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Scientific American – who’s telling the porkies?

The December issue of Scientific American has an article by Eugenie C. Scott and Glenn Branch entitled ‘The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom’

Not being an American citizen it is perhaps not for me to comment on American education policy, but the article provides some humorous circular reasoning. At one point it says that evolution is not ‘scientifically controversial,’ and anyone who says it is, ‘miseducates students about evolution.’ Presumably if evolution wasn’t controversial the authors would not have felt the need to write the article. But in the article there is precious little evidence to justify their position, but lots of empty rhetoric.

“Vast areas of evolutionary science are for all intents and purposes scientifically settled; textbooks and curricula used in the public schools present precisely such basic, uncomplicated, uncontroversial material. “

But that sounds like; ‘evolution is true because we say it is true – and it’s in our text books – so there!’ Now am I supposed to be persuaded to believe evolution on that basis? And what about that NHM / OU text book entitled ‘99% Ape?’ a figure which is now known to be false, but taught as a ‘truth’ in popular level science?

But the statement goes on. “Telling students that evolution is a theory in crisis is—to be blunt—a lie.” Yeah right – but what of the evidence? Is it possible that some are instead ‘Telling lies for Darwin.’?

“Moreover, it is a dangerous lie,… Students who are not given the chance to acquire a proper understanding of evolution will not achieve a basic level of scientific literacy. And scientific literacy will be indispensable for workers, consumers and policymakers in a future dominated by medical, biotechnological and environmental concerns.”

Is that a veiled threat? Those of us who have bothered to look at evolution in depth and noted the scientific problems, paradoxes and oxymoron’s, are in a stronger position to be able to think freely, having resisted the “dumbing down” of education standards in the US and UK by those who wish to be philosopher kings. An interesting book by Peter Harrison, (The Bible Protestantism and Natural Science) has shown that science developed in the west because of a commitment to truth as a result of the Protestant Reformation. Christians are thus the guardians of truth in science, not enemies of science. Evolution needs challenging on logical grounds, for the sake of science, and should not be accepted on the basis of blind trust.

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22 Responses to Scientific American – who’s telling the porkies?

  1. In regards to Dark Energy:

    “dark energy is the potent force that governs the growth of the universe and which likely causes the universe to keep expanding.
    It also seems to have another effect: It prevents the biggest clusters of galaxies from getting too fat.”

    Perhaps Dark Energy is the Divine Force.

  2. “Students who are not given the chance to acquire a proper understanding of evolution will not achieve a basic level of scientific literacy….”

    It’s kind of like people who are sightless for the first ten years of their life. Even if vision is restored, the neural wiring of their brains is incapable of processing visual information and making sense of the world.

    You see, that’s what critics of Darwinian evolution are doing. By subverting the youth, we are preventing them from ever seeing and embracing the truth of Darwin.

    When Dan Dennett talked about quarantining parents who prevent their children from properly learning evolution, he wasn’t kidding. A free society demands that we be quarantined!

    It’s a brave new world.

  3. Dr. Dembski,

    Yes, I agree 1,000%, but what are we to do then?

    My wife and I do not have the ability to home-school our kids, and sending them to public school virtually guarantees that they become indoctrinated into Darwinism. What do you recommend for those of us that see thing differently, and with a good Christian world-view?

    Should we try to locate ID advocates to teach our kids after Sunday School? What are YOU doing to make sure your kids are brought up right?

    I am rather new here, although I have been trying to read back to earlier posts, so I would be extremely interested in hearing about what some of you regular contributors are doing about this?

  4. Yes it is interesting to note how far education policy is moving towards the social policies in Plato’s Republic. Karl Popper wrote ‘The Open Society and its Enemies’ (Vol. I ‘The Spell of Plato’) in which he argued that Plato’s Republic was the basis for modern social policy, but was essentially tyranical because it enforced class division.
    There are some useful resources on the web from both the ID and creation community, including the excellent CMI Journal (JoC) and Creation magazine from http://www.creationontheweb.com

  5. JackInhofe: Totally understand where you’re coming from. In any case my idea is that you need to actually sit down with your own kids, in your own way, to review what they’ve been taught. Not only about evolution but a whole slew of other morally implicated subjects that secular humanism has pushed into the whole public school system.
    Humanist Charles F. Potter writes,

    “Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?”
    - (Charles F. Potter, “Humanism: A New Religion,” 1930)

    “The battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity — utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into wherever they teach. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new — the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”
    -John J. Dunphy, in The Humanist (1983)

    This is clearly what has happened, it has nothing to do ‘separation of church and state’ – humanism is a religion and is being rammed into the minds of all public school students every day. And this fact alone is rather astounding – can you say ‘conspiracy’? If ever there was one it is that one. And they clearly admit it!

