Something must be done about this

This news is over a week old, so please accept my apologies for that. I found it too interesting (and disturbing) to pass up.

According to a survey funded by the National Science Foundation, about one in eight of US high school science teachers presents intelligent design in a positive light. One in eight of our publicly funded science teachers tells students that intelligent design is a viable and scientific explanation of the origin of biological diversity.

In other words, one in eight of US high school science teachers is teaching a falsehood to students.

I suppose this should come as no great surprise. The article also notes that between 12 and 16 percent of high school teachers in the US are creationists, one of six of which come in the young-earth flavor. These numbers line up nicely with the proportion that teach ID.

Regardless of the reason, however, high school teachers cannot be permitted to continue presenting religious doctrine to students as if it were legitimate science. Some steps I can produce from the top of my head for combating this:

  1. Any high school science students who catch their teacher presenting intelligent design should point out the Dover ruling, which effectively banned intelligent design in public classrooms. If that doesn’t work, they should go to the principal, and if that doesn’t shut down the ID lessons, they should go to the National Center for Science Education, or even the ACLU.
  2. Science teaching methods courses in universities should emphasize the central importance of evolutionary theory in biology. I’m sure most already do this (though mine didn’t.)
  3. More science outreach could be instrumental in decreasing the proportion of the public who doubt evolution. For instance, if networks like The Discovery Channel were to show a series of documentaries on evolution, this would put a significant damper on the idea that “evolution is just a theory,” or the idea that there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution accounts for biological diversity. (They could put it in between the shows about retrofitting motorcycles.) This is not something that can be mandated, of course.

Those are just a few ideas from a humble science teacher. In any case, it all comes down to this: it is the teachers who determine what is presented in their classrooms, not the courts. That’s where the change needs to happen.

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3 Responses to “Something must be done about this”

  1. C. David Parsons Says:

    The investigation’s assessment of protracted gradation is far from being new. Darwin was fully cognizant that he could not prove the “theory of evolution” and could not explain its mechanism, especially in so-called well-defined species: the connotation erroneously suggests that there are less-defined or more primitive species when all evidence is to the contrary. The scientific council uses language as a ruse in lieu of documented facts in order to promote protracted gradation; hence, the phraseology is offensive. Again, stability, not variance, is the third law of procreation.

    Darwin’s studies revealed a wide variety of life forms, but what caused these varieties? Again, natural selection was thought to be the answer. In theory, those species best adapted to the environment tend to reproduce more offspring and transmit hereditary improvements (in slight variations); those less able to adapt to the environment leave fewer offspring and eventually die out. After a succession of generations, there is a tendency for the species to adapt to a greater degree, thus, improving the lineage.

    Regrettably, Darwin was unable to grasp the reality of certain rudimental processes which he had observed; for instance, the runt of a litter being abandoned by its parent or a sickly creature preyed upon by a fox or wolf. Although these familiar aspects of procreation are vital to the continuance of the species, the phenomena must not be confused as protracted gradation in the process. Darwin, misguided by his obsession, incorrectly deemed the ritual to be natural selection, when, in truth, he was observing an inherent process of procreation which may be correctly called the guardian of the wild. The familiar process is responsible for weeding out weak and sickly members of the species (i.e., those less likely to survive), not to improve the species but rather as a measure to insure the health and strength of the species as a whole. Make no mistake; new species are not derived by the guardian of the wild.

    Darwin, incognizant of the manifest workings of procreation, attacked the “benevolence” of God, disdaining the guardian of the wild as the “clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horribly cruel works of (Mother) nature.” It revolted his understanding to suppose that God’s “benevolence was unbounded” in such instances (benevolence—”an inclination to perform kindhearted, charitable acts”). Although it may seem a curiosity, those men and women who hate God will always attack His benevolence by asking the questions: If God is so benevolent, why are there wars? Why is slavery so cruel? Why is there so much injustice in the world? And so on. Be it known that one or more transgressions of the holy commandments are the culprits in such instances, not God. A more definitive answer will be forthcoming in Volume 7 of The Quest for Right.

  2. soulbiscuit Says:

    I’m going to break down and respond to Mr. Parson’s entire post, so bear with me; it’s going to take a while.

    The investigation’s assessment of protracted gradation is far from being new.

