Darwin Foes in US education

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Darwin Foes in US education

#1  Postby Simon_Gardner » Mar 04, 2010 4:24 pm

New York Times wrote:Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets

By LESLIE KAUFMAN
Published: March 3, 2010


“Our kids are being presented theories as though they are facts,” said State Representative Tim Moore of Kentucky.

In Kentucky, a bill recently introduced in the Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss “the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,” including “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”

The bill, which has yet to be voted on, is patterned on even more aggressive efforts in other states to fuse such issues. In Louisiana, a law passed in 2008 says the state board of education may assist teachers in promoting “critical thinking” on all of those subjects.

Last year, the Texas Board of Education adopted language requiring that teachers present all sides of the evidence on evolution and global warming.

Oklahoma introduced a bill with similar goals in 2009, although it was not enacted.

The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general.

Yet they are also capitalizing on rising public resistance in some quarters to accepting the science of global warming, particularly among political conservatives who oppose efforts to rein in emissions of greenhouse gases.

In South Dakota, a resolution calling for the “balanced teaching of global warming in public schools” passed the Legislature this week.

“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant,” the resolution said, “but rather a highly beneficial ingredient for all plant life.”

The measure made no mention of evolution, but opponents of efforts to dilute the teaching of evolution noted that the language was similar to that of bills in other states that had included both. The vote split almost entirely along partisan lines in both houses, with Republican voting for it and Democrats voting against.

For mainstream scientists, there is no credible challenge to evolutionary theory. They oppose the teaching of alternative views like intelligent design, the proposition that life is so complex that it must be the design of an intelligent being. And there is wide agreement among scientists that global warming is occurring and that human activities are probably driving it. Yet many conservative evangelical Christians assert that both are examples of scientists’ overstepping their bounds.

John G. West, a senior fellow with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, a group that advocates intelligent design and has led the campaign for teaching critiques of evolution in the schools, said that the institute was not specifically promoting opposition to accepted science on climate change. Still, Mr. West said, he is sympathetic to that cause.

“There is a lot of similar dogmatism on this issue,” he said, “with scientists being persecuted for findings that are not in keeping with the orthodoxy. We think analyzing and evaluating scientific evidence is a good thing, whether that is about global warming or evolution.”

Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist who directs the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University and has spoken against efforts to water down the teaching of evolution to school boards in Texas and Ohio, described the move toward climate-change skepticism as a predictable offshoot of creationism.

“Wherever there is a battle over evolution now,” he said, “there is a secondary battle to diminish other hot-button issues like Big Bang and, increasingly, climate change. It is all about casting doubt on the veracity of science — to say it is just one view of the world, just another story, no better or more valid than fundamentalism.”

Not all evangelical Christians reject the notion of climate change, of course. There is a budding green evangelical movement in the country driven partly by a belief that because God created the earth, humans are obligated to care for it.

Yet there is little doubt that the skepticism about global warming resonates more strongly among conservatives, and Christian conservatives in particular. A survey published in October by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that white evangelical Protestants were among those least likely to believe that there was “solid evidence” that the Earth was warming because of human activity.

Only 23 percent of those surveyed accepted that idea, compared with 36 percent of the American population as a whole.

The Rev. Jim Ball, senior director for climate programs at the Evangelical Environmental Network, a group with members who accept the science of global warming, said that many of the deniers feel that “it is hubris to think that human beings could disrupt something that God created.”

“This group already feels like scientists are attacking their faith and calling them idiots,” he said, “so they are likely to be skeptical” about global warming.

State Representative Tim Moore, a Republican who introduced the bill in the Kentucky Legislature, said he was motivated not by religion but by what he saw as a distortion of scientific knowledge.

“Our kids are being presented theories as though they are facts,” he said. “And with global warming especially, there has become a politically correct viewpoint among educational elites that is very different from sound science.”

The evolution curriculum has developed far more than instruction on climate change. It is almost universally required in biology classes, while the science of global warming, a newer topic, is taught more sporadically, depending on the interest of teachers and school planners.

But interest in making climate change a standard part of school curriculum is growing. Under President Obama, for example, the Climate Education Interagency Working Group, which represents more than a dozen federal agencies, is making a strong push toward “climate literacy” for teachers and students.

State Representative Don Kopp, a Republican who was the main sponsor of the South Dakota resolution, said he acted in part because “An Inconvenient Truth,” a documentary film on global warming starring Al Gore, was being shown in some public schools without a counterweight.

The legal incentive to pair global warming with evolution in curriculum battles stems in part from a 2005 ruling by a United States District Court judge in Atlanta that the Cobb County Board of Education, which had placed stickers on certain textbooks encouraging students to view evolution as only a theory, had violated First Amendment strictures on the separation of church and state.

Although the sticker was not overtly religious, the judge said, its use was unconstitutional because evolution alone was the target, which indicated that it was a religious issue.

After that, said Joshua Rosenau, a project director for the National Center for Science Education, he began noticing that attacks on climate change science were being packaged with criticism of evolution in curriculum initiatives.

