A dark day

…the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

The 6-4 vote was a victory for ‘intelligent design” advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power…

…In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

MSNBC

This is one of the reasons that I fear Christianity as it is practiced in America, especially by the far right conservative movement. As a Religion, it seems bent on legislating it’s point of view. Forcing everyone to agree with them. Abolishing freedom of religion and choice.

Some in this country seem to wish nothing more then to take away the freedom of choice that they believe God himself gave to us. Now they want to even change our definition of science? I have no problem with ID being taught in school – as a religious theory, in a religion class. Science and religion are two very different things, and should be treated as such.

Our schools should be a place where our young are taught to think and to reason. If religion is to be taught, then all of them should be explored. Christianity, Wicca, Buddhism and the rest. However, it is my opinion that Religion should not be taught in schools at all. That is best left to the parents.

Everyone should have the freedom to raise their children as they see fit. Even Christian fundamentalists.

Update: and from the picture on the linked article, they use Dells. :(

64 thoughts on “A dark day”

  1. <blockquote>Lastly, I have my suspicians about CPUs being magic (demonic in fact) and that their primary purpose is to generate evil (in particular large amounts of cursing.)</blockquote>

    In our line of work we often refer to some machines as being <em>possessed</em>. :)

    It’s interesting how we debate about human life being so special on this planet when we only reside on a very small portion of the Earth.

    I wonder what the creatures that live in the oceans think of us arrogant humans?

  2. As I said, I don’t think either theory offers us much about the origin of life.

    However, the idea that earth life (all of the life we have so far observerd) could not self generate does not automatically mean that other forms of life could not self generate. I am not going to say that it did, I don’t particularly believe that, but it is not internally contradictory as you make it sound. It would not be the ‘place’ that is necessarily special, it could be the ‘life’ in question. Obviously the conditions for a non-carbon based life form, for example, would be dramatically different than our own.

    Let me repeat that I am not advocating this position.

    As far as Dragons go, some of the implications of quatum mechanics do indeed imply alternate Earths and that all possibilities do indeed exists somewhere. I don’t claim to even begin to understand the how or why of that though :)

    Lastly, I have my suspicians about CPUs being magic (demonic in fact) and that their primary purpose is to generate evil (in particular large amounts of cursing.)

  3. So, let me get this straight. Life could not have formed on Earth, because it’s to complex. However, some other place, life could have formed on it’s own, because?

    That makes no sense at all.

    If Life is to complex to have formed on earth, what makes some other place more special? We cannot assume that ‘some where out there’ is all that different from our experiences.

    If we could use that logic, I could state that Dragons roam an alternate earth. I know this because we do not understand why dragons do not exist, therefore they must exist. However I cannot see them, so they must exist ‘some where else’.

    If life could self-generate elsewhere, then it could here. fantasizing about some mystical realm where the laws of physics, biology and statistics work differently is no more then a day-dream – until we find such a place.

    I would chalk that up to Magic as well.

    As far as magic goes… Evolution does not posit magic. It comes out and says: We don’t know this yet. Lack of knowledge =/= belief in magic. Lack of knowledge == a thirst to find out (at least for me).

    Just because we do not understand something does not make it magic. I would hope that we have gotten beyond that. I see a computer CPU humming along – I understand what it does, but not how. Does that make it magic?

  4. ID and Evolution are both very weak at dealing with the origin of life. When it boils down to it, both views say there was not life, and then the magic happened and there was life.

    At least ID has some explanation for the magic, however poor.

    While some ID proponants make an absolute claim that life cannot naturally spontaneously appear from non-life, most limit their criticism to life on earth. If we want to play around with the Alien concept, we would also have to realize that conditions for our hypothetical aliens could have been radically different. Without knowing the history of our hypothetical designer it is impossible to know if the criticisms of the ID crowd would be relevant to that as well.

    If we want a supernatural (and hence extra-universal) designer, then all speculation pretty much is futile as we don’t even know what natural laws would govern such a place.

    However, we could introduce life to an unliving world and channel it’s development. We wouldn’t have to worry about spontaneous generation as there is already plenty of life that we could use as a starter.

  5. <blockquote>As far as the biology goes, we could do it ourselves</blockquote>

    At this time, no we could not.

    ID is tied to religion. Inherent in it is a belief in a God/Godhead. After all, if ID is correct and life could not evolve out of non-life, then the Alien theory is right out of the window as well. After all, who ID’ed them? After enough layers, we get to the beginning of the universe, and things get quite dicey.

    ID has to have a supernatural explanation. That explanation also fails the first cause logic as well, but that is another story…

    :)

  6. I might buy off on ID possibly fitting into Evolution.

    In-other-words, it’s always possible that someone manipulated our planets natural evolution by either "planting" us or doing some other sort of manipulative experiment. Where I won’t capitulate is that someone created the Earth from scratch. I’m a firm believer in the natural order of things.

    It’s important for me to point out, that even though I believe in the possibility that some sort of ID could have affected our natural progression, I am not going to join in the ID drum beating until that time in which someone uncovers the secret underground laboratory the engineer’s used, or whatever the source of this so-called Intelligent Design.

    Until the time proof of ID is revealed, I hold the more plausible truth that our science to date has shown us, that adaptation and evolution has occurred, is occurring now, and will continue in our future.

  7. <blockquote>It is nice to see Tsykoduk finally admit that falsifiability isn’t the beginning and the end of science.</blockquote>

    Um.. I don’t think that I ever said that. What I did say was "Lack of disproof is not a basis for a theory".

  8. Peace Sucks!

    Hehe

    It is nice to see Tsykoduk finally admit that falsifiability isn’t the beginning and the end of science.