    I regularly talk to my kids about this, even now that they’re grown and out on their own.

    Two of them still are somewhat ‘infected’ by the materialist meme of Darwinism and I still find myself having to point out the glaring logical inconsistencies, hyperbole and hubris in Darwinism.

    It’s a struggle for sure. I suggest you purchase many of the available videos and books by IDists like Dr. Dembski, Gonzalez, the Expelled movie DVD etc.

    If you’re kids are still young enough you can let them watch or read (or do it with them) and then have open discussion – allowing them to question you! So you’ll have to educate yourself as well.

    They need to have their critical thinking skills developed quite deeply to confront all the BS out there these days.
    They need to have some solid moral code of conduct to guide them as well as an atemporal cause to uphold such as Christianity or just Judeo/Xian values. Kids are too often without a valid atemporal cause these days. We need to pass on to them our own cause – that of true objective values, courage, humility, critical thinking, true human origins and value, compassion, justice and mercy.
    There is no founded objective human value, dignity or purpose in Darwinism.

  6. Thank you Borne – They currently go to a Christian School, but it we just found out it is closing down, so they will have to got to a Public School next year. So, was this post by Andrew front-loaded, lucky or a god-given opprtunity?

  7. Dr. Atheist Explains How We Got Here – Very Funny

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bds51uxFFrc

  8. Let’s see Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Pasteur et al., all understood that science was a way to undestanding “God’s” Creation.

    Einstein said that “god doesn’t play dice” and Max Planck said “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this minute solar system of the atom together . . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind.”

    I guess that means if you are a Creationist or IDist you only have the potential as being as scientifically literate as those guys.

    I would wish that on everyone!

  9. Has anyone listened to today’s ID the Future telecast?

  10. Andrew

    Is it possible that some are instead ‘Telling lies for Darwin.’?

    It may be possible. However, as you are a creationist and creationism has been rejected by 99.9% of the scientific establishment on the basis of the evidence, don’t you think it’s somewhat counterproductive to imply that the sucess of “Darwinism” is down to lies and misrepresentations rather then simply having the weight of evidence on their side?

    Presumably if evolution wasn’t controversial the authors would not have felt the need to write the article.

    I rather suspect it’s because of the efforts of people like you who want to have their viewpoint taught as a serious alternative that caused them to write the article.

    Evolution is not controversial. It’s accepted by almost all scientists. You know this.

    There are some useful resources on the web from both the ID and creation community, including the excellent CMI Journal (JoC) and Creation magazine from http://www.creationontheweb.com

    Don’t you think that tying creationism and ID together in this way is also somewhat counterproductive? Nearly every day I read on this blog that creationism is nothing to do with ID. If it’s not then why can you apparently find out about both at the same links?

    Who’s telling the porkies now?

  11. Joseph

    Let’s see Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Pasteur et al., all understood that science was a way to undestanding “God’s” Creation

    As a thought experiment do you think that those people you mention would have been able to enjoy the same sucess if they had been openly atheist?

    Of course, I’m not saying they were, by their own admission some were not. The point is rather that I don’t recall seeing “god” in any of Newtons equations. And would we even know who Newton was if he had been a self confessed athiest? As society at the time (of all the people you mention) was theistic then it’s logical that people would go with the flow.

    Is it your contention that theistic scientists produce better results then atheist scientists? I imagine this can be checked scientifically.

    And another point, the original geologists were Christian young earth creationists looking for evidence of a young earth. What they found converted them into believing in a old earth. They too understood that science was a way to understanding “God’s” creation but the difference between them and people like Andrew is that they allowed the evidence they themselves found to speak for itself rather then hold to a position they knew to be untenable (made untenable by the very evidence they themselves were finding).

  12. Dr Dembski

    When Dan Dennett talked about quarantining parents who prevent their children from properly learning evolution, he wasn’t kidding. A free society demands that we be quarantined!

