what creationists are doing with natural selection being taught in schools.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46220549)

Only when there are other theories worthy of discussion. As far as scientific credibility goes, creationism is ridiculous. I'm all for silencing any discussion of creationism in schools - alongside astrology, palm-reading and other fields of nonsense.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220411)

Yes, why don't we teach astrology along side astronomy, and alchemy along side chemistry! Present both sides! When you give every crackpot idea the same footing in the classroom it's detrimental to students ability to determine what is likely to be true. Creationism is not science and should not be taught along side science.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (2)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 8 months ago | (#46220747)

My chemistry taught me alchemy, my biology teacher taught me creationism. They both said that there is no evidence whatsoever that any of that stuff is true, while they also taught me that evolution has strong evidences and that many alchemy "magic" can now be scientifically demonstrated by chemistry.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220803)

Learning to turn lead into gold. Now _that_ would have made high school worthwhile. But those bastards in the government refused to teach all sides.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220421)

There is no scientific controversy. In the world of Science, there are no multiple sides. Evolution is a scientific theory. Creationism, no matter what religion or culture is mythology. Teach science in science class.

Re: How is presenting all theories a problem? (2)

Chef Jesse Kmiec (3533883) | about 8 months ago | (#46220445)

the problem comes that only a few religions believe in the biblical creation story as fact. Even then it is not agreed between those religions exactly how much of that creation story should be taken as a literal. If we decide to teach creationism in schools we need to cover each religions views (Hindu belief is vastly different than Protestant and they both do not fit with Catholic teachings) as well as the current evolutionary views. This in turn would mean the entire day would need to be spent covering just this one topic. Considering our own constitution states we are to keep religion and state separate ,religious views should be taught at home or in the educational facilities of the religion and not in public schools. You'll never hear a school teaching my faiths creation story so why should any other religions story be taught?

Teach the controversy, but define it first (2)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 8 months ago | (#46220455)

The Controversy:
Fundamentalist religious people don't like the fact that natural selection (and the time frames required for evolution to have produced life on Earth) conflict with what the bible says. So they've made up a Creation 'science' to create 'controversy' about whether evolutionary science is in fact correct.

They've found scientists to amplify the aspects of evolution that we don't fully understand and then used that 'uncertainty' to pretend that it's evidence for their religious beliefs.

Any question? Okay, now class, lets teach the other side of the controversy. Get out your biology textbooks, please.

Re:Teach the controversy, but define it first (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | about 8 months ago | (#46220545)

...oh. And fundamentalist religious people do indeed get to (and deserve to) vote. Unfortunately, this leads politicians to pander to them and introduce bogus science into school curricula. Perhaps if rational people spoke out (and voted in huge numbers), the politicians would pander to them, but contradicting religionists is a political and social minefield. Back to our biology lesson...

Re:Teach the controversy, but define it first (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46220735)

They don't really have any scientists. They have 'scientists.' With the quote marks. Generally the prominant creationists either have no qualifications, have dubious qualifications from a very unreputable institution, or hold a respectable qualification but in an unrelated field. They do seem to score a lot of engineers - people who are trained to see everything in terms of design - but that's about it.

The Discovery Institute produced a list once of creation scientists. But even their search couldn't actually find any significent number, so they had to resort to padding the list with engineers and outright lying about the views of some of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

Re: Teach the controversy, but define it first (2)

Chef Jesse Kmiec (3533883) | about 8 months ago | (#46220791)

except Catholics, the vast majority of Orthodox Jews and mainstream Islam do believe in evolution and the old universe theories to a good extent. even within the evangelical community you have differing views on accepting old universe and evolution.the most noted are ken ham for the yec and Dr. John Walton for oec. note ken ham has read the Bible, Dr. Walton is a doctorial professor that studies the ancient Hebrew ot and the civilization that it pertained to. how can we realistically teach mixed beliefs in faith over science without turning the entire schooling experience into that lesson?

