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busy, busy, busy

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mac, this one's for you!

'Call to arms' on evolution
Nearly one-third of science teachers who participated in a national survey say they feel pressured to include creationism-related ideas in the classroom.

And an alarmed science establishment is striking back in defense of teaching evolution...

Says Stephen Meyer of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which promotes intelligent design: "My first reaction is we're seeing evidence of some panic among the official spokesmen for science." He says Alberts is wrong — that intelligent design is not creationism but a scientific approach more open-minded than Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

If by "panic" he means they are scared the theory of evolution is about to crumble, I don't see evidence of any panic. I see evidence of people who are sick, tired, and pissed off at being constantly bullied, misrepresented, and maligned by an obnoxiously loud minority that wants its fairy tale taught to children in science classes.

But there is a general panic. Everybody who cares about science education in this country should panic. One-third of teachers surveyed indicated they have been pressured to either omit evolution-related material in the classroom or present non-scientific religious teachings as alternatives to evolution. This pressure is not coming from the elected officials who make the rules, they are coming primarily from a minority of students and parents (as expressed in the survey), and, presumably, religious groups and school boards acting unofficially. The law is being sidestepped to force religious views in science classes.

And how can a "scientific approach" that seeks only to discover "facts" to support a predetermined conclusion be remotely considered more open-minded than what's currently taught?
Biologists retort that any reproducible data validating intelligent design would be welcome in science journals. "If there were indeed deep flaws in parts of evolutionary biology, then scientists would be the first to charge in there," says Jeffrey Palmer of Indiana University in Bloomington.

Meyer counters that scientific leaders such as Alberts block a fair hearing of evolution alternatives. "There are powerful institutional and systematic conventions in science that keep (intelligent) design from being considered a scientific process," he says.

Those "powerful institutional and systematic conventions" are called science. More specifically, the scientific method. Perhaps if these fools had paid more attention in their science classes instead of hollering about missing links and Piltdown Man, they might have learned about it.
"Oh, baloney; they aren't published because they don't have any scientific data," says Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, co-author of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design.

In his letter, Alberts criticizes Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a leading proponent of intelligent design, as being representative of the "common tactic" of misrepresenting scientists' comments to cast doubts on evolution.

I really hope what we're seeing here is the start of a shift in the direction of this fight, from point-by-point refutations of the "scientific evidence" of the IDers/creationists to direct attacks on the foundation and real motivations of the entire movement.

The message needs to be basic and blunt: This is not about science. This is about ideology and control. Simple.
Behe calls this "outrageous," saying he simply points out that even establishment scientists note the complexity of biological structures.

He counters the charge that he manipulates scientists' ideas to make it appear even they have doubts regarding evolution by manipulating scientists' ideas to make it appear they have doubts regarding evolution. Beautiful.


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