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STATEMENT BY IOWA FACULTY ON HF 183: THE EVOLUTION ACADEMIC FREEDOM ACT

A recent bill introduced into the Iowa State Legislature has prompted the defenders of Darwinian Dogma to issue the following statement:

STATEMENT BY IOWA FACULTY ON HF 183: THE EVOLUTION ACADEMIC FREEDOM ACT

We, the undersigned members of institutions of higher learning in Iowa, urge our legislators to reject passage of “The Evolution Academic Freedom Act” (HF 183) introduced by Rod Roberts (R-Carroll). The language of this bill comes primarily from the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which has conducted lobbying efforts and political activism against the teaching of evolution since 1994.

Evolution is as established a scientific theory as any other theory in science. It is misleading to claim that there is any controversy or dissent within the vast majority of the scientific community regarding the scientific validity of evolutionary theory. Since there is no real dissent within the scientific community, then “academic freedom” for alternative theories is simply a mechanism to introduce religious or non-scientific doctrines into our science curriculum.

Similar efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution in schools repeatedly have been found to be unconstitutional, something witnessed most recently in Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005) in Pennsylvania.

We, therefore, urge our legislators to recognize HF183 as part of a long history of creationist assaults on science education, and reject passage of this bill.

Where have we heard this before: “It is misleading to claim that there is any controversy or dissent within the vast majority of the scientific community regarding the scientific validity of evolutionary theory. Since there is no real dissent within the scientific community, then “academic freedom” for alternative theories is simply a mechanism to introduce religious or non-scientific doctrines into our science curriculum.”

Right. No controversy over whether evolution happened, just lots of controversy over every single proposed how and just about everything else connected to it. Who is being misleading here? And once again we see that there couldn’t possibly be any scientific basis to question evolution, so it must be a religiously motived “assault” on science! Perhaps these wise and learned professors have never heard of the genetic fallacy. Who cares what the motivations are. The issue is are there legitimate questions that students ought to know about with respect to evolution as an explanation for the origin of all life on planet earth. The self-proclaimed protectors of Darwinian Dogma in Iowa think not, for philosophical reasons of their own.

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18 Responses to STATEMENT BY IOWA FACULTY ON HF 183: THE EVOLUTION ACADEMIC FREEDOM ACT

  1. The language of this bill comes primarily from the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which has conducted lobbying efforts and political activism against the teaching of evolution since 1994.

    That’s a pretty blatant lie, isn’t it? Since when has the Discovery Insititue ever lobbied against, or involved itself in political action against the teaching of evolution?

    Can you sue over such things?

  2. This reminds me of something Eugenie Scott said. She said something like this: every scientist agrees evolution took place. It is just that not every scientist agrees how it took place.

    As long as the word evolution remains vague and the theory of evolution remains mostly unfalsifiable than evolutionists can always pick the winning team.

  3. SCheesman: We live in an Orwellian world. To lobby for the truthful teaching of evolution (warts and all) is to lobby against the conventional teaching of evolution (i.e., indoctrination).

  4. “It is misleading to claim that there is any controversy or dissent within the vast majority of the scientific community regarding the scientific validity of evolutionary theory. Since there is no real dissent within the scientific community, blah, blah, blah..

    Also, there are no gay people in Iran: http://afp.google.com/article/.....YbdpyrG2cw

  5. “It is misleading to claim that there is any controversy or dissent within the vast majority of the scientific community regarding the scientific validity of evolutionary theory. Since there is no real dissent within the scientific community, blah, blah, blah…

    This reminds me of the Iraqi Information Minister who declared that the U.S. invasion had been repelled and the Americans defeated, just as American tanks rolled down the street in front of the building from which he was broadcasting.

    There is no controversy! The enemies of Darwin have been defeated! Their challenges have all been refuted! Long live Darwin! All this, while the crumbling of the Darwinian edifice accelerates around them.

  6. “Evolution is as established a scientific theory as any other theory in science. It is misleading to claim that there is any controversy or dissent within the vast majority of the scientific community regarding the scientific validity of evolutionary theory.”

    O rly? :P

  7. I’ve just read a fascinating article on the way the scientific establishment kicks into touch theories which it finds unpalatable. It is found on http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrob.....ologic.pdf

    Have any of your contributors read it?

  8. Maybe Gould was slightly more honest about these things than the Iowa disciples of saint Charley.

    “The scientific establishment bears a grisly resemblance to the Spanish Inquisition. Either you accept the rules and attitudes and beliefs promulgated by the ‘papacy’ (for which read, perhaps, the Royal Society or the Royal College of Physicians), or face a dreadful retribution. We will not actually burn you at the stake, because that sanction, unhappily, is now no longer available under our milksop laws. But we will make damned sure that you are a dead duck in our trade.”

    (Gould, D.W., “Letting poetry loose in the laboratory,” New Scientist, 29 August 1992, p.51)

  9. That’s a pretty blatant lie, isn’t it? Since when has the Discovery Insititue ever lobbied against, or involved itself in political action against the teaching of evolution?

    I have made an inquiry as to whether or not the DI was involved in any way with the Iowa bill.

  10. Okay, I have now confirmed that no one at the DI had any knowledge of the bill in Iowa. WHile it is possible that the legislator in Iowa who authored the bill might have used a model bill that DI has suggested to other states, in the case of Iowa, no one at the DI was contacted or consulted on this bill.

    So, while it may be the case that some of the language in the bill comes from a prior model bill that the DI had suggested elsewhere, the implication that they are in any way connected to the bill in Iowa is simply false.