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 8 months ago | (#46220465)

I honestly don't see the issue with presenting all sides of an issue. I think going all evolution and excluding creationism is as bad as forcing only creationism to the exclusion of evolution. That said, I can only hope they use the Darwin Awards as the best proof we have of natural selection.

I'll assume you're not a troll, and I'll also assume you understand the concept of the "scientific method": observations -> hypothesis -> new observations -> modified hypothesis, etc.

One (evolution/natural selection) is a theory based on multiple observations by many scientists in different fields over many years. It's the "best" explanation that fits all the observed data.

Creationism is based on what's written in a single book (which some consider "the word of God" and others consider a fairy tale), as "interpreted" by those who can't even agree among themselves. It also conflicts (young earth) with geologic observations.

If your object is to teach science in schools, creationism has no place, ecept, perhaps, as an example of "what's not science" and why.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220485)

It is when one theory is exceedingly well supported by the available evidence and the other is really just a theory with no supporting evidence whatsoever.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#46220523)

If it is never tested, it's not even a theory, it's a hypothesis.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220487)

The issue is what belongs in a science classroom vs. what belongs in a religious context. Scientific theories must be testable, so they can be compared against new facts, and either kept as is, modified, or discarded in favor of a new testable theory. Natural selection is the current scientific theory for the observed fact of evolution, and most definitely does belong in a science classroom. The other sides of the issue are religious in nature, without the rigor of a scientific theory, and thus don't belong in a science classroom.

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220507)

The thing is, is that creationism doesn't even qualify as strongly as a scientific theory. It is at best a hypothesis, but it can't be tested. Religious rhetoric alone has enough hypocrisy to fuel a never ending debate about the material. If you want a social science to discredit the material, then simply using the duration of the Chinese history should be enough to prove Biblical Events never happened. Even the mystical Gilgamesh would ask the writers of all practiced faiths to step down.

There is no room in a science course for material that can't be tested. If they want to do that, it should be in higher education, beyond the K-12 standard. Testing theories taught in class is one of the best ways to educate students on the material or there will be years of teaching of every Sun god that existed. Teach these things in a social science course, not a hard science.

Are they trying to make their students score worse on national averages just like Texas and other deep red states?

Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (1)

Wulfson (548350) | about 8 months ago | (#46220581)

What gets me about this is that it's specifically talking about natural selection, which has been demonstrated to be true in countless observations. Natural selection doesn't make any conclusion about the origin of all life, it just says "things that are better suited to an environment are more likely to outnumber things that are unsuited to that environment". Whether you want to teach evolution or creationism, natural selection still demonstrably exists. See also: the peppered moth.

Finally... a platform for the Flat Earth Theory! (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 8 months ago | (#46220787)

http://www.universetoday.com/4... [universetoday.com]

Many people who believe in the flat Earth theory turn to the Bible in order to back up their theory. They quote various passages in order to back up their theories and interpret certain passages literally. Not all of them rely on the Bible though or simply on the Bible. Samuel Shenton who formed the Flat Earth Society, one of the most modern flat earth groups, believed that his beliefs could be proven using common sense and science.

Sounds legit. Teach the Controversy!

States Rights (4, Insightful)

gpronger (1142181) | about 8 months ago | (#46220297)

So, if a State chooses to not teach their children what is accepted in the scientific community, should this be their prerogative? At the same time, a decade later, when their students do not fair well at college, or professionally, they should be comfortable with that aspect to their decisions.

Re:States Rights (3, Interesting)

Supp0rtLinux (594509) | about 8 months ago | (#46220357)

or better... if a majority of them do more poorly than their peers in other states, should they be allowed to form a class action suit against the education peeps or even the state?

Re:States Rights (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46220399)

But those kids can not get that time back. The morons doing this won't suffer, the students will.

Re:States Rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220601)

Said morons should be charged with child abuse.

Re:States Rights (3, Insightful)

roninmagus (721889) | about 8 months ago | (#46220413)

Yes, it should be their prerogative. That's part of the basic foundation of our government, and was choen as the best method of government by intelligent people who had lived under tyrannical absolutes.

