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ATS: Professor to Testify Against Evolution

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posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 04:09 AM
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The "Evolution vs Intelligent Design" debate has moved into a federal courtroom in Harrisburg, where Professor Michael Behe is scheduled to testify this week in a landmark case that will determine whether a public school district can include a information about intelligent design in its curriculum.
 



www.newsday.com
For more than a decade, the tenured Lehigh University biochemistry professor and author has been one of the nation's leading proponents of intelligent design, a movement trying to alter how Darwin's theory of evolution is taught in school.

This week, Behe will testify in a federal courtroom in Harrisburg in a landmark case about whether students in a Pennsylvania classroom should be required to hear a statement before their evolution classes that says Darwin's theory is not a fact.

"The fact that most biology texts act more as cheerleaders for Darwin's theory rather than trying to develop the critical faculties of their students shows the need, I think, for such statements," Behe said.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This will be interesting to see how the battle unfolds, since it will effect other public school districts. The evolutionists triumphed twice at the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968 and 1987, but they have yet to win in the court of public opinion. Including intelligent design teaching in schools seems more of an emotional appeal than a scientific one.

This article points towards the motivations and expands on the what may be the ultimate showdown, the holy war on science:
(Christianity vs. Islam) vs. (Fundamentalism vs. Rationality)

Related News Links:
www.twincities.com
www.timesleader.com




posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 08:35 AM
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but they have yet to win in the court of public opinion

Which, of course, is entirely irrelevant, since we're talking about science.

evolutionists triumphed twice at the U.S. Supreme Court

The issue, however, wouldn't've even been in the supreme court if some radical-activists in the creationist movement hadn't tried to sue their way into the schools, rather than, say, establish a respectable science.

The fact that most biology texts act more as cheerleaders for Darwin's theory rather than trying to develop the critical faculties of their students shows the need, I think, for such statements

Why would a high school science text irrationaly criticize such a well established theory? Criticism is how science operates, criticism is good, but blind and irrational criticism, such as that from creationism and its 'bastard child' Intelligent Design ("its not creationism', many would say), is pointless.
Here, btw, is an interesting transaction on Behe's criticism of textbooks:
Behe's Criticism of Evolution in Biochemistry Textbooks

Intelligent Design is largely based upon what IDists call 'Irreducible Complexity', which basically means 'if you break apart something that is really complex, it won't work and the peices have no function'.
Here is an interesting analysis of it:
Irreducible Complexity and Michael Behe
and
Irreducible Complexity or Irreproducible Irreducibility?

Here is a page with some analyses of other works by ID advocates:
Icons of Evolution FAQs
Here is a 'short' refutation of IR:
Claim CB200
external image

And since we are talking about the ID movement trying to use the courts to get their ideology taught in public schools, here are some important related court cases and decisions:
Court Decisions
Here is another relevant page:
A transcript of the evolution hearings held by the Board of Education of Kansas
in May 2005
(includes Behe)

Intelligent Design is primarily fronted today by the Discovery Institute. They present themselves as a think-tank, but they're more of a media advocacy group in some ways. Certainly, they're not too competent in relation to basic science:
Glaring Error

And why are they publishing news parodies, rather than studying the science involved:?
Move over Jon Stewart: The Discovery Institute issues own “fake news”


Also, for those interesting, here is a set of pages that focus on Intelligent Design Creationism from a scientific perspective:
Talk Design

and to be fair let me provide some sites that discuss Intelligent Design from a creationist perspective:
ARN
external image
Discovery Institute and its subsidiary:
The Center for Science and Culture
Bill Dembski's The Design Inference
external image



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 10:07 PM
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Thanks for posting numerous counterpoints to my post, Nygdan.

As for my own personal beliefs, I hoping for science to prove God and end these debates, although I need no proof as a 4x NDE survivor.

Keeping that in mind, I still would still rather not see extremists on either side of the fence pushing an emotional, religous based agenda that can degrade reputable scientific discovery aka Fundamentalism vs. Rationality.



[edit on 18-10-2005 by Regenmacher]



posted on Oct, 18 2005 @ 11:51 PM
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Excellent Post, Nygdan..........

A thought I would like to add on 'Irreducible Complexity'....

