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packsaddle

The good guys win again

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OGE (and others)

 

Again: Evolution is not a theory. Evolution is a FACT. The evolution of biological systems over geologic spans of time is a demonstrated fact. What is a theory is the mechanism by which evolution proceeds; natural selection is currently the best explanation.

 

Hence, the "theory of evolution by means of natural selection". It's the natural selection part that is the theory, not the evolution part.

 

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Backpacker,

 

None of my posts were purposefully composed to communicate hate. I've always tried to support my points with reason (although it's difficult to account for nearly 2000 posts). Still, I apologize if you felt some of my words appeared hateful.

 

A side note: Most so called "primitive", indigenous, tribal cultures embrace the idea of a supreme Creator in the design of the universe. So you see the whole idea of ID pre existed Christianity by thousands of years, it is not a new idea or the province of just one religion.

 

Your last words support the argument that ID is not an exclusively Christian viewpoint. Which is one of the reasons, I find this ruling offensive. In fact, there are some in the scientific community that support the ID theory. As I mentioned earlier, empirical data exists which suggests there is an intelligent design to our world and its inhabitants. No matter what the numbers are, pro and con, I've always thought that scientists were supposed to be open to all theories that could not be disproved. Could someone show me the evidence that disproves the possibility of ID?

 

Fishsqueezer,

 

My point was not that rule #6 (changes are made as new data is discovered) was a weakness per se. My point was that the existence of this rule demonstrates that the laws of nature and physics as we know them are dynamic not necessarily stable and trustworthy. It is in effect, a disclaimer (i.e. be forewarned, these are the facts as we think we know them until new evidence forces us to make revisions or abandon this theory). Granted, many years of research are often generated in an attempt to fortify a theory, such as evolution. However, other theories are often ignored and/or scoffed at because much of the scientific community has locked themselves into a worldview which does not permit these other perspectives. ID is one such example. Because ID might support a religious viewpoint, it is automatically discounted and ignored. This is not a scientific approach. It is a bigoted approach, which this ruling supports. If the scientific community is truly interested in finding truth, then it should use the same approach to ID as it does with evolution. Assume that it may be valid until evidence can be produced that says otherwise.

 

Trevorum,

 

Evolution is a FACT.

 

Within the last ten years, the age of the universe has been revised several times, ranging from 8 to 20 billion years old. Hubble Space Telescope is partly to "blame". They keep making new discoveries. My guess is - when JWST is in orbit, the numbers will be revised again. Now I realize a few billion years amongst friends is no big deal, but the plain truth is, everyday the so-called facts change. So proclaiming something as FACT does not necessarily impress me.

 

TheFourGuardians,

 

While your assurances are kind and no doubt sincere, I don't find them credible. No, I don't believe that a league of secular scientists is meeting in a star chamber to plan their next attack. However, I do believe there is an incredibly strong bias within their community that stifles any kind of thought that can be remotely linked to a religious view, especially Christianity. Science and religion are not necessarily mutually exclusive. To make such an assumption is bad science. It's a conclusion derived without any proof. However, in todays world, this conclusion is quickly drawn and applauded without thought.

 

To All,

 

I like science. I trust most of its conclusions and I appreciate the men and women who spend countless hours trying to solve astonishingly complex problems. However, not every scientist comes to the same conclusion. And in the long run, the majority has not always been proven correct. Since science is not a democracy (i.e. the majority rules) or a dictatorship (i.e. only one voice is to be heard), it should welcome speculation from others, no matter the source. And any supposition supported by empirical data should be examined and discussed.(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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Just some comments on the decision. I havn't had time to read the whole thing but there were some interesting parts I did get to.

 

First, by their own admission the defendant's "expert" witnesses in the case(proponents of ID) admit that ID does not meet the generally accepted definition of science.(The accepted definition may be right or wrong, but it is the definition used by the court, and agreed to by both sides. Both sides agreed to the definition of "science" as that proposed by the National Academy of Science, others in the thread have done a pretty good job of explaining what that definition basically is.) They also admitted that they would like to broaden the definition to science include ID. However they also admitted that such a definition would also include Astrology as science.

 

Then there is the out right lieing that the defendants did under oath. After swearing before God to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, board members who imposed the curricullum requirements regarding ID, were caught lieing about their motives when material referenced in the curricullum was examined and testimony regarding board meetings was reviewed.

 

If one reads the decision, it is pretty plain that the Judge or any Judge could come to no other decision other than the one that was reached.

 

The defendant's own expert witnesses agreed the curricullum proposed was not science. The defendants were also caught lieing about their motives. They did not want to introduce an alternative scientific explanation for the diversity of species as they testified, they wanted to introduce religious doctrine into the science class, which is against the law. At least that is the conclusion the Judge came to after examining the testimony and evidence presented in the case. His summary of testimony and the evidence pretty well backs up his decision.