As always, if you disagree with your state's laws, you can attempt to push a vote to change them or move to another state. That sounds dismissive, but it's good that it's an available option. If the law is national and therefore pushed from above, you have no way to get out from under it save moving to another country. Moving to another country is probably not appealing or easy.

Re: States Rights (5, Informative)

Chef Jesse Kmiec (3533883) | about 8 months ago | (#46220571)

James Madison, the father of both the Constitution and the First Amendment, consistently warned against any attempt to blend endorsement of Christianity into the law of the new nation. "Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions," he wrote in his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments in 1785, "may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?" Unlike the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution conspicuously omits any reference to God.

Re:States Rights (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about 8 months ago | (#46220521)

Or better yet, Jon Hamm increases his army of embarrassed, out of context, blackmailed and possibly manipulated 'scientists' to on video for his next disastrous debate.

Re:States Rights (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 8 months ago | (#46220721)

Or better yet, Jon Hamm increases his army of embarrassed, out of context, blackmailed and possibly manipulated 'scientists' to on video for his next disastrous debate.

You saw a debate featuring a guy known for being well-hung? [wikipedia.org] Are you sure it wasn't John Hamm? [wikipedia.org] Or the other John Hamm? [wikipedia.org] Perhaps Ken Ham? [wikipedia.org]

Re:States Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220637)

Yeah. Because to "fair" well at college is identical to having been taught one particular thing to the exclusion of other things.

Re:States Rights (5, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 8 months ago | (#46220691)

I don't want to have to uproot my family, find a new job, and start a new life in another state just because the state I happen to live in wants to push religious beliefs onto my kids through the public school system. It's abusive and violates separation of church and state. I don't give a damn about state's rights, rights ought to be fundamental - not based on the invisible lines people draw to separate one bit of land from another.

Re:States Rights (2)

Elros (735454) | about 8 months ago | (#46220827)

Then fulfill your responsibility for your child's education and quit outsourcing it to someone you find unsatisfactory.

Note that I say the same to anyone on any side of this debate (and a few others). If you don't find your child's current teachers/school/curriculum satisfactory than get up off your ass and give them the education you deem proper.

Re:States Rights (4, Insightful)

MrLint (519792) | about 8 months ago | (#46220729)

Unfortunately, it will take the child until they are 20 or so to feel the full effects of being poorly educated, worse, being denied the tools of critical thought. At that point bringing that person up to the capability to deal with the technology of the workplace that will face them in 2030 will be nearly insurmountable.

The mere fact that someone should be able to assert that any old idea they have, has equal supportability because of what they assert semantics of words to be, is wrong at best, and megalomaniacal at worst. And we all know that this isn't about "alternate 'theories'" this is about attacking things that don't support the christian creation myth.

I challenge *any* "teach the controversy" supporter to lay out their syllabus and rubric for *ALL* alternative science theories. As it has been stated above, it would have to include astrology, and alchemy, probably phrenology, humors, and I guess demonic possession.

You cannot be honest in this "teach the controversy" thing and only do one piece. Doing so is really a lie to yourself, and everyone knows it.

Re:States Rights (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 8 months ago | (#46220825)

So, if a State chooses to not teach their children what is accepted in the scientific community, should this be their prerogative? At the same time, a decade later, when their students do not fair well at college, or professionally, they should be comfortable with that aspect to their decisions.

Really now, what do you think the chances are that someone who grew up believing that the planet is 6,000 years old would choose a career in science? I'm all for colleges and universities requiring additional science tests for students from states that teach creationism, but I seriously doubt that a large chunk of those kids are going to decide that science is what they want to do with their lives. Unless they accidentally choose a scientific major thinking that they're going to learn about religion.

One of the best things that Bill Nye said in the recent debate was to encourage people to choose careers in science, and warning that the rash of anti-rationalism is going to have very negative consequences for the US. Those words might have fallen on deaf ears at the creationism museum in Kentucky, but it's the right idea.