    What investigation? What is protracted gradation?

    Darwin was fully cognizant that he could not prove the “theory of evolution” and could not explain its mechanism, especially in so-called well-defined species: the connotation erroneously suggests that there are less-defined or more primitive species when all evidence is to the contrary.

    I will not accept this statement until you provide a quote from Darwin that establishes it. Further, I will not accept that this statement accurately reflects modern evolutionary thought until you provide a modern quote to that effect. Your attacks on Darwin alone are disingenuous because evolutionary biology has moved on quite a bit since the Origin.

    The scientific council

    What scientific council? Is this anything like the UN Security Council? The White Council? Zion? Scientists don’t have secret meetings to figure out what everyone should believe.

    uses language as a ruse in lieu of documented facts in order to promote protracted gradation; hence, the phraseology is offensive. Again, stability, not variance, is the third law of procreation.

    First, I have no idea what you mean here. Second, whatever it is, it is a bald assertion. Either support it or retract it.

    Darwin’s studies revealed a wide variety of life forms, but what caused these varieties? Again, natural selection was thought to be the answer. In theory, those species best adapted to the environment tend to reproduce more offspring and transmit hereditary improvements (in slight variations); those less able to adapt to the environment leave fewer offspring and eventually die out. After a succession of generations, there is a tendency for the species to adapt to a greater degree, thus, improving the lineage.

    This is a decent definition of natural selection. What you fail to realize is that natural selection is a logical certainty in any self-replicating system. Anything that makes copies of itself will introduce errors, and any errors that allow it to copy itself more efficiently will spread rapidly. There is no way around this. It is guaranteed by the nature of self-replicating systems.

    Regrettably, Darwin was unable to grasp the reality of certain rudimental processes which he had observed; for instance, the runt of a litter being abandoned by its parent or a sickly creature preyed upon by a fox or wolf.

    This is a minor example of natural selection, but not an important one. Natural selection would carry forward even if no pup was ever abandoned by its parent.

    Although these familiar aspects of procreation are vital to the continuance of the species, the phenomena must not be confused as protracted gradation in the process. Darwin, misguided by his obsession, incorrectly deemed the ritual to be natural selection, when, in truth, he was observing an inherent process of procreation which may be correctly called the guardian of the wild.

    More assertion. Support or retract.

    The familiar process is responsible for weeding out weak and sickly members of the species (i.e., those less likely to survive), not to improve the species but rather as a measure to insure the health and strength of the species as a whole.

    How exactly does insuring the health and strength of the species not improve the species?

    Make no mistake; new species are not derived by the guardian of the wild.

    More unsupported assertion. Your assertions mean nothing if they are not supported by evidence and reason.

    Darwin, incognizant of the manifest workings of procreation, attacked the “benevolence” of God, disdaining the guardian of the wild as the “clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low and horribly cruel works of (Mother) nature.”

    If these are quotes of Darwin’s, please provide the book and page number so they can be read in context. Creationists are known for quote mining.

    It revolted his understanding to suppose that God’s “benevolence was unbounded” in such instances (benevolence—”an inclination to perform kindhearted, charitable acts”). Although it may seem a curiosity, those men and women who hate God will always attack His benevolence by asking the questions: If God is so benevolent, why are there wars? Why is slavery so cruel? Why is there so much injustice in the world? And so on. Be it known that one or more transgressions of the holy commandments are the culprits in such instances, not God.

    Ummm, wow. What does any of that have to do with evolution? I don’t believe Darwin mentioned God once in the Origin, so I think you’ll have a hard time convincing anyone that he was motivated by “hatred of God.” In fact, all accounts I’ve read indicate that he was deeply distressed by his findings, because they seemed to contradict his faith.

    A more definitive answer will be forthcoming in Volume 7 of The Quest for Right.

    If your books read like your comments here, i.e. ponderous, wordy, and bereft of any evidential support, I hope with all my being that no school is duped into using them. I doubt I will have to worry, however. There is nothing of scientific merit in anything you’ve written above.

  3. malcolm Says:

    unfortunately c david parsons is immune to logic or factual evidence. He’s been spamming the comments of every blog that mentions evolution or intelligent design for months now. He has no relevant comments n the topics being discussed, just cut and paste plugs for his creationist tomes….

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