    This intrigued me and I looked into it further. I found the following quote:

    We should not expect this variety of respect to be satisfactory to those who wholeheartedly embody the memes we honor with our attentive – but not worshipful – scholarship. On the contrary, many of them will view anything other than enthusiastic conversion to their own views as a threat, even an intolerable threat. We must not underestimate the suffering such confrontations cause. To watch, to have to participate in, the contraction or evaporation of beloved feature of one’s heritage is a pain only our species can experience, and surely few pains could be more terrible. But we have no reasonable alternative, and those whose visions dictate that they cannot peacefully coexist with the rest of us we will have to quarantine as best we can, minimizing the pain and damage, trying always to leave open a path or two that may come to seem acceptable.

    and

    If you want to teach your children that they are the tools of God, you had better not teach them that they are God’s rifles, or we will have to stand firmly opposed to you: your doctrine has no glory, no special rights, no intrinsic and inalienable merit. If you insist on teaching your children falsehoods – that the earth is flat, that “Man” is not a product of evolution by natural selection – then you must expect, at the very least, that those of us who have freedom of speech will feel free to describe your teachings as the spreading of falsehoods, and will attempt to demonstrate this to your children at our earliest opportunity. Our future well-being – the well-being of all of us on the planet – depends upon the education of our descendants.

    I don’t believe you reading is the same as mine. Nobody is being locked away. Nobody is being “quarantined” in the strict sense that you seem to imply.

  13. It always begins with the government wanting “what is best” for the child.

    Anyone who does not see what that so often means [= we cultists know what is best for your kid but you don't] has no one else to thank if the kid is starved or beaten to death or brainwashed into a cult.

    Note, by the way, how readily Darwinists abandon the idea that the kid’s genetic relatives would know what is best for him.

  14. O’Leary,
    Wikipedia has a long article on the word “cult” but consider this

    Cult typically refers to a cohesive social group devoted to beliefs or practices that the surrounding population considers to be outside the mainstream

    Who is the cult here? On the one hand you have the goverment, which via the instrument of law and trial (as the option of “settled science” is apparently not satisfactory) attempts to “know what is best for your kid” by the use of experts arguing their case. The case that is best supported is used.

    Note, by the way, how readily Darwinists abandon the idea that the kid’s genetic relatives would know what is best for him.

    Most child murders are performed by blood relatives.
    I totally agree with Andrew when he says

    Evolution needs challenging on logical grounds, for the sake of science, and should not be accepted on the basis of blind trust.

    Likewise the challenges to “darwinism” cannot be accepted to be true on blind trust. They must be supported with facts and evidence.

    Note, by the way, how readily Darwinists abandon the idea that the kid’s genetic relatives would know what is best for him.

    Presumably you are talking here about parents removing children from classes they find offensive, such as evolution and talk about man being related to apes etc.

    These same parents are also unlikely to understand the underpinnings of much else their children are being taught in many other fields.

    Why is teaching children about electromagnetism not seen as cultish behaviour by you or them then?

  15. “book by Peter Harrison, (The Bible Protestantism and Natural Science) has shown that science developed in the west because of a commitment to truth as a result of the Protestant Reformation.”

    Funny I saw a different interpretation of history. For example, in his book

    “How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization”

    Thomas Woods makes a case that Catholics and the Catholic Church was central to a good part of the development of modern science and in particular cites the works of many Jesuits.

    I think there is room for a lot of religious people in the development of science.

    Please don’t anyone bring up Galileo. The conventional wisdom about what happened with him has been debunked a long time ago on this site.

  16. MikeKratch said,

    Evolution is not controversial. It’s accepted by almost all scientists. You know this.

    Not controversial? If it wasn’t controversial we wouldn’t even have websites like this trying to suggest that neo-Darwinism is faulty. Besides, is it microevolution or macroevolution that is accepted by most scientists? Even IDists will acknowledge microevolution, variation within animals (such as the changes that have occurred within the species of dogs), but that’s because we actually have solid observable evidence of this. Unfortunately, for neo-Darwinists that’s as far as it goes. No macroevolution has ever been witnessed (such as a species of lizard evolving into a bird over time). In fact all studies have shown that genetic information is shuffled or lost due to genetic mutations (the very mutations assumed to create macroevolution). Yet neo-Darwinian theory requires NEW genetic information.

    To quote two scientists themselves:

    “Mutations have a very limited ‘constructive capacity’ … No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution [that is, macroevolution].” –Past president of the French Academy of Sciences Pierre-Paul Grasse

    “Natural selection does not provide any new genetic information. And for evolution we need new genetic information. Darwin assumed that the increase in information comes from natural selection. But natural selection reduces genetic information, and we know this from all the genetic studies we have done. Generally we are [also] afraid of mutations … So we are avoiding mutations because we know that mutations spoil. We do not know of any mutation that is positive. We have never observed a change, a genetic change by mutation, that has produced something new [that is, new genetic information] and positive.” – Maciej Giertych, population geneticist

    On another note: neo-Darwinists often pull a lot of bait-and-swaps (suggesting that microevolution is equivalent to macroevolution) and then say that it supports their theory. Even if I grant that it’s true that the large majority of scientists support the entire idea of neo-Darwinism (microevolution AND macroevolution) it’s not because the data supports it. It’s because they won’t give it up, or they were prior brainwashed by one-sided just-so stories of neo-Darwinism.