Think about the statement....Irreducibe, as in broken down to it's fundamental components....and complexity, as in to difficult to understand.....what we have here...quite possibly, is an oxymoron...

And that really is the underlining of my whole opinion regarding this ridiculous debate on whether or not ID should be taught as a viable scientific theory (it's not.) The whole concept behind the theory is that it's too complex to understand, so why even try...which is absurd. This would truly be a dumbing down of the population by propagating the strategem for cognitive difficulty is too accepting what they are told....God this and that in whatever incarnation they would then choose to recognize.....

It's a cop-out. Plain and simple.

By the way.....I really loved it when our professor here called current curriculum a 'cheerleading session for Darwinism.......really made me laugh. I would question this guys objectivity.......



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 07:49 AM
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The creationism/evolution debate illustrates how politics infiltrates every part of our life. This is not so much a scientific debate as it is claimed, but a political one - it is a power struggle between opposing worldviews.

Personally I think that it just highlights just how wrong our education system can be at times. In school we are too often taught 'truths' about science, history etc which when one reaches further & higher education are revoked.

Evolution is a theory. Yes it is the most dominant scientific theory in our society regarding how life is the way it is but it is still a theory. There are alternative points of view and children should be exposed to them (and indeed the controversy surrounding it). This has powerful cultural ramifcations that our narrow education structure just cannot deal with. Kids are too often taught 'facts' when they should be taught a much broader perspective.

Human knowledge is mostly about different opinions and beliefs. It is foolish to have a hegemonic ideological base that proports your world view to the exclusion of everything else. That is a dangerous path that ultimately leads to ignorance. We need to know the wide sweep of what different theories have opinined in schools, not just be taught parrot-fashion that one theory is correct.

If it makes the slightest bit of difference, I not only have huge doubts over evolution but I also question creationism as well. My hunch is that we are the product of aliens but I somewhat doubt that this would be taught in schools.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 08:16 AM
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kedfr, while I don't doubt the sincerity of your point or even the reasonableness of its presentation, (how do I say this?) that kind of 'fair & balanced' thinking is the problem entirely.


Originally posted by kedfr
Kids are too often taught 'facts' when they should be taught a much broader perspective.


Equal time for anti-facts and the non-scientific in science class?


Human knowledge is mostly about different opinions and beliefs.


And science is about science.

Exposing kids to alternative non-scientific theories sounds like an excellent endeavor for Sunday School (actually that's exactly what Sunday School is) but if you insist that be done in the public education system of our secular government may I suggest a "Religions of the World" class in middle school; not science class.

This is not a struggle between world views for dominance. If it were scientists would be suing for equal time in church. This is a group of lunatics that want to teach voodoo in science class. Ridiculous.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 08:32 AM
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Originally posted by RANT

... may I suggest a "Religions of the World" class in middle school; not science class.

This is not a struggle between world views for dominance. If it were scientists would be suing for equal time in church. This is a group of lunatics that want to teach voodoo in science class. Ridiculous.





You are developing a truly clever way with words RANT - or is it just that never noticed before?

Anyway - thanks for the laff.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 09:18 AM
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Actually the agenda is very simple for creationist and Intelligent design advocates.

Because their own established Christian colleges and Universities already has yield a decent amount of so call Experts in the creation matters not on evolution, even when many claim to be experts of both. With creation all they have to do is Quote the bible and that is the truth and prove you will ever need.

Now they are going after the schools, if you eliminated sciences or at least make it doubtful students will grow up believing what they are told and support by family and Church and match by school.

The goal is for students to reach Universities and to question the science curriculum and make science a dubious subject, it will make it then easier to control the science teachings from grade 0 to college level the end product is not to eliminate science altogether but to control it and keep in a more religious friendly and away from questioning the beginnings of life and the Chrisitian God.

This plan has been in the making for many years now they have the support of politicians.


Most of the so call experts are nothing than self proclaim ones and you can track their records easily.

In science well know experts have records of work because in order to keep their expertise and the respect of the scientific comunity they have to do resarch that is what biology is all about research.

Michael Behe Expertise is base in is own opinions about evolution not because he has proven Intelligent Design to true.