Re:States Rights (3, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 8 months ago | (#46220831)

I think it only fair that if they choose to leverage "State Rights" to give a sub-standard "Faith Based" Educations, then it should be only fair that the Federal Government cut off all forms of Financial Funding for Education and Unemployment.

Why should US Taxpayers support a bunch of backwards people that want to live in a Theocracy? In fact, I think we should cut Theocratic States off from the US entirely. Seriously, why don't we just end the Union already and let Jesustan and the rest of us go our separate ways?

Why should the educated, secular States continue to support these backwaters that are filled with racist illiterates that contribute next to nothing to our GDP while consuming a disproportionate amount of Tax dollars in the form of Federal Subsidies?

How will policies such as this do anything but cause South Carolina to require even greater amounts of Federal Subsidies to support their backward culture of bible banging red necks?

who cares? (1)

stwf (108002) | about 8 months ago | (#46220325)

There aren't enough jobs for kids anyway. If one or three states choose (on their own accord) not to prepare their children to compete in the job market the rest of us should be happy. If you live in one of those states, vote the idiots out or move. Case closed.

Re:who cares? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46220427)

There are plenty of jobs. For scientifically literate engineering and science professionals.

Re:who cares? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46220835)

Interesting argument, but not really true. Very few jobs require an understanding of evolution to earn a living. Biologist, of course. Perhaps some areas of computer science just about touch it. Anything else? Not really.

Which Creation? (5, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | about 8 months ago | (#46220333)

I have no problem with presenting creationism as an alternative, as long as you include ALL creation myths in the curriculum. It wouldn't be "teaching the controversy" unless you teach them all.

I mean, sure, we all really KNOW that the world began when Udu the Space Tortoise shat out the earth and His godly flatulence created the sun, but we have to let the kids decide for themselves.

Re:Which Creation? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46220461)

Except it is not an alternative. It has zero scientific merit.

Re:Which Creation? (5, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | about 8 months ago | (#46220737)

HOW DARE YOU BLASPHEME UDU!

Re:Which Creation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220659)

That's a horrible idea.

Imagine if in math class you teach 2+2=4, but also the alternatives 2+2=5, 2+2=6, 2+2=7, ...., 2+2=184938. By the end of the school year students won't have learned anything.

The time spent on a theory should be proportional to the probability of it being true, otherwise you're just wasting people's time.

Re:Which Creation? (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 8 months ago | (#46220755)

Math? Udu also invented MATH! The numbers add up to what Udu says they add up to.

Fucking heretic.

SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (1)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about 8 months ago | (#46220335)

Hitchens yelling "for shame!" rang into my ears, straight from the 2009 "is the catholic church a force for good" debate.
Available here [youtube.com]

Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (2)

gpronger (1142181) | about 8 months ago | (#46220453)

The Catholic Church is pretty comfortable with the theory of evolution thingie.

Re: SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (1)

Nygmus (3525773) | about 8 months ago | (#46220749)

That is actually the bit that boggled me. My world seemed to shrink a bit when I realized that so much of that drivel that is our government feeds back, not to Christianity, but to the bullshit cult sect of Protestantism.

Is this worth commenting on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220347)

Getting tired of reading about this continuous crap from America.

law of gravity (1)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 months ago | (#46220351)

Actually, it's the "law of gravity," not the "theory." As it should be with something that can be demonstrated by experiment, is reproducible and despite centuries of effort hasn't been refuted by experiment.

Please don't compare experimental science with historical evidence science. Their conclusions don't have the same level of confidence and shouldn't be taught as if they do.

Re:law of gravity (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 8 months ago | (#46220431)

evolution has evidence.

Re:law of gravity (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220713)

Indeed. And a lot of it, and only very little against it. That makes it a "well established" theory. Creationism, on th other hand, has basically no evidence for it and a lot against it. That makes it a "crackpot" theory.