  11. They really want more flooding this year?

  12. 12

    “We, the undersigned members of institutions of higher learning in Iowa, urge our legislators to reject passage of “The Evolution Academic Freedom Act” (HF 183)”

    Rejection of academic freedom – strange postion for academics to take.

  13. If you constantly will repeat “it is pink” then it will become pink!

  14. H’mm:

    Let’s think.

    Iowa . . . the state where Cuban Exile, Mr Gonzalez — of something like 70 peer reviewed papers and a serious textbook under his belt and a pioneer on extrasolar planets [Wikipedia could not bring itself to mention that inconvenient fact in its article on such planets . . . ] — was just expelled from the state university system.

    Not for objecting to or challenging [macro-]evolution, but for pointing out (in a book and movie, not the classroom) that the cosmological circumstances required to set up a viable evolutionary scenario per current scientific thought, also make our planet quite privileged; i.e. suggestive of design?

    Oh, THAT Iowa, and THAT set of “freedom-loving” academic peers!

    Now, just what are they objecting to?

    Let’s click and cut, then paste (cutting out the legislative line numbers):

    _________________

    >> current law does not expressly protect the right of instructors to objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding chemical [which of course implies also cosmological evolution . .. ] and biological evolution . . . . existing law does not expressly protect students from discrimination due to their positions or views regarding biological or chemical evolution . . . .

    2. A teacher who is employed by a school district may objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution.

    A teacher who is employed by a school district shall not be disciplined, denied tenure, terminated, or otherwise discriminated against for objectively presenting scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological or chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution.

    4. Elementary and secondary students enrolled in a school district shall be evaluated based upon their understanding of course materials through standard testing procedures.
    However, students shall not be penalized for subscribing to a
    particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution.

    5. The rights and privileges contained in this section shall apply when the subject of biological or chemical evolution is part of a school district’s curriculum. This section does not require or encourage any change in the core curriculum adopted by the state board of education . . . .

    6. This section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion . . . .

    7 2. An instructor who is employed by a community college or state university may objectively present scientific information relevant to the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution in connection with teaching any prescribed curriculum regarding chemical or biological evolution . . . .

    Students enrolled in a community college or state university shall be evaluated based upon their understanding
    of course materials through standard testing procedures. However, students shall not be penalized for subscribing to a particular position or view regarding biological or chemical evolution . . . >>
    ____________________

    Par for the academic, politically correct, Lewontinian a priori evo mat fascism course I’d say:

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [RL, NY Review of Books, 1997.]

    So, with just a hint of sadnesss for the passing of the late, lamented academic freedom:

    FOR SHAME!

    GEM of TKI

    _______________

    PS: But also — without at all implying immoral equivalency; and recognising that there are those who are indeed simply disruptive and so earn their removal — I think we need to again carefully review how the banning and thread-banning process have been used here at UD; even in recent days. (This specifically includes the case of Rob, which was just brought to my attention by one of the legion of the banned, in my own blog.)

  15. 15

    The coward priests defend their sacred gates!

  16. kairosfocus @14

    PS: But also — without at all implying immoral equivalency; and recognising that there are those who are indeed simply disruptive and so earn their removal — I think we need to again carefully review how the banning and thread-banning process have been used here at UD; even in recent days. (This specifically includes the case of Rob, which was just brought to my attention by one of the legion of the banned, in my own blog.)

    I’ll break my self-imposed silence and subject this reply to the vagaries of the moderation queue in the hopes that it will get through, because it is important to emphasize what kairosfocus is saying here.

    The moderation policy and the results of applying it here need to be significantly more transparent. With respect to the situation with Rob, there seems to be a double standard where Dembski supporters are allowed to behave rather badly in some cases while anyone who even raises questions about the orthodoxy has their posts delayed, refused without notice, or even removed.

    The larger problem is how this affects the perception of ID in the larger community. The Discovery Institute doesn’t even allow comments on their site. Uncommon Descent gives the impression that open discussion is strongly discouraged. For people complaining about their views being Expelled, this can easily be painted as hypocritical behavior.

    Real trolls and spammers should, of course, be removed to facilitate discussion. People who ask difficult questions aren’t trolls, they are opportunities to educate the lurkers and, if their questions point to weaknesses in ID theory, to learn. Using the excuse that “We’ve already answered that question.” is weak. If it’s already been answered, pointing to that answer is a much stronger response than banning the questioner.

    As one of the premier ID sites, UD should hold itself to a high standard of openness and demonstrate confidence in the ability of its regulars to address anti-ID arguments.

    JJ

  17. kairosfocus:

    PS: But also — without at all implying immoral equivalency; and recognising that there are those who are indeed simply disruptive and so earn their removal — I think we need to again carefully review how the banning and thread-banning process have been used here at UD; even in recent days. (This specifically includes the case of Rob, which was just brought to my attention by one of the legion of the banned, in my own blog.)

    You’re a good man, kairosfocus.

  18. PS: But also — without at all implying immoral equivalency; and recognising that there are those who are indeed simply disruptive and so earn their removal — I think we need to again carefully review how the banning and thread-banning process have been used here at UD; even in recent days. (This specifically includes the case of Rob, which was just brought to my attention by one of the legion of the banned, in my own blog.)

    I too would like to applaud KF. He knows I have problems with his English but he is honest, pleasant and thinks for himself.

    When Barry took over and eased the level of constraint the quantity and quality of debate shot up. I was under the impression that now most people who were banned or in moderation (which is little different in practice) were in that state by accident rather than design (can the EF help here?) It would be a blow to the credibility of the ID community to continue to ban people for raising genuine arguments in a polite fashion.

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