Louisiana and intelligent design

Ramirez

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It looks like Louisiana is boldly entering the 19th century. And here I thought the age of stupidity was ending next Tuesday.

http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/01/louisiana-creat.html

Louisiana Creates: New Pro-Intelligent Design Rules for Teachers

Last year, Louisiana passed the Louisiana Science Education Act, a law that many scientists and educators said was a thinly veiled attempt to allow creationism and its variants into the science classroom. On Tuesday, the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted a policy that sharpens those fears, giving teachers license to use materials outside of the regular curriculum to teach "controversial" scientific theories including evolution, origins of life, and global warming. Backers of the law, including the Louisiana Family Forum, say it is intended to foster critical thinking in students. Opponents insist its only purpose is to provide a loophole for creationists to attack the teaching of evolution.
"We fully expect to see the Discovery Institute's book, Explore Evolution, popping up in school districts across the state*," says Barbara Forrest, a philosopher at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank, is a proponent of Intelligent Design. In a statement on the institute's Web site, its education analyst Casey Luskin hailed the new policy as a "victory for Louisiana students and teachers." The policy will now be printed in the Louisiana Handbook for School Administrators, which public school officials use as a guide.

State education officials tasked with translating last year's law into policy drafted a document that explicitly prohibits teachers from teaching intelligent design, but on 2 December, board members deferred a scheduled vote. Forrest says the advocates of the law used the delay to pressure education officials to remove that language and a disclaimer saying that religion should not be taught under the guise of critical thinking. On 13 January, the 11-member board unanimously approved a policy that contains no such caveats.
Education officials have defended the revision, arguing that it already includes language barring the use of materials that promote any religious doctrine. But Patsye Peebles, a retired science teacher who served on a committee that helped the education department draft the original policy language, thinks otherwise. "The creationists got what they wanted. We will have to redouble our efforts to educate our teachers and get them to teach good science," Peebles says.
 

tellner

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intelligent-design-zoo.JPG
 

Gordon Nore

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"We fully expect to see the Discovery Institute's book, Explore Evolution, popping up in school districts across the state*," says Barbara Forrest, a philosopher at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think tank, is a proponent of Intelligent Design.

I'd be curious to view this book -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explore_Evolution_(book)

My question is, at what age do we start debunking theories taught in school? It's quite a tricky business. When you hand a younger student a text book, the assumption that the student makes is that the contents are true.

Here's the tricky part. Evolution is a theory; moreover, it's a scientific theory. It's not inherently true or false; it's a theory. If teachers are teaching it right, they're telling kids that this is one of the explanations scientists have come up with for the origin of the species. It doesn't have to be debunked if you're presenting it as a theory. In fact, where younger students are making their early fores into science, it should be taught like any other theory -- on its merits first. If you are going to debunk it, you do so with other scientific theories.

...which Intelligent Design isn't. ID is a pseudo-scientific branch of Creationism, also not a scientific theory. It's more like contemporary mythology.

If you want to teach ID, you can do it in a religion class within the context of what some Christians believe. You can probably teach it in a bunch of different contexts. Then you also have to teach that many of the world's Christians are quite comfortable with the idea that we all used to have a lot more hair on us. You can also teach that there are people walking around who believe in the Arc.

None of this, however, should take place in science classrooms.

As for the State of Louisiana making this legislation, well, tsk tsk. There's probably about hundred other things that legislators need to be thinking about when it comes education. BS baffles brains.
 

Empty Hands

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Any defense of this as apolitical and focused on proper education and critical thinking is thrown out the window by the inclusion of all the indicated topics. Including both the "controversy" of evolution and global warming? There is an obvious political agenda at play. Too bad that, as usual, unsuspecting children are the battleground.
 

MA-Caver

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Jesus said... "thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God!"... they've got some s'plaining to do when they get to the pearly gates.
 

arnisador

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One of the many amusing things is, all of this is a topic for a Philosophy of Science class rather than a Science class...and if they were teaching these kids some actual philosophy then this whole problem would likely solve itself.
 

tellner

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Caver, I've always preferred "Thou shalt not use the Lord thy G-d like unto a political football."
 

MA-Caver

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Caver, I've always preferred "Thou shalt not use the Lord thy G-d like unto a political football."
yeah that too... :rolleyes:

Love to sneak in there one night and put in a sasquatch (if I could catch one) ... that'd bend their minds wouldn't it? :lfao:
 

Andrew Green

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Here's the tricky part. Evolution is a theory; moreover, it's a scientific theory. It's not inherently true or false; it's a theory. If teachers are teaching it right, they're telling kids that this is one of the explanations scientists have come up with for the origin of the species. It doesn't have to be debunked if you're presenting it as a theory. In fact, where younger students are making their early fores into science, it should be taught like any other theory -- on its merits first. If you are going to debunk it, you do so with other scientific theories.

No, not at all. Evolution is a fact, it happened and is still happening. Like gravity. We have a theory describing how it works, same as with gravity.

Saying Evolution may or may not actually occur as it is just a theory is like claiming atomic weapons may or may not actually work as it is only "The Atomic Theory"
 
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Ramirez

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Saying Evolution may or may not actually occur as it is just a theory is like claiming atomic weapons may or may not actually work as it is only "The Atomic Theory"

I think you are preaching to the converted here...Gordon (and he can correct me) is saying it is a theory and not inherently true or false because it is testable (and it has been tested and is still being tested and has passed all the tests) as opposed to intelligent design which is not testable, ID reduces to " god did it" and there ends the endeavor.

atomic theory is also a theory, and is still being tested.

There is the little chink in the armor where creationists charge through because any good scientist will admit that a theory can be proven false if empirical evidence to the contrary is made evident.

Of course opponents of evolution will try to equate a scientific theory with theory in the vernacular and equivocate it to "wild *** guess".
 

arnisador

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There is the little chink in the armor where creationists charge through because any good scientist will admit that a theory can be proven false if empirical evidence to the contrary is made evident.

Indeed--per Karl Popper, anything else is not a scientific theory!
 

Carol

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The debate about evolution has devolved to "Fact or Fiction" partly because of of the misunderstanding about the term theory. The language, must be taken in to account.

Example: fracture. In general English, the term can be used to describe breaking or destruction (fractured confidence), or it can represent a division (fractured process) or it can describe exceeding the limits or rules (fractured boundary).

However, if my blood pressure is off the charts, my doctor does not tell me I have "fractured blood pressure". If my doctor tells me that I have a fracture, he's referring to something very specific: the physical breaking or rupture of living tissue. This is the medical definition of the term fracture.

In general English, the word theory refers to many things, it can mean a conclusion, it can also mean speculation and conjecture.

However, in a scientific application, a theory is a principle derived from a systematic analysis of a set of facts. It does not mean "scientific guesswork".

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theory

1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another

2: abstract thought : speculation

3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art <music theory>

4a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action <her method is based on the theory that all children want to learn> b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances often used in the phrase in theory<in theory, we have always advocated freedom for all>

5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena <the wave theory of light>

6a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation

b: an unproved assumption : conjecture

c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject <theory of equations>
 

Twin Fist

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i remember when i was in the Navy's electronics school, and they informed us that while they can prove that electricity works, they really have no idea HOW it works cuz they cant really observe it.
 
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Ramirez

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i remember when i was in the Navy's electronics school, and they informed us that while they can prove that electricity works, they really have no idea HOW it works cuz they cant really observe it.

That is true of gravity as well, cosmology , quantum mechanics....a lot of phenomena can only be observed through second hand effects.
 
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