Re:law of gravity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220479)

No. Theories don't becomes laws. Theory is the highest level in science. There is a law of gravity, that is, it exists. The theory of gravity is how it works (we still don't know unless I missed the discovery of the graviton particle). In that same line or reasoning, though, we could say the Law of Evolution is that it occurred and is occurring still. And the theory of evolution is the process. But evolutionary theory will never become law and neither will the theory of gravity.

Re:law of gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220495)

Actually, it's the "law of gravity," not the "theory." As it should be with something that can be demonstrated by experiment, is reproducible and despite centuries of effort hasn't been refuted by experiment.

Please don't compare experimental science with historical evidence science. Their conclusions don't have the same level of confidence and shouldn't be taught as if they do.

Actually, it is a theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitation

http://thehappyscientist.com/science-experiment/gravity-theory-or-law

Re:law of gravity (2)

Spazmania (174582) | about 8 months ago | (#46220653)

Actually, according to your reference there is both a theory of gravity and a law of gravity.

The law quantitatively documents what happens.

The theory attempts to explain why.

There is no law of evolution. We can't reliably quantify it. If that tells you nothing else, it should tell you to place much greater confidence in gravity than evolution. Which returns us to my thesis: that arguing equivalent confidence in evolution and gravity is as oafish as arguing equivalent confidence in creationism and evolution.

Re:law of gravity (1)

Megol (3135005) | about 8 months ago | (#46220531)

Then you don't mind us calling it "law of evolution" then? You know, as it is, like, well demonstrated, reproducible and not been refuted by _any_ experiment (and man have it been challenged...).

Re:law of gravity (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 8 months ago | (#46220629)

Actually, its the Theory of General Relativity that accounts for the observations. Same as the Germ Theory of Disease that account for a huge fraction of observed illness. A scientific theory is not a "hunch", "guess", or "notion". It ties together a huge number of observations and makes testable predictions that have overwhelmingly been tested and turned out to be correct.

BTW, that's the case with the Theory of Evolution. Here's my favorite example [talkorigins.org] . (Some actual math here [talkorigins.org] .) Interestingly, we know the Tree of Life with greater prescision than we know the gravitational constant G!

Re:law of gravity (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220685)

Well, there is also a theory of gravity, but that is the mathematical model. Completely different meaning. A mathematical theory is a set of axioms and all you can derive from them. As axioms are always true, any mathematical theory is always completely true. It does just not claim to relate to reality in any way, that only happens when the axioms have some close connection to observable reality.

It's both. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46220701)

Sigh.
Theory's and laws are different things.
There is the law of gravity F=mg, and gravitational theory, aka the theory of gravity.

So yes, you have the law of gravity and the theory of gravity.
A law differs from a scientific theory in that it does not posit a mechanism or explanation of phenomena.

To teach creationism as an 'alternative theory of evolution' is the exact same as teaching magic pixie dust pulls things down.

Re:law of gravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220779)

No. The proper name is "Newton's Theory of Gravitation". It really shouldn't be called a "law" because Newton didn't get it right. His theory couldn't explain discrepancies in the orbit of Mercury. Einstein countered with his General Theory of Relativity. The General Theory of Relativity has been pretty successful, to date. What predictions we have been able to tease out of its math have been shown to be true, where we can figure out how to test them.

One of the predictions made by the Theory of Evolution is that related species should have similar DNA, and the more recently the two species have diverged, the more similar the DNA should be. Evidence is gathered from the fossil record to estimate how recently two species have diverged, and then biologists start sequencing DNA. It does appear that evolution made an accurate prediction. I guess that makes evolution an "experimental science"? Your dichotomy is false, and you really should read more about how modern evolutionary theory is used and tested.

Re:law of gravity (1)

ChromaticDragon (1034458) | about 8 months ago | (#46220833)

In order to properly appreciate the Evolution vs. Creation debate, you need to step back... way back.