 

If I were a proponent of ID as science, I would not be particularly proud of this group of defendants. They were caught lieing in court in a conspiracy to subvert the Constitution of the United States to teach a specific set of religious ideals to children as scientific theory. No wonder they were all voted out.

 

So if the "Good" guys didn't win, who did?

 

SA

 

 

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Well, I guess we should remember that a belief in ID doesn't explicitly require a belief in God, although that's how many read it. It really only requires the intervention of a higher being. That higher being could be "God", or space aliens, or dolphins, for all we know.

 

I had a biology teacher in high school who chuckled one day when someone answered a question on a quiz, "because God made it that way". His response was "this is science class. Religion is 4th period". What I remember about that is that he didn't say the answer was wrong, just that it didn't fit the context of a science class. On the other hand, it'd be just fine in religion class, where different rules apply.

 

As I said earlier in this thread, intelligent design isn't bad, or even necessarily wrong. Nobody really knows. But, unless we change the rules that science adheres to, ID can't be considered science and shouldn't be taught as science. Should it be taught at all? I think it should. It's simply another attempt to explain the world around us. But, since it doesn't follow the rules of science, it shouldn't be taught as part of science curriculum. It's better suited as a theology topic, or perhaps a philosophy subject, and it should be welcomed in those areas.

 

I follow astronomy. The age of the universe isn't given as a "fact"; it is always an "estimate" based on current knowledge. This is true of all science. I think part of the problem may be that those in the scientific community use a sort of shorthand that assumes that all statements made sort of implicitly include the phrase "as far as we know". And this is good for science; no one assumes anything.

 

Rooster, science does welcome all comers, but they have to be willing to play by the rules that science demands. You can't prove or disprove the existence of a higher being, and so it falls outside the rules that science plays by. That doesn't mean that ID is wrong, just that it isn't fall into what we currently define as science. ID does get a bad "rep" because so many people use it as a "codeword" for creationism, and in the world of creationism, there's only belief, not science.

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Rooster7

I am not sure that you can say that science totally disregards ID out of hand with nary a look to see if it is possible. Remember that ID or creationism was THE explanation for everything for hundreds of years prior to Darwin. Even Darwin was a creationist. It took him years after his voyage to finally convince himself that the data was overwhelming and he only published then after he heard another guy (I don't remember his name but he did butterflies in Asia) was going to publish the same idea. Two guys on opposite sides of the world came to the same conclusion looking at totally different data sets. Evolution was debated with creationism for many years in science and evolution was clearly the most robust explanation. Has ID come up with any new data since Darwin? I have read ID literature and everything they present is an attempt to debunk evolution instead of presenting their case with research. Even the more reasonable ID proponents admit there is no robust proof of their case. A quote from an ID web page:

In essence, ID is a statistical study in which the product is unlikely to occur by naturalistic process alone. For many things, especially in the arena of biology, it is difficult or impossible at this time to generate any kind of statistical model to even do the test. However, this will not always be the case. The biological model for ID will stand or fall on the basis of genetics.

 

 

If they ever come up with their statistical model, then people will be more willing to listen. Until that time evolution is still the most robust explanation of the biotic community

 

 

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Prairie_scouter triggered something I had not thought of about the ID debate.

If ID was allowed to be taught in science classes and students required to study it, would they not have to also have to accept God to pass? Doesn't ID require a belief in the supernatural to be valid? Evolution on the other hand doesn't require a belief nor is it invalid if you do believe. From that standpoint, I can now see why ID should be banned from science classes. Religious, philosophy or sociology classes sure. But not science.

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I'm sitting here typing this and telling myself that I am a fool for doing so as it potentially opens a whole other can of worms. The argument of ID vs evolution reminds me of the whole gay marriage thing. There are those who feel that as long as they love someone, gender shouldn't matter and they should be free to legally marry them. There obviously are those of us who argue that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. The ID/evolution reminds me of this. ID is based on faith and belief, not science. Just like two men should not be married because it is contray to the definition of marriage, ID should not be taught as science.....because it isn't. In both cases, we are talking apples and oranges.

 

I read a lot of conservative commentary, listen to conservative talk radio and wathc a lot of political opinion on the cable news channels. Many of the pundits like to point out the people in the background who support a given cause to show what the true agenda is. For instance, the people who backed Cindy Sheehan. Likewise, who is backing attempts to put ID in the science classroom? Is it scientists or educators or is it religious groups? When you actually look at who organizes and backs these attempts, it is kind of hard to say that ID is science instead of religion.

 

For the record, I'm an evangelical Christian and I believe that God is the creator. How he went about creating is beyond me and the Bible gives pretty simplistic references. It doesn't go into any detail about the process beyond saying that God spoke it into being. That is kind of like saying Eisenhower gave the go ahead for D-Day without explaining what all happened in the days, weeks and months following. I have no problem with ID in the home and church. It is not science and should not be taught as such in a public school classroom.