[edit on 19-10-2005 by marg6043]

[edit on 19-10-2005 by marg6043]



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 09:40 AM
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Originally posted by RANT
kedfr, while I don't doubt the sincerity of your point or even the reasonableness of its presentation, (how do I say this?) that kind of 'fair & balanced' thinking is the problem entirely.


Originally posted by kedfr
Kids are too often taught 'facts' when they should be taught a much broader perspective.


Equal time for anti-facts and the non-scientific in science class?


Human knowledge is mostly about different opinions and beliefs.


And science is about science.

Exposing kids to alternative non-scientific theories sounds like an excellent endeavor for Sunday School (actually that's exactly what Sunday School is) but if you insist that be done in the public education system of our secular government may I suggest a "Religions of the World" class in middle school; not science class.

This is not a struggle between world views for dominance. If it were scientists would be suing for equal time in church. This is a group of lunatics that want to teach voodoo in science class. Ridiculous.


While I agree with your argument up to a point (time in class to teach subjects is limited), science is not just about science. It has wider ethical and cultural dimensions that go beyond mere facts and the thorny question of evolution is one of them.

In any case. science is an area of human knowledge. It is not separate to mathematics, the humanities or the social sciences but a rich area of debate, controversy and differing opinions. True, there are some things that are fairly concrete facts (ie. the structure of the human body, basic chemical elements etc) but the higher up you go in school, the more theories come into play. Evolution is the best theory we've got in the origins of humanity and other life on earth but it isn't the only one out there. In any case, if memory serves me correctly I wasn't taught evolution per se in school but a bastardised version of it.

I agree that the whole creationism thing is an example of politics (and said as much in my post). There is a vocal and powerful element who wish to impart this onto children and I felt ambivelant about this. Should their theories be at the expense of evolution theory and indeed running alongside it? No. However, should it be a subset of a class on evolution? Absolutely - as I said earlier, sciences should not be taught outside of culture (and ethics) and I think that as part of evolution teaching, students should be taught of the wider controversy and the alternate arguments. Science is entwined in so many other fields that to treat it as a bubble is just as folly as the fundamentalists who refuse to allow their children to be taught in school because of the fear that they will be 'corrupted' by evolution theory.

Science without touching on the wider cultural and social issues is hugely problematic and should be avoided. A religions of the world class is a great concept unless you live in the US where this does not exist - without exposure to religion in the classroom, the whole creationism/evolution debate is utterly neutered.

In any case, from a personal angle I have a lot of anger as to how topics are taught in school as 'facts', when most of the time they are just the hegemonic theory of the time. History is perhaps the prime example of this, but science isn't that far behind. Maybe it has to be this way as children would be too confused if they were given a number of alternate views on concepts.

In any case, knowledge is always about power and politics: how and what children are taught in schools is an extension of this. From a cultural studies perspective it is just fascinating to sit back and enjoy the show!



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by kedfr
It has wider ethical and cultural dimensions that go beyond mere facts and the thorny question of evolution is one of them.

Anything like that would belong in a philosophy of science class or probably a 'science and society', not a biology class. Evolution is simply a science, if people want to make social issues out of it, well, thats their business, but there's no reason to teach that in a science class.

Evolution is the best theory we've got in the origins of humanity and other life on earth but it isn't the only one out there.

True, there are other theories, but they've been refuted or are non-scientific, so there's no reason to teach them.

In any case, if memory serves me correctly I wasn't taught evolution per se in school but a bastardised version of it.

Thats usually how it goes. Heck, that tends to be how it goes with, well, everything in high school.


sciences should not be taught outside of culture (and ethics)

I really don't see why this should be. Teach students about culture in culture class, and science in science classes. Its simply a waste of time to have students talk about creationism in their biology classes.

as part of evolution teaching, students should be taught of the wider controversy and the alternate arguments.