You need to realize this is NOT truly (or solely) a debate about or within Science. If you cannot or will not believe this is fundamentally a war over mindshare directly stimulated by and fostered by religious worldviews, you're not going to be able to see past the propaganda techniques often used.

The suggestion that one can contrast the "Law" of Gravity vs. the Theory of Evolution is only useful in preaching to the choir. It demonstrates an incredible depth of ignorance of Science in general and specifically philosophy of Science. It will not "win" over an "Evolutionist" because it's inherently and fundamentally false in their eyes.

There are many ways Creationists embarrass themselves by listening to themselves tell each other that somehow they know more about Science than Scientists.

Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220373)

Anybody who says is is a fact is just as dishonest as theses people. Evolution is a very well supported theory, far in advance of any competition. It is incomplete, and there is a residual possibility of it being completely wrong, but anybody that has even a bit of understanding of Science will accept it as very likely true unless exceedingly strong evidence to the contrary shows up. As such evidence has not turned up so far, Evolution is the way to go.

Unfortunately, most people cannot deal with non-absolutes or very small probabilities. That is why so many hope to win the lottery or are afraid of being harmed by terrorists. Both events are so exceedingly unlikely that for all practical purposes they cannot happen to them. But there is a small, insignificant residual chance that they may happen and that confuses many, many people.

Re: Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220499)

Same could be said for every single piece of human scientific achievement.

Re: Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory" (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220741)

Ah, yes? Is there a problem here?

Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (1)

Daniel Hoffmann (2902427) | about 8 months ago | (#46220625)

The thing about Science is that it is not that much about finding the truth, it is about building models to do things (like predicting that harmful organisms will become immune to antibiotics because of natural selection) to help mankind. A big part of Science is to challenge the old models to see if they still hold up in new scenarios.

Newton model of physics breaks down at the subatomic level, so it is essentially not "truth". But the model is still used for a myriad of applications and taught in all high schools, because it is useful to mankind.

Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 8 months ago | (#46220797)

Yes. The way this works is simple: A well established theory has a lot of supporting evidence. Supporting evidence for a theory is a case where the theory works! Hence using well established theories as a basis to make decisions has a far higher chance of working than failing. On the other hand, "crackpot" theories like Creationism have no, or negative use as basis for decision-making, as they have a lot of evidence against them, but no evidence for them.

 

Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (1)

RLBrown (889443) | about 8 months ago | (#46220681)

Quite true. It is also important to distinguish a testable hypothesis, which can be promoted to an accepted theory by such tests, as opposed to a whimsical musing, for which no tests either positive or negative are possible. The Theory of Evolution started out as a hypothesis that could explain certain observations. This hypothesis was put forth by Wallace and Darwin. Decades of further investigation provided positive tests, and no negative tests. Accordingly, the hypothesis became a theory, and in fact became so well accepted, it is considered a law of nature. In comparison, there are no tests for creationism. Anybody can claim that every observable aspect of the Universe was created just a few millennia/centuries/years/days/seconds ago, with everything in place such that observations make the Universe appear to be older and appeared to be evolving. But such a claim denies its own testability. Hence it can never be promoted to accepted theory. It is just a whimsical musing, nothing more.

Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220805)

What rubbish. Evolution is an observed phenomenon. It is fact like it is a fact that gravity keeps your feet on the ground.

The theories are in regards to how it works, i.e. natural selection, you arrogant buffoon.

We have seen enough (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220409)

I agree - teach the contraversy. We have seen enough things fall by the wayside in the history of science that we should not consider anything with reverance, e.g. flat earth, sun circles the earth, etc.

Teach the scientific method and let the kids sort it out!

Re:We have seen enough (1)

achbed (97139) | about 8 months ago | (#46220761)

I agree - teach the contraversy. We have seen enough things fall by the wayside in the history of science that we should not consider anything with reverance, e.g. flat earth, sun circles the earth, etc.

Teach the scientific method and let the kids sort it out!