He fears that even a few state-level victories could have an effect on what gets taught across the nation.

James D. Marston, director of the Texas regional office of the Environmental Defense Fund, said he worried that, given Texas’ size and centralized approval process, its decision on textbooks could have an outsize influence on how publishers prepare science content for the national market.

“If a textbook does not give enough deference to critics of climate change — or does not say that there is real scientific debate, when in fact there is little to none — they will have a basis for turning it down,” Mr. Marston said of the Texas board. “And that is scary for what our children will learn everywhere.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
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Re: Darwin Foes in US education

#2  Postby cathyincali » Mar 04, 2010 5:08 pm

Human cloning is a theory?
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Darwin and global warning vs Texas Board of Education

#3  Postby menckenplus » Mar 04, 2010 9:11 pm

Now anti-evolution fundamentalists are linking evolution and global warming. Basically their tactic is to discredit science.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html?hpw

Excerpt: "The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general. "

Excerpt 2: "For mainstream scientists, there is no credible challenge to evolutionary theory. They oppose the teaching of alternative views like intelligent design, the proposition that life is so complex that it must be the design of an intelligent being. And there is wide agreement among scientists that global warming is occurring and that human activities are probably driving it. Yet many conservative evangelical Christians assert that both are examples of scientists’ overstepping their bounds.
"


What I find interesting is these cretins actually believe science should be bounded by religious belief. They actually think it wise to oppose science whenever it threatens their sky daddy. The threat to the US is these folks actually have a great deal of power in shaping the education of young people. In Texas, anyway, a youngster will be taught that science is not to be believed or even respected because it tends to demonstrate crazy things like evidence, proof and the scientific method. American young people are actually being taught to be anti-science.

...and a great country founded on freedom, science and progress crumbles before my eyes.

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Re: Darwin and global warning vs Texas Board of Education

#4  Postby FACT-MAN-2 » Mar 04, 2010 9:43 pm

menckenplus wrote:Now anti-evolution fundamentalists are linking evolution and global warming. Basically their tactic is to discredit science.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/science/earth/04climate.html?hpw

Excerpt: "The linkage of evolution and global warming is partly a legal strategy: courts have found that singling out evolution for criticism in public schools is a violation of the separation of church and state. By insisting that global warming also be debated, deniers of evolution can argue that they are simply championing academic freedom in general. "

Excerpt 2: "For mainstream scientists, there is no credible challenge to evolutionary theory. They oppose the teaching of alternative views like intelligent design, the proposition that life is so complex that it must be the design of an intelligent being. And there is wide agreement among scientists that global warming is occurring and that human activities are probably driving it. Yet many conservative evangelical Christians assert that both are examples of scientists’ overstepping their bounds.
"


What I find interesting is these cretins actually believe science should be bounded by religious belief. They actually think it wise to oppose science whenever it threatens their sky daddy. The threat to the US is these folks actually have a great deal of power in shaping the education of young people. In Texas, anyway, a youngster will be taught that science is not to be believed or even respected because it tends to demonstrate crazy things like evidence, proof and the scientific method. American young people are actually being taught to be anti-science.

...and a great country founded on freedom, science and progress crumbles before my eyes.

Indeed it appears this is the case.

Evangelicism is a rot bug that hollows out anything it infects and its infection continues to spread and reach into the very meat, bones, and sinew that form the foundation of the America we have known and loved. It is a parasitic dis-ease that if allowed to continue will indeed cause the nation to crumble into a screeching, teeming mayhem.

Now me, I decided this was the case 40 years ago and bailed out, as many here know. I left California in 1969 and struck out for British Columbia, immigrating to what appeared to me to be a much saner an far less draconian society. And Canada, despite its own warts, has proven itself to be exactly that, a much saner and far less draconian society.

It's hard to know where the evangelicism of America's educational curriculum will lead, except we can be pretty sure it won't be to any scientific or technological or even cultural nirvana. No, it'll all be downhill and at some point it may well produce a great out-migration of thinking people as they seek saner havens, as I did myseld four decades ago.

When parents in thinking families can no longer send their kids to public schools for fear of them being infected by the evangelicist's too eager rot bugs, they may look abroad for saner places to reside. Some of course have already done this, I have all kinds of expat colleagues in my small rural community and when my wife attended her citizenship court a few years ago there were 175 Americans there smiling as they too received their Canadian citizenship (out of a total of some 250 immigrants present).

America will be left to its Bible pounders, who will wallow in their ignorance and lack of science and technology, without which no modern society can function. They can sit round their campfires and wonder where it all went as they roast in the rising heat of global warming. Ha, ha! We get the last laugh, although admittedly it won't be a very satisfying one. :o
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Re: Darwin Foes in US education

#5  Postby menckenplus » Mar 04, 2010 10:41 pm

Fact-Man: I wish I could object and counter your views. I cannot.

It's hard to know where the evangelicalism of America's educational curriculum will lead, except we can be pretty sure it won't be to any scientific or technological or even cultural nirvana. No, it'll all be downhill and at some point it may well produce a great out-migration of thinking people as they seek saner havens, as I did myself four decades ago.