    If scientists honestly followed the evidence wherever it leads neo-Darwinism would have been dropped a long time ago. Only intelligence provides true complex specified information such as languages and codes.

  17. 18

    MikeKratch @ 11 and 12 gives away the store in spectacular fashion:

    @11
    “Evolution is not controversial. It’s accepted by almost all scientists.”

    @12
    “As a thought experiment do you think that [Galilieo, Newton, Kepler etc.] would have been able to enjoy the same sucess if they had been openly atheist?…

    As society at the time (of all the people you mention)was theistic then it’s logical that people would go with the flow.”

    So Mike’s point, if I understand him correctly, is that the large majority of the great scientists of history who were openly theistic were in fact closet atheists who only pretended theisim to protect their careers; and yet that an even larger majority of contemporary scientists (whose achievemements look distinctly sparse by comparison) who are openly Darwinists are the genuine article, convinced by the sheer weight of evidence, so that the baleful career consequences of failing to hold the line count for nothing with them.

    This obviously isn’t true, as the Expelled movie made clear enough, and anyone who did a science degree in a university that had a Christian Union would certainly know (at my university in Manchester, England, scientists strongly outnumbered non-science students in the CU). The sad thing is that so many of these people end up having to hold their peace for the sake of their jobs. I sidestepped the issue by escaping into industry at an early stage (straight after my PhD), but for people in academia this remains a real problem.

  18. MikeKratch :

    However, as you are a creationist and creationism has been rejected by 99.9% of the scientific establishment on the basis of the evidence,

    1)Are you conflating ID with creationism? Quaint but getting old since everyone in ID knows it aint so.

    2) That’s a crock statement if ever I heard one. Based on evidence?
    What evidence? Evidence that the universe didn’t have a beginning? Evidence that life arose spontaneously? Evidence of what?

    We all know how IDists and creationists or anyone even suggesting that Darwinism has problems gets treated – both in academia and in the work field.

    So you’re 99.9% figure is obviously not only wrong but I suspect you made it up on the spot to add the illusion of support to your statements.

    You’re not paying attention to whats going on at all and you don’t understand the issues or the evidence.

    …counterproductive to imply that the sucess of “Darwinism” is down to lies and misrepresentations rather then simply having the weight of evidence on their side?

    Not counter productive. Just the facts. Darwin himself played the hypocrite by deliberately concealing his true materialism. Many of Darwins contemporaries did the same and actually planned on getting rid of religion in society by the use of his theory.

    A visit to TO and other hard line Darwinist sites reveals a clear tendency to downplay or blatantly omit data that demonstrates anything contrary to Darwinism and to exaggerate anything that seems to support it.

    You’re barking up the wrong tree here and perhaps you should get your facts straight instead of swallowing the Darwinist party line hook line and sinker.

  19. Let’s see Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Pasteur et al., all understood that science was a way to undestanding “God’s” Creation

    As a thought experiment do you think that those people you mention would have been able to enjoy the same sucess if they had been openly atheist?

    They had a choice and choose the obvious- that sheer dumb luck is NOT a viable alternative.

    Ya see I say these guys were like they were BECAUSE of the data.

    And had Charles Darwin been aware of the workings of a cell he would not have proposed his “theory”.

    The point is rather that I don’t recall seeing “god” in any of Newtons equations.

    Youy wouldn’t. Ya see it is as I said- they were uncovering “God’s” handy-work.

    Do archaeologists have (place designer here) in their equations? No.

    IOW it appears you do not know what you are talking about.

    Is it your contention that theistic scientists produce better results then atheist scientists?

    What results have atheistic scientists made in the name of undirected processes?

    Can atheistic scientists even put undirected processes in a testable hypothesis?

    Also I see biologists and philosop[hers switching to ID or Creation. Yet I have not seen the opposite.

    Why is that?

  20. However, as you are a creationist and creationism has been rejected by 99.9% of the scientific establishment on the basis of the evidence,

    What evidence?

    IOW what evidence demonstrates that a population of bacteria can “evolve” into something other than bacteria?

    Is it experimental data or speculation based on the assumption?

    All the evidence we have demonstrates that life begets life. And organisms reproduce organisms that are like the parent(s).

    So again I ask, what evidence?

  21. I’m not really a Platonist, I just thought it was a cool name. Forgot the password for my other name you see.

    Plus I’m not the only one to use this computer.

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