I'm not sure if that's really wise, most students can barely get a grasp of basic evolutionary theory anyway, if you start throwing in the very subtle disputes that are out there, well, its like pouring a gallon of water into a shot glass, a waste. Personally I'd like it if, say in the future, the basic classes are what would be very advanced classes today, but the educational system in general is just too poor and weak to handle this sort of thing. We don't have students thoroughly research the history of islamic philosophy while also trying to get them to understand what and when the crusades were, we really don't need to have them reading Gould's Structure of Evolutionary Theory in their half year Biology Class.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 10:35 AM
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As I've said before, science is not just about science: there are always social cultural, ethical and moral ramifications. For instance is sex just a biological act or should it be part of 'safe sex' teachings? There is a place for discussions on current scientific issues within science classes - I remember when I was in school having discussions on the rights and wrongs of nuclear power for instance. Also, the rights and wrongs of animal testing are a very real and valid scientific issue and it is not uncommon to be taught in schools. Science is not a bubble: it is a very integral part of our society and should be treated as such. Schools already go beyond the boundaries of 'pure' science in lessons into arenas of science in society.

I do not agree with your suggestion that non-scientific theories or passe theories are irrelevant if they have refuted. It is important to at least know that people once thought the world was flat, or that the Greeks thought that there were four humours in the body even if these theories aren't true. One does not need to study in depth such theories, but it is important that we are taught that they were important world-views of their time and indeed that they were overturned. We at least need to be told that there were once alternative viewpoints to our own and of the notion of changing scientific thought (and 'progress').

In addition, the notion that students have to know the ins and outs of the argument is not really valid. High school students should be able to grasp that what they are learning in school is highly polticised. They don't need to understand the full creatist argument to know that it is there and that there is a significant (if flawed) challenge to the hegemony of evolutionary theory. While it is not necessary to study the history of islamic philosophy to understand the Crusades, it is vital to know the context of Christianity in Medieval Europe if one is to understand the motivation behind the Crusaders. Without the context, knowledge gets sucked out into a vacuum.


[edit on 19-10-2005 by kedfr]



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 11:24 AM
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Behe
The fact that most biology texts act more as cheerleaders for Darwin's theory rather than trying to develop the critical faculties of their students shows the need, I think, for such statements...


He's actually right on this point (and only this point). There is little to no teaching of how to think critically in public schools. Where he's wrong though, is this does not apply only to evolution, but to all subjects, including other branches of science, history, civics, and even math classes.

Children are taught procedurally how to multiply, but are not taught why it works. Civics classes teach the mechanics of a republic, but never discuss it's legitimacy, etc.

Of course, the purpose of public schools is not to teach critical thought, but rather, to create legions of statist advocates with sufficient skills to support the state.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by marg6043
Because their own established Christian colleges and Universities already has yield a decent amount of so call Experts in the creation matters not on evolution, even when many claim to be experts of both. With creation all they have to do is Quote the bible and that is the truth and prove you will ever need.


Certainly true, but I should point out that the "experts in creation" are very few. They did manage to find 400 scientists after 4 years to support their position. Joe R of Shovelbums put up a petition supporting evolution... and within a week had 5,000 signatures from scientists (many were professing Christians, by the way.)

So it's a very minority opinion... and as someone said, it's very political.


Now they are going after the schools, if you eliminated sciences or at least make it doubtful students will grow up believing what they are told and support by family and Church and match by school.

I tend to agree with this cynical assessment. It's a step backward to loss of world power.

And it's really just a Christian agenda. You don't see the Asatru pushing for recognition of Odin as world creator.


In science well know experts have records of work because in order to keep their expertise and the respect of the scientific comunity they have to do resarch that is what biology is all about research.

Exactly. And Behe is, in fact, sneered at by his own colleagues at the college where he works.

Pharyngula and other similar blogs have been following this closely and have noted all the slips and contradictions and misstatements by Behe.

www.pandasthumb.org...

He really was zinged in the New York Times article for his statement that astrology would also qualify as a science along with Intelligent Design:


Witness Defends Broad Definition of Science

Published: October 19, 2005
HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 18 - A leading architect of the intelligent-design movement defended his ideas in a federal courtroom on Tuesday and acknowledged that under his definition of a scientific theory, astrology would fit as neatly as intelligent design.
Link


Pharyngula (a science blog by a science professor/researcher) has been following and collecting the reports: www.pharyngula.com

Mod Edit: Fixed link

[edit on 19-10-2005 by ZeddicusZulZorander]



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 11:43 AM
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Thanks byrd for elaborating.


Originally posted by kedfr
As I've said before, science is not just about science: there are always social cultural, ethical and moral ramifications.