    As to some of the specifics with SETI, the Drake equation is not, in my opinion, Science at all, although it is a useful to play with. Where there is science in SETI is theories on how to differentiate random patterns from intelligence based patterns. Obviously methods to detect patterns and radiations from deep space is also science, although SETI is probably not the driver of that science.

    That remains my fundamental point. I think it is science to create a hypothesis and eventually theories on how to tell the difference between intelligent and natural occurances. We do it with SETI, We are trying to do it with ID, and we do it all the time in Archeology and Anthropology. Obviously, that last is much easier because we are limiting our exploration to human intelligence and activities, which we know a great deal about.

    I don’t find ID to be any more or less tied to religion that evolution. I could easily fit in atheism to ID, particularly since it is pretty obvious that if ID is true, the number of direct changes to our evolution is limited. As far as the biology goes, we could do it ourselves (getting somewhere to do it and having the patience to keep on the project for a billion years or so is another matter, but certainly doesn’t take Godlike intelligence)

    Indeed, ID seems to me to be much harder to reconcile to the major religions than evolution is. A God who was as clumsy as the designer of ID doesn’t fit at all with the Supreme being meme. Evolution is dramatically more elegant.

  9. I disagree that I missed the boat on Mr. Adams’ article. I got a point from it that he does actually make (one of several). What has been equally interesting has been reading posts to his site behind his initial post. They run in many of the same directions the posts here on Tsykoduk’s site are going. Hot topic…lots of views.

    I think SETI is a great idea. I’m all for it. I think if we ever did find evidence of intelligent life in the universe outside Earth (assuming we ourvselves count as "intelligent" ;) ) it would go a long way to uniting our world into a more peaceful place. Peace is good…I hope we can all agree on THAT at least!

  10. This seems timely to Tsykoduk’s continuing string here on his blog. It is a news article from the AP posted today on CNN.com:

    LAWRENCE, Kansas (AP) — Creationism and intelligent design are going to be studied at the University of Kansas, but not in the way advocated by opponents of the theory of evolution.

    A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies."

    "The KU faculty has had enough," said Paul Mirecki, department chairman.

    "Creationism is mythology," Mirecki said. "Intelligent design is mythology. It’s not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not."

    Earlier this month, the state Board of Education adopted new science teaching standards that treat evolution as a flawed theory, defying the view of science groups.

    Although local school boards still decide how science is taught in the classrooms, the vote was seen as a major victory for proponents of intelligent design, which says that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

    Critics say intelligent design is merely creationism — a literal reading of the Bible’s story of creation as the handiwork of God — camouflaged in scientific language as a way to get around court rulings that creationism injects religion into public schools.

    John Calvert, an attorney and managing director of the Intelligent Design Network in Johnson County, Kansas, said Mirecki will go down in history as a laughingstock.

    "To equate intelligent design to mythology is really an absurdity, and it’s just another example of labeling anybody who proposes [intelligent design] to be simply a religious nut," Calvert said. "That’s the reason for this little charade."

    Mirecki said his course, limited to 120 students, would explore intelligent design as a modern American mythology. Several faculty members have volunteered to be guest lecturers, he said.

    University Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Monday he didn’t know all the details about the new course.

    "If it’s a course that’s being offered in a serious and intellectually honest way, those are the kind of courses a university frequently offers," he said.

  11. Falsifiability =/= Science.

    The very statement that all science must be falsifiable is a non-falsifiable statement, therefor, if you use it as a litmus test for ‘real science’ it fails itself.

    Falsifiablity is a part of measuring a theory – but it’s not the be all or end all. For example, say that I can produce a million dollar bill. Before I produce it, the theory ‘Tsykoduk can produce a million dollar bill’ cannot be falsified. However, if I were to produce it, the theory that I can produce a million dollar bill is true. If I do not produce it, then we will not give much credence to that theory.

    ID is in that boat exactly. They have made some big claims. When they are asked for their evidence, they dodge the question or use the gaps in our current understanding as evidence.

    In my using of Drake’s equation, I used the chances for life to spring forth that ID’ers have quoted, and that I referenced in an earlier post. Even if it were a billion to one it still works. A hundred billion to one works. It’s just statistical evidence. Not empirical (of course), but evidence non the less.

    Every time that I have asked for ID’s evidence, I have gotten no response. You cannot posit a scientific theory with out any evidence. That would be a religious theory. :)

  12. Da Duk and I were discussing whether or not it would be ok to discuss SETI in science class and not ID. Personally I agree that SETI is essentially in the same boat with ID and really does not have much place in a science class.

    The Tsyko disagrees as I’m sure he’ll comment on next. :)

    Even though SETI and ID are trying to use scientific methods to prove their search is based on some sort of reality, neither one has yet to bring anything to the table to back up their claim.

    Until that day, both SETI and ID are still searching for acceptance by the scientific community as a whole. Neither have achieved that distinction yet.

    <blockquote>In my mind, those who oppose teaching this are not motivated as much by a love for science, as they are for a hatred of the idea that this might comfort people who have a religious view of the world. – Dave Justus</blockquote>

    Neither love nor hatred motivate my opinion on this topic. I am motivated, as I have always been, by truth and reality.

    I like a good fantasy as much as the next guy, but not when it comes to teaching it as factual in my children’s school.

    Personally, if someone finds comfort in believing in ID more power to them. I am not against religion or its teachings, and I don’t give one iota of concern about those who want to believe that some super being with a cosmic erector set built our planet.

    You can say all you want to that you can think ID can also be approached as not being tied into religion, but if ID is claiming that biology has been manufactured somehow, then the engineer behind such a colossal feet could only be godlike when compared to us.

    Evolution, on the other hand, can easily slip into many religions without making too much of a ripple on the surface. Who cares if some points conflict with the religious teachings, how would that be any different then many religions already are? :)

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