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I want to make two short points:

 

1) TheFourGuardians jumped into this fray as a Life scout and wrote a long, logical post the equal of any on three pages. I am stunned that only Rooster managed to notice what he posted enough to respond directly to him. Thanks for your insights, TFG. I particularly liked this one:

 

"Do not for a minute doubt the power of theories in science. They guide chemestry in atoms, periodic tables, etc. Physics depends on theories such as Quantam, Superstring, and Relatvity. And in turn, Biology is reduced severely without evolution."

 

which leads me to a second point...

 

2) Theories are not just things to be learned. They are tools to be used. A theory explains observations (ID does this, btw) and also predicts future observations (ID cannot do this). The very best example I can offer is the theory of quantum electrodynamics. This theory makes absolutely no sense, and is expressed as a weird notation of spinning vectors (like clock hands, I mean), but has so far predicted every observation without fail, down to the limits of our ability to measure results. If you are having trouble getting your arms around what theories are and what they are good for, entertain yourself with this particular theory for a bit. I recommend Feynman's _QED_. Even if you have no interest in physics, the introductory material will illlustrate this important facet of scientific theory.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0691024170/103-8454217-0139809?v=glance&n=283155

 

You may now return to your previously scheduled discussion, already in progress...

 

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Very interesting....

 

We need to be carefull of the beliefs we have and we are ready to fight over...we need to have and maintain an open mind. Remember when the smartest people in the world thought that the world was flat and the sun revolved around the earth. Closer to home just a few years ago cholestrol score of 300 was good, Vioxx was the wonder drug, babies had to be laid on their belly, and you could cure everything with an Asprin. Don't forget Y2K.

 

I was taught evolution in high school and have a minor in Biology. I have come to the point in my life that I think it takes more faith to belive in evolution than it does intellegent design. Evolution just leaves too many questions for me. Your own belief may differ. I have a challenge for everyone. Being on this board shows that you have time to spend on the internet. Research some of the websites that are opposite to your belief....see if you have questions....maintain an open mind. You may learn something...

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IMHO I think that ID is creationalism in disquise & not a science. It should not be taught as science in publice schools. ID could be taught in Sunday School or other religious classes in a house of worship.

 

Judy

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Part of the problem with folks accepting ID as a focus for scientific study is their mindset. Since preschool, weve been programmed by public institutions, educational television, and by other trusted sources to view any subject with links to faith in a certain way. We have this notion ingrained in us which says, all things associated with faith must be relegated as a personal matter which is wholly subjective and purely spiritual in nature, and as such cannot be substantiated in the physical world. Many have chosen to close their minds to the possibility that proof of ID exists, and consequently they will never find such proof achieving a self fulfilling prophecy which is entirely contrary to the goals of science. This is very ironic indeed. If we are compelled to summarily assign and confine all such ideas as being religious and unworthy of argument, merely because they may give credence to the existence of God, then we can no longer claim to be seekers of truth. Every good scientist should be willing to suspend the paradigm, if not break it, as he deciphers truth no matter where that truth leads him.(This message has been edited by Rooster7)

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From Rooster7:I've always thought that scientists were supposed to be open to all theories that could not be disproved.

 

 

Well, that's true when it is indeed a theory. Unfortunately what you have is an unfalsifiable hypothesis. One I believe, of course, but not a scientific theory.

 

 

http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/buzz/dinoscience.html

 

Section 4

 

 

 

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Rule #4 seems silly to me. Ultimately the goal of science should be to discern truth. What about life on other planets? Is this something we should discuss in a science class? How does rule #4 apply to this subject?

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fullquiver writes:

Remember when the smartest people in the world thought that the world was flat and the sun revolved around the earth.

 

Pythagoras figured out that the earth was a large sphere and Eratosthenes accurately measured the size of the earth to within 50 miles 2200 years ago. Only ignorant people thought the earth was flat.

 

They did go in for geocentrism, but I'd be against teaching geocentrism in public schools, too. Anyone arguing that intelligent design ought to be taught in public schools will have a hard time keeping out geocentrism. Some creationists are also geocentrists (and/or flat earthers).

 

But that's what will happen if you justify teaching non-science as science - there's no obvious stopping point. If you go by popular beliefs of non-scientists, better start teaching astrology in astronomy class, and since an appallingly large percentage of people in the US seem to not even know that the earth orbits the sun, dust off geocentrism too. And since the vatican still has classes in exorcism, equal time for the demon theory of diseases.

 

"You know, medicine is not an exact science, but we are learning all the time. Why, just fifty years ago, they thought a disease like your daughter's was caused by demonic possession or witchcraft. But nowadays we know that Isabelle is suffering from an imbalance of bodily humors, perhaps caused by a toad or a small dwarf living in her stomach."

-- Theodoric of York, Medieval Barber

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