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Don McLeroy’s Full Op-Ed

It appears that the Waco Tribune abridged Don McLeroy’s op-ed on Texas science standards (that piece was cited a few posts back). Here is the full op-ed (reprinted with Don McLeroy’s permission):

Don McLeroy, guest column:
Biology standards and reasonable doubts

Sunday, October 19, 2008

COLLEGE STATION — Science education has become a culture-war issue. The battle is over the controversial evolutionary hypothesis that all life is descended from a common ancestor by unguided natural processes.

Texas is adopting new science standards. Scientists representing evolutionists and calling themselves the 21st Century Science Coalition say that creationists on the State Board of Education will inject religion into the science classroom. Should they be concerned? No. This will not happen.

They also say that the board will require supernatural explanations to be placed in the curriculum. This will not happen.

The National Academy of Sciences in its recent booklet Science, Evolution and Creationism, 2008, defines science as “the use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process.” This definition should be acceptable to both sides.

But, the coalition also makes claims about evolution that will be challenged by creationists.

The advocates for evolution claim that it “is vital to understanding all of the biological sciences,” that evolution “has been documented beyond any reasonable doubt” in the peer-reviewed literature and that evolution has gained the status of a scientific theory and therefore has no “weaknesses.”

First, is understanding of evolution “vital” to the understanding of biology? No.

Would’ve done it the same

Philip Skell, a National Academy chemist, “recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong.

The responses were all the same: No.

Next, has evolution been demonstrated to be true beyond any reasonable doubt? No.

Is evolution’s support from the peer-reviewed literature unassailable? No.

Galileo said, “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”

Does evolution have scientific “weaknesses”?

The 21st Century Coalition not only says no but insists that we must strike the weaknesses language from our standards because leaving it in threatens our children’s scientific reasoning.

The coalition says that if students are taught to doubt what it believes to be unquestionably true, then the students will lose their faith in science.

All we must do to maintain science’s credibility and to decide if there are weaknesses in the evolutionary hypothesis is “to use evidence to construct testable explanations” and see where the evidence leads. Let the best scientific explanation win.

Don McLeroy of College Station is chairman of the State Board of Education.

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5 Responses to Don McLeroy’s Full Op-Ed

  1. Now this is a very cool paragraph:

    All we must do to maintain science’s credibility and to decide if there are weaknesses in the evolutionary hypothesis is “to use evidence to construct testable explanations” and see where the evidence leads. Let the best scientific explanation win.

    Don McLeroy of College Station is chairman of the State Board of Education.

    ===

    The evolutionists stamp and snort in unison “There Are No Weaknesses!!!”

    Yet, the humbled reasoning asks “What about the Cambrian Explosion”?

    The evolutionists stamp and snort “There Are No Weaknesses”!!!

    Yet, the humbled reasoning of a single individual asks “What about the fact that trilobites, despite their long and extensive history in the fossil record, never produced anything besides other trilobites? Or the fact that when trilobites are scrutinized for morphological novelty over long periods of time, they in fact lose variability over long periods of time?

    The evolutionists stamp and snort “There Are No Weaknesses”!!!

    Yet, the humbled reasoning of a single individual asks “How can complex information in the genome that far far surpasses man’s ability to produce as such in computer programs come about by “mutations” which all decrease information?”

    The evolutionists stamp and snort “There Are No Weaknesses”!!!

    Yet humbled reasoning asks “Why is the revelation of information being a “physical” entity which has dominion over matter/energy, not implemented to methodological naturalism?

    The evolutionists get a puzzled look and stamp in unison “HUH?”

  2. Honest question: If the NAS says that current evolutionary theory has no weaknesses, do they defend this claim by way of redefining “weakness”?

    If there are no weaknesses, then how is it that the theory itself is evolving? Doesn’t science progress in part, by discarding previous wrong ideas? Are there no wrong ideas being discarded along the way? Or do they claim that all the wrong ideas are in the minor details?

  3. Dr. Dembski,
    I noticed that you will be speaking tuesday night at Baylor:

    Dembski to Speak on Darwin at Baylor University Tuesday Night:

    ENV readers in Texas have the opportunity tomorrow night (Tuesday), to see Dr. William Dembski present a lecture on “Darwin’s Unpaid Debt.” The lecture will be held at Baylor University and is hosted by the American Scientific Affiliation’s Baylor Chapter.

    According to ASA-Baylor, this is what Dembski will speak on:

    Natural selection is widely supposed to be an information ratchet that gradually accumulates the information organisms need to acquire novel adaptations. Yet natural selection is nothing of the sort. The Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation is a low-level trial-and-error method for solving routine problems that is unequipped to handle the innovative problems that biological systems have solved in the course of natural history. Darwinism and evolutionary biology more generally, committed as they are to unguided material mechanisms, do not have the resources to solve biology’s information problem. This talk will indicate why biology’s information problem is unresolvable apart from intelligent design.

    This is just another example of intelligent design thinking and its usefulness for solving key problems in evolutionary science. If you’re in the area, go see Dr. Dembski in Room 109, Rogers Engineering and Computer Science Building, Baylor University, at 5:30 pm, Tuesday, October 21.

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....in_at.html

    Will there be a recording and or a video of your talk available on the web for those of us who are not in the Waco area?

  4. Bornagain77,

    You quoted:

    “All we must do to maintain science’s credibility and to decide if there are weaknesses in the evolutionary hypothesis is ‘to use evidence to construct testable explanations’ and see where the evidence leads. Let the best scientific explanation win.”

    Interesting to note that when scientists actually put neo-Darwinian ideas to the test, they didn’t work. Links from O’Leary’s blogs:

    “- The Viceroy butterfly “evolved” to mimic the Monarch, which is poisonous, to avoid birds”

    http://www.iscid.org/encyclope.....roy_Puzzle

    “- The peacock’s tail “evolved” to attract peahens”

    http://www.thedesignoflife.net.....fault.aspx

    “- The eyespots of butterflies and moths “evolved” because their resemblance to eyes scared off bird predators.”

    http://www.thedesignoflife.net.....fault.aspx

    ***

    As you’ll notice the neo-Darwninian explanations fail. I’d also like to test the idea that baby creatures often times appear “cute” so they do not get attacked. Well, not necessarily really test it, because it’d involve killing animals, but I can at least predict what would happen.

    You put worlds ugliest dog and worlds cutest dog in front of lion: both get eaten!

    That’s my idea anyway xD

  5. Neo-Darwinian philosophy and thought take a theory and call it fact. There is just as much faith involved in the evolutionary debate as there is in the creationism debate. For intelligent design to gain credibility is unity of thought and logical conclusions, no matter where the evidence leads.

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