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The Opposition Facing High School Biology Teachers Who Support ID

Below are two emails forwarded to me from a friend of mine along with his commentary. To protect my friend, I’ve given all the individuals here pseudonyms. My friend here is “Kevin Nichols.” He’s a Ph.D. high school biology teacher who supports ID. His principal is “Lauren Long.” And the parent opposing ID is “Serge Abrams” (with son “Ryan”).

Subject: FW: A concern…
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 17:53:22
From: “Kevin Nichols”
To: William A. Dembski

Dear Bill,

Obviously, I couldn’t slip one by that goalie!

When the “Designer Science” class got axed, I instead got approval for a class called Adventures in Advanced Science – AAS. (Also shot down was “Adventures in Superlative Science.”) :-)

So in the AAS class syllabus I included a possible topic called “Intelligent Design” among a list of two dozen other choices from which the students would pick. The next day the e-mail below hit the principal’s office [Lauren Long]. Funny thing was the guy’s kid is not even in the class, but I know he’s good friends and of like mind with another dad whose kid is. This was quite a betrayal because I know the second dad very well (that’s why his surrogate had to do the dirty deed), and I know I have helped his son get lots of sound science education the last two years. This shows primordial soup is thicker than blood. So there it is, a parent of a kid not even in an elective class, with a list of topics that students are free to select or reject, and we get the letter below. My principal told me to drop it or else, but kindly suggested I could go seek board approval to have it added to the curriculum. (Shouldn’t take but a few minutes to accomplish that.)

[snip]

How’s it going with you? Got any good battles underway yourself?

Kevin

———-
From: Lauren Long
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 3:32 PM
To: Kevin Nichols
Subject: FW: A concern…

KEVIN, SEE ME ON MONDAY ABOUT THIS…THIS IS THE SECOND PARENT I HAVE HEARD FROM.

BECAUSE OF MY MEETING ON MONDAY AT THE [snip], I WILL NEED TO MEET WITH YOU AT 8:00 SHARP. I WILL ASK SOMEONE TO COVER YOUR CLASS. PLEASE COME DOWN ASAP WHEN YOU ARRIVE.

———-
From: Serge Abrams
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 2:28 PM
To: Lauren Long
Cc: Kevin Nichols
Subject: A concern…

Mr. Lauren Long,

I just wanted to pass on concern I had for a topic which appeared in Ryan’s list of suggested research topics for Dr. Nichol’s exploratory. I am familiar with the agenda behind the Intelligent Design movement and am very uncomfortable seeing this in the curriculum. I would not want to get into any arguments about the scientific validity of this as I am in agreement with the scientific community that this does not muster as any sort of real science.

I do understand that this is an elective topic but if it is specifically identified in a list that students must choose from then I think other faith based topics would have to be offered as well (which clearly would not be allowed). Particularly important here is that I understand that students would be lectured (by their peers) and tested on the topic. While I certainly respect others religious beliefs I prefer to be responsible for my children’s religious education which we do through our church.

Thank You,
Serge Abrams

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13 Responses to The Opposition Facing High School Biology Teachers Who Support ID

  1. “I am familiar with the agenda behind the Intelligent Design movement and am very uncomfortable seeing this in the curriculum. I would not want to get into any arguments about the scientific validity of this as I am in agreement with the scientific community that this does not muster as any sort of real science.”

    well,
    all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldnt put humpty dumpty back togather again… -how is that different from darwinisim ?
    hmmmm…. i wonder.

    Charlie

  2. Charlie

    This type of comment You just made often pops-up in context of ID-darwinism debate. Whether darwinism is propelled by a unscientific agenda is of no relevance to whether ID is (and it is, IMhO) Neither of this options cancels the second one out. Maintaining a polichromatic worldview instead of a monochromatic one is crucial.

    Sblank Poland

  3. Here’s what parents should be writing:

    “I am familiar with the agenda behind the anti-Intelligent Design movement and am very uncomfortable seeing strictly Darwinism in the curriculum. I would not want to get into any arguments about the scientific validity of this as I am in agreement with many prestigious scientists that this does not muster as any sort of real science.”

  4. I think it musters as some sort of science. If anyone is into argumentum ad auctoritate- Mike Gene and Behe accept vast body of the darwinian theory. Now how could that be?

