Cobb County, Georgia, and Evolution

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Cobb County, Georgia, and Evolution

Postby TerraFrost » Sun Nov 28, 2004 10:27 am

Cobb County, George, is requiring disclaimers be put on all biology textbooks stating that evolution is just a theory, and that it should be approached with an open and critical mind. approaching scientific material with that mindset is arguably good advice for any branch of science, but to focus on evolution is just stupid. this website provides some good rebuttles:

http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurri ... sclaimers/

so, anyway, what do you think?
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Postby Dracofrost » Sun Nov 28, 2004 10:49 am

I'm glad I don't live in Cobb Country or attend public schools anymore, and that's all I'm gonna say.
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Postby Gigafrost » Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:07 am

Tonight while watching the news Intelligent Design being taught was brought up. As best as I can tell, either the program was set up hastily or intentionally so that the anti-IDist would not be able to make proper rebuttals of why ID should not be taught in grade-school biology classes.

Actually, you could tell the pro-ID guy was a dogmatic moron as soon as he said "the THEORY of Intelligent Design". Within science a "theory" is a collection of hypothesis, models, and data. Think "the theory of Gravity"...it's not just the statement "things fall down" but a collection of observations that things fall down, measured acceleration speeds, orbits, numerous physics equations, etc. ID, on the other hand, has only a few hypothesis and it ignores all the data counter to its position and is impossible to model. Examples? Well...

Irreducible complexity - This is an attempt to identify biological structures as being impossible to evolve because removing a piece would make it not function. The problem is, this isn't a problem for evolution because... a) There's no reason only a few parts could appear and then suddenly the right "final part" completes it and the entity has a HUGE selective advantage (although this is really improbable)... b) evolution allows parts to co-evolve so that parts that are currently irreducibly complex could have in the past been less irreducibly complex or one part could have had a different function in the past. c) Also, evolution allows for parts to disappear, so even if A and B required eachother, it's possible that C disappeared at some point (and in the past C did all the work, then it picked up A and was better, then B and was better, then lost C and was better.)

Explanatory Filter - Basically, you calculate the "specified complexity" of a system and if the probability that natural events being able to produce them is low enough then the item is intelligently designed. If you can't see the problem with this immediately, consider the fact that you'd have to know EVERY natural event and what it's capable of (IE complete understanding of the universe) in order to avoid false positives (IE, detecting ID when it's no present). Not only is this improbable, the fact that ID proponents say that the filter has identified such system demonstrates their dogmatic (rather than evidential) following of ID. People even claim that Dembski has performed the necessary mathematical calculations to find the "specified complexity" of the Bacterial Flagellum (sp?) but I have seen it pointed out over and over again that Dembski did no such thing and simply ASSERTED that the Flagellum was too complex to have evolved. Hmmm

Also, ID seems to include every creationism argument against evolution that doesn't specifically invoke religious concepts. Actually, other than the (impossible) explanatory filter, every argument ID uses is not one FOR ID but AGAINST EVOLUTION. This isn't how science works. You don't prove your theory by targetting the popular one and shooting it down unless you're supporting your own theory as well.

In any case, the biggest evidence that ID is a mere propaganda tool is that people are pushing to have it taught in high-school biology classes. It's not even accepted in mainstream science. Why, then, should ID be given special priveleges to be taught as science without first being accepted in some way by mainstream science? ID should NOT be taught in high school where students are not supposed to dwell deep into the subjects...that's a COLLEGE endeavor. The fact that people WANT and ACCEPT this crap to be taught as science to entry-level students should suggest that those people are being motivated by something other than the search for truth. Whether or not it's lying, it's definately dishonest.

In order for ID to not be acceptable as science it would have to wrestle for proper scientific recognitition. Until then, with regards to science, ID is and will remain "crap"
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Dec 24, 2004 4:27 am

In order for ID to not be acceptable as science it would have to wrestle for proper scientific recognitition.

don't you mean for it to be acceptable?

aside from that, heh, that was a great post! :)
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Postby Gigafrost » Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:19 am

Yeah, I meant acceptable. I'll leave it uneditted.

I think I'd rather say it's a great rant. Imo, I've read much better organized criticisms of ID...but thanks. :)
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Postby Roadkill » Fri Dec 24, 2004 5:28 pm

good post giga. It's been an issue for a while.