You do realize that all the theories you mentioned were originally held and taught by religious fanatics, right? Not sure if that was your point or not...

Gravity: Not just a good idea, ITS THE LAW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220433)

Some people think they don't need to follow the law of gravity but they're wrong. You don't want to hear about the penalties.

"Teach the controversy"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220539)

There is no controversy within the scientific community regarding evolution.

The controversy is why is science being attacked (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | about 8 months ago | (#46220739)

If I were a teacher in a little town like Lord's Mudbucket, South Carolina, I'd teach the theory of evolution of religion, as a means of gaining insight into why there is a controversy in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Ref: "Evolution for Everyone" David Sloan Wilson"

Is evolution a theory? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220559)

From reading parts of the Wikipedia definition of what a scientific theory is, evolution is a bit on the iffy side.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
[quote]
Scientific theories are testable and make falsifiable predictions.
[/quote]
How can one test a random event, such as mutation? There really isn't a large enough "lab", short of another planet. And, even then, we haven't been observing and recording evolutionary processes for long enough. Oh, some lab may have been doing genetic modifications on organisms. But that is, hopefully, intelligently directed and thus not truly "random". Evolution does seem to make sense. But, then, so did the Earth centered universe at one time. Because the Earth didn't seem to be moving, therefore it must be the other objects which were moving. I'm wearing my flame retardant suit, so fee free to say nasty things about me.

Re:Is evolution a theory? (1)

Toe, The (545098) | about 8 months ago | (#46220775)

How can one test a random event, such as mutation? There really isn't a large enough "lab", short of another planet.

Breed bacteria or viruses. They have very short reproductive cycles and mutate quite a bit. And it's pretty easy to see them evolve... i.e., develop drug resistance.

Excellent! (5, Insightful)

DontBlameCanada (1325547) | about 8 months ago | (#46220587)

Further erosion of the American education system means less competition for those of us (and our kids) living elsewhere in world.

And the round earth theory... (1)

Steve1952 (651150) | about 8 months ago | (#46220603)

There are other theories that should be taught as well, such as the round earth theory, the theory that we exist outside of "the matrix", and indeed the theory that god did not create us a tenth of a second ago.

Check the evidence (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 8 months ago | (#46220647)

Is pretty clear that that comitee members descended from monkeys... and kept descending.

Science should not be taught as fact. (2)

Kenja (541830) | about 8 months ago | (#46220657)

It should be taught as science.

Just stop using the word "theory". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46220677)

If narrow-minded idiots don't understand the difference between the meanings of theory in a scientific and colloquial context, then scientists should just stop using the word theory as a scientific term.

Just don't call it a "fact". Maybe call it a "truth," so one of their favorite terms has a double-meaning that they don't like. That should really get their blood boiling, and teach them to stop abusing the language to suit their ends.

Sink or swim (1)

Arkiel (741871) | about 8 months ago | (#46220723)

Congress really needs to get hands-on with educational standards. There's a stronger commerce interest in all states producing only their fair share of idiots than in most of the crap Congress has regulated through the Commerce Clause. Really wish they'd do a study comparing college performance in people that weren't taught evolution versus those that were. If nothing else, the non-evo's probably have to spend more time in otherwise optional science classes to catch up. That assumes a pattern of educational control that hasn't completely retarded their ability to think critically, of course. Everyone behind these standards changes, every self-righteous blowhard and bigoted soccer mom, need to have their names inscribed on a wall somewhere, so their great great grandchildren can feel shame.

Re:Sink or swim (1)

Anonymous Codger (96717) | about 8 months ago | (#46220765)

Our current congress (at least the House) would probably vote to allow teaching creationism, so Congress should NOT get hands-on with standards.

To the Honorable Sen. Fair (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 8 months ago | (#46220783)

There is no "controversy". No. There isn't. So there is nothing else to teach, other than credible scientific theory, when it comes to how we got here. No, your beliefs do not come anywhere near to the definition of "scientific theory". Get over it and stop trying to make your children stupid.
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