  5. “I am familiar with the agenda behind the Intelligent Design movement and am very uncomfortable seeing this in the curriculum. I would not want to get into any arguments about the scientific validity of this as I am in agreement with the scientific community that this does not muster as any sort of real science.”

  6. “I am familiar with the agenda behind the Intelligent Design movement and am very uncomfortable seeing this in the curriculum. I would not want to get into any arguments about the scientific validity of this as I am in agreement with the scientific community that this does not muster as any sort of real science.”

    I would definitely agree with Qualitative’s former statement. Seeking design and having methods of deducing such phenomenons is perfect science. Go ahead and ask the archealogists. Better yet, go ask the astronomers down in SETI.
    Without intelligence we wouldn’t know anything about ancient cultures, fingerprints, DNA and the like. So, think about your statement that you just said, and reconsider.

  7. Please erase my third post!

  8. If intelligent design theorists “accept the vast body of Darwinian theory” then the converse is true. Darwinian theorists accept the vast body of intelligent design theory.

    LOL – thanks for pointing that out.

    It’s actually the vast body of empirical evidence that ID theorists accept. The evidence doesn’t “belong” to either theory. Evidence stands alone. Where ID departs is where Darwinists accept some evidence, ignore contradictory evidence, and extrapolate the convenient bits into a speculative narrative explaining the mechanism behind all of evolution from soup to nuts. The intense blind support for the wild extrapolation in the neo-Darwinian narrative is driven by atheists and Christophobes.

  9. The suggested topic doesn’t belong in the science curriculum, simply because there’s no science there in the first place. ID should do the science first.

  10. RM+NS design of novel cell types, tissue types, organs, and body plans is a narrative with no empirical evidence. If that’s science so is ID. Science or non-science is a red herring.

    ID and RM+NS both use the same empirical evidence. In fact the more science that’s done the more ID fits the facts while RM+NS becomes weaker. For example, Behe needed to know the protein complement and intricate structure of the flagella to make one of his arguments. He also needed the exact details of the blood clotting cascade for another. Dembski is a mathematician/philosoper not a laboratory scientist. “ID should do the science first” is another red herring.

  11. DaveScot:

    A great deal of fruitful research has arisen from hypotheses stemming from the RM+NS paradigm. ID can’t even begin to say this. Let’s not also forget that common descent has also been quite fruitful as a scientific research program; unless you’re in agreement that common descent constitutes a fact, your coy tip-toe around this means that your mention of RM+NS is a red herring.

  12. Rubble: Your criticisms are shopworn. Please take them elsewhere.

  13. Rubble says “A great deal of fruitful research has arisen from hypotheses stemming from the RM+NS paradigm.”

    BS. The fruitful research outside of historical biology is performed on living tissue. Whether RM+NS or intelligent design was the mechanism behind speciation in the distant past is of no consequence to modern biology. The relatedness between species is the same in either case and is determined empirically not by application of theory. The usual icon of microevolution held up to endorse RM+NS is acquired antibiotic resistance by bacteria. Keep in mind they’re still bacteria at the end of the day. Even so it’s becoming clearer and clearer that bacteria don’t passively wait around for serendipitous mutations to defeat toxins. When they’re subjected to the toxins they open up mutation floodgates in certain genes to accelerate the process. That’s not a random mutation. It’s a mutation but the bacteria is reactively directing it. So it appears that RM+NS is a lame duck even in the microevolution of bacteria. Another icon held up is the relatedness between rats and humans that enables some amount of drug testing to be done on rats with the expectation that it will have the same effect on humans. Again, whether RM+NS or ID established the relatedness is of no consequence.

    Common descent is very well supported. The codon->amino acid translation table used by ribosomes to build proteins is virtually identical in every living organism. The table could have taken on a practically infinite number of permutations and remained equally functional. It being the same in all living things is about as good a proof as you’re going to get for common descent from a universal ancestor. There’s still a caveat in that common design is equally capable of explaining it and there’s no way to distinguish between common descent and common design. Dembski and Behe both accept an old earth and universal common ancestor – or at the least they don’t attempt to dispute it (both are aware of the caveat). The issue in dispute is whether chance and necessity have the creative power to explain the origin and evolution of life. In this they posit that it does not have that power and that RM+NS is falsifiable both mathematically (complex specified information) and empirically (irreducible complexity).

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