Inevitably, though, people keep trying this crap too late. My school tries to give us "character education" every week. High school. Even as 9th graders we recognized it as crap. Interviews with students on this same subject shows the same thing. The stupid ones most heavily hit by the dogma will go with it, most kids are apathetic, and the smart ones just recognize that it is crap, bu don't really give a crap either way.

so, let them do their stupid things. It's not doing anything for them.
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Postby tsian » Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:10 pm

ID is crap. The arguements for including it in biology class (that it is merely presenting 'another point of view -- whats the harm?') are equally crap. Their logic may as well be used to justify having a

"Certain historical experts dispute the severity and extent to which the holocaust occured"
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Postby ChatOmbre » Fri Dec 31, 2004 10:18 pm

o.O; *kills something* Well, I live in Cobb County, but at least I don't attend public schools anymore.
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Postby Roadkill » Sat Jan 01, 2005 12:28 am

It's just a disclaimer. Students and teachers probably make fun of it in the classroom.
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Postby Evlfrost » Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:15 pm

Hmm...and I thought ID was such an incontroversial theory. I see it mainly as a way to tie in evolution and religion. However, don't argue ID around die-hard Christians. When I was at my grandmother's house, a special came on Fox News about ID and my grandmother started bitching about dumb it was. I tried to explain the validity of ID--asuming that both Christianity and Evolution are true--and got my head bitten off.

Anyways, back on topic. I have no trouble with a disclaimer stating that evolution is just a theory. As for them singling out evolution, I believe they did that because evolution is one of the more controversial theories. Note that scientists still refer to it as the theory of evolution instead of law. Evolution is certaintly the most plausible theory, but it still has some holes. Until those are sorted out, I would recommend a disclaimer.
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Postby TerraFrost » Sat Jan 01, 2005 6:59 pm

ID says that evolution doesn't happen, among other things. how can you believe that while simultaniously believing evolution does happen?

as far as evolution being a "theory" and not a "law", and that meriting a disclaimer... giga could probably provide a better rebutle to that than i, but here are a few random thoughts...

math is about as logically sound as possible. 2+2=4 and that's really all there is to it. so why does math have a field within it called "number theory"?

also, i'm not aware of many - if any - alternatives to evolution that could stand up to scientific scrutiny. for the big bang theory, however, there are (or atleast i think they are - i haven't done a lot of reading on this subject). they're called non-standard cosmologies...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-standard_cosmology

pursuant to this, it seems that if anything should have a disclaimer, it should be the section in science textbooks devoted to the big bang - not to evolution.
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Postby Gigafrost » Sat Jan 01, 2005 7:37 pm

You seem to have a large misunderstanding of what they mean by "theory".

In sciences, a theory is a model or framework for understanding.
It is not a hypothesis\guess as you have suggested.
For a given body of theory to be considered part of established knowledge, it is usually necessary for the theory to characterize a critical experiment, that is, an experimental result which cannot be predicted by any established theory.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory
So, just because it is a theory does not mean you should dismiss it as just being a guess or a work in progress. There's absolutely no standard that "upgrades" a theory into a law because a theory is a body that INCLUDES laws.

As for holes in evolution, the only ones I've heard about are simply about details, something which I believe is present in other sciences as well. If something was only established as scientific fact after there were absolutely no holes then would we have any scientific facts at all?

Hmmm...running low on time...quick notes...

-ID is not a Christian\Evolution bridge...it's ONLY undermining evolution.

-ID is not even admitted to be Christian. To do so it becomes indistinguishable from scientific creationism which the Supreme Court ruled to be religion, not science.

-In other words, ID is purposely hiding this motivation to (A) try and sneak the Scientific Creationism arguments around the Supreme Court ruling and (B) to serve as a tent which allows many different kinds of creationists to push them through.

-ID is simply trying to use the prestige of science without actually being science.
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Postby ChatOmbre » Tue Jan 04, 2005 1:27 am

I just finished watching a Penn & Teller: Bullshit! thinger about this... it was interesting and funny, but not much I didn't already know.
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Postby tsian » Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:05 am

Evl, Evolution is one of the more solid ones in scientific communities... *not* one of the most controversial.
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Postby Wolfie » Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:01 pm

Eh, I was born there. Suits the people in that area though. In anycase, I doubt many people will care, there atleast. This is the county that changed halloween to Monday because Sunday was the lords day. =/... God I hate cobb.. >.o'

Anyhow, I'm not to with it today so I'll likely edit this post later.
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