That is the heart of the matter. The evangelicals are making science the enemy. I fear real education is their enemy. They do not want their children to have the ability to question the 2000 year old book. I don't see how the US can continue to attract great minds to its universities and to its society from other countries, other cultures. They want to eliminate diversity of thought and culture... and "they" are gaining power and influence on the local level as well as in national politics.

Oddly, history is their enemy as well. They wish to use their influence to reshape... reinterpret American history particularly the religious and political views of the founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson wouldn't be elected dog catcher in today's America. Yet they claim to love the founding fathers.

There are no words to describe my disgust with these people.
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Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets

#6  Postby Lazar » Mar 10, 2010 12:13 pm

Critics of the teaching of evolution in the nation’s classrooms are gaining ground in some states by linking the issue to global warming, arguing that dissenting views on both scientific subjects should be taught in public schools.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/scien ... imate.html :o
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#7  Postby wonka08 » Mar 10, 2010 3:44 pm

Both views be taught in public schools? Bullshit. Science is about what is backed up by evidence and what we can know. This would be like a physics classroom teaching the luminiferous ether hypothesis.
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#8  Postby Shaker » Mar 10, 2010 4:55 pm

I'm all for teaching all sides of any issue provided that there actually are at least two sides to any issue in the first place. This isn't the case with a lot of things and it certainly isn't the case with evolution.
To be boosted by an illusion is not to live better than to live in harmony with the truth ... these refusals to part with a decayed illusion are really an infection to the mind. - George Santayana
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#9  Postby natselrox » Mar 10, 2010 4:57 pm

Why is it that most evil guys turn out to be evil from all angles?
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#10  Postby Lazar » Mar 10, 2010 5:04 pm

natselrox wrote:Why is it that most evil guys turn out to be evil from all angles?

:lol:
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#11  Postby dionysus » Mar 10, 2010 6:22 pm

Yes, let's also teach holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracies, that the Moon landing is a hoax, and that our politicians are all reptilian aliens in history class. Teach the controversy!

EDIT: Why is it that stupid people always seem to get their way? If it wasn't for the fact that they're going to be harming children (specifically their chances of getting a career in any scientific discipline AND their chances of continuing to live on a lively, green planet), I'd say fuck 'em and let 'em wallow in their ignorance.
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#12  Postby Lazar » Mar 10, 2010 6:28 pm

dionysus wrote:Yes, let's also teach holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracies, that the Moon landing is a hoax, and that our politicians are all reptilian aliens in history class. Teach the controversy!

EDIT: Why is it that stupid people always seem to get their way? If it wasn't for the fact that they're going to be harming children (specifically their chances of getting a career in any scientific discipline AND their chances of continuing to live on a lively, green planet), I'd say fuck 'em and let 'em wallow in their ignorance.


Jerry Coyne:
What’s next? Teach the “controversy” about Western medicine? After all, lots of people believe in homeopathy, spiritual healing and the like. How about vaccination? And shouldn’t history classes debate the controversy about whether the Holocaust actually took place, or whether the Turks committed genocide against Armenians?
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#13  Postby dionysus » Mar 10, 2010 7:10 pm

Lazar wrote:
dionysus wrote:Yes, let's also teach holocaust denial, 9/11 conspiracies, that the Moon landing is a hoax, and that our politicians are all reptilian aliens in history class. Teach the controversy!

EDIT: Why is it that stupid people always seem to get their way? If it wasn't for the fact that they're going to be harming children (specifically their chances of getting a career in any scientific discipline AND their chances of continuing to live on a lively, green planet), I'd say fuck 'em and let 'em wallow in their ignorance.


Jerry Coyne:
What’s next? Teach the “controversy” about Western medicine? After all, lots of people believe in homeopathy, spiritual healing and the like. How about vaccination? And shouldn’t history classes debate the controversy about whether the Holocaust actually took place, or whether the Turks committed genocide against Armenians?


Yup, exactly. It may seem like a slippery slope, but it's legitimate in this case because once our nation's youth get the idea that science can't be trusted and that even the best supported and foundational theories don't mean jack shit compared to ideology, there's really no limit to what "controversy" people will want to teach. Suddenly, any group that is sufficiently large enough and loud enough can attack any valid theory that they want. Granted, I don't think our current scientific understanding should be taught as gospel and I want our students aware of the fact that everything isn't written in stone, but the point of science class is for kids to learn about science, not to decide which theories to accept and which ones to reject despite having absolutely no expertise in the subject. It's comparable to making grade school math students balance our country's budget. If these idiots want to "teach the controversy and let the students decide", they should also be willing to let these same students run the nuclear reactors in their state and run their hospitals because giving them the power to decide what constitutes valid science and what doesn't is just as stupid, though, of course, not as immediately threatening.
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Re: Teach the controversy - Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targe

#14  Postby chairman bill » Mar 10, 2010 7:18 pm

Will churches start teaching the controversy about whether christianity is or is not absolute bollox? I can just hear the Rev. Bubba Redneck now ...

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