The meaning of science,

Science is a classified and verifiable knowledge of facts concerning nature,
The tools of science are observation, measurement and the scientific
experiment. The sole authority of science is demonstrable truth. The basic instrument of science is the scientific experiment.

Then from the main science meaning it branches into different sciences that cover independant topics like the ones you have mention above.

The moral part of it belong in Social sciences.

You have:

geology,meteorlogy,oceanography,geography,astronomy,botany,zoology,
ecology,chemistry,physics,sociology,psychology,anthropology.

Then Religion is been call a science but the truth is that is belongs in Phylosophy.

The science that is been targeted is biological sciences.



Definition of biological science. Biological science is a branch of science which is defined as the study of life. It provides the fundamental study for biotechnology industry. Biological science has great impact on our lives and stands to have greater impact on them in the future.

Classification of biology. Biological science can be classified into microbiology and macro-biology. Microbiology studies the microstructure of organisms of living things. It focuses on cell theory (cell structure), origins of cells (biochemistry), mechanism of disease (medical sciences), and principles of drugs (pharmaceuticals and pharmacology). Macro-biology studies the linkage, history, theory of evolution of life, and genealogies between the people, between people and animal, and between animals.



www.cs.uiowa.edu...







[edit on 19-10-2005 by marg6043]



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 11:51 AM
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Originally posted by Byrd
Joe R of Shovelbums put up a petition supporting evolution... and within a week had 5,000 signatures from scientists (many were professing Christians, by the way.)

Heck it was so easy to get scientists that supported evolution that one list only accepted scientists named Steve.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 12:16 PM
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Definition of biological science. Biological science is a branch of science which is defined as the study of life. It provides the fundamental study for biotechnology industry. Biological science has great impact on our lives and stands to have greater impact on them in the future.

Classification of biology. Biological science can be classified into microbiology and macro-biology. Microbiology studies the microstructure of organisms of living things. It focuses on cell theory (cell structure), origins of cells (biochemistry), mechanism of disease (medical sciences), and principles of drugs (pharmaceuticals and pharmacology). Macro-biology studies the linkage, history, theory of evolution of life, and genealogies between the people, between people and animal, and between animals.




I'm not asking for a dictionary definition of science or biology - this gets us nowhere. What I have been saying all along is that science should not be treated as a mystical bubble subject separate from everything else. On the contrary, it is a part of a wider sphere of knowledge and is a very real part of our everyday existence. I have been arguing about what should be taught in school science more than 'what is science'. Indeed, the social and cultural implications of science is already taught at High School Level, so aside from the moral repulsion of compromising even an inch with the christian creationist lobbists, the issue of introducing a 'philosophy of science' into scientific classrooms is really a non-issue.

[edit on 19-10-2005 by kedfr]



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 12:33 PM
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Kedfr,

The reason science has been treated A mythical bubble is because the religious pushers trying to control what students learn in public schools they are the ones to blame as to the state of education in our country and specially sciences class.

It will be nice if sciences was given more respect in schools but that is not possible, for the contrary bringing Intelligent design and creationism to the same curriculum as science is actually a mockery to the scientific community.

Science is not a philosophy but religion is, many will love to see religion as a science, history and into anything that is part of the school teachings and science as an elective.



posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 01:21 PM
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Marg6043 - you've got a valid point about why scientists are so protective of science. I'm under no illusions as to the source of creationism & intelligent design - it is a way that a christian lobby is attempting to gain access to American school system. It is an act of politics, pure and simple.

It is a cruel irony that by separating state and religion, and thereby ensure a country with freedom from religious persecution, America has actually became a country with deep religious divisions.

In contrast, over here we have compulsory RE lessons where students learn about world religions and ethical matters and there is no controversy about it. I'm not saying that our eduction system is better (on the contrary there are plenty of problems with it) but by incorporating religion into the curriculum and not effectively repressing religion from school, the evolution/creationism debate is a non-starter.

Unfortunately, this is not a state of affairs that can be replicated in the US due to the constitution. Moreover, I think the founding fathers suspected that the puritans were not moderates who could easily be incorporated into the infrastrature of a secular republic. Today, this integration would be even more difficult in a US which has seen more infractions of extremist religion into politics than ever before.




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