Tag Archives: Public Education

Canada Export Denyse O’Leary

(At the end of the video she actually claims to be a non-fiction writer. LMAO.)

Denyse O’Leary is an aged Canadian cheerleader for intelligent design. Some may have heard of her. Give me an A. Give me an S. Give me another S. Yes, Denyse, is an ass. Her writings on evolution are unchallenging to say the least. But this one post from 2008 made me laugh. In it she attempts to knock Jeffrey Kluger’s article in Time Magazine on Ben Stein and the ID movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.  Kluger had made a comment about the so-called primordial soup:

Organic chemicals needed eons of stirring and slow cooking before they could produce compounds that could begin to lead to a living thing.

And O’Leary shot back with:

Huh? Stirring and slow cooking? Look, I am not making this up.

Every serious origin of life (OOL) researcher finds OOL an excruciatingly difficult problem. Genome mapper and Nobelist Francis Crick, a staunch atheist, suggested that life must have been brought here by intelligent aliens, and Richard Dawkins is willing to entertain that idea too. But science writer Jeffrey Kluger somehow knows the “answer” that eludes all those guys?

Here we have further proof that creationism is popular among willfully uneducated buffoons. Perhaps, O’Leary really hasn’t heard that some chemical reactions are helped along by mixing and heat, two naturally occurring phenomena. And while organic chemists don’t claim to know exactly how life on Earth started, they do have a good general idea. And it doesn’t involve a magical sky-daddy, which is O’Leary’s non-answer to the question. At the end of her post, she adds:

Anyway, given recent wholesale attempts to suppress discussion of the problems with Darwinism and materialist theories in general, the ID guys are well past concern about the atheist circus. Kluger probably didn’t notice the drive to restore intellectual freedom. Just as well, because you only need that if you have new ideas.

No one has told Denyse that ID predates Darwinian evolution by several centuries. And that ID remains an unchanged and unproductive pursuit. There’s no point in having academic freedom, Denyse, if you aren’t going to use it.

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Filed under Christianity, Creationist Of The Month Club, Culture Warfare

Texas Evolution Poll Dancing

Over at ScienceBlogs.com, PZ Myers, on his Pharyngula blog, issued a request for people to bust up a pathetic evolution poll (read the text of the story). His readers succeeded and the poll was dashed. The question asked in the poll was:

What do you think the appropriate lesson should be in public schools?

1. Evolution only
2. Evolution, pointing out weaknesses in theory
3. Evolution and creationism
4. Creationism only

What strikes me as disturbingly normal about this poll is that creationism is immunized against criticism. Evolutionary biology is a science and all scientific positions are open to falsification, if valid counter evidence is presented. But in the poll, creationism isn’t set up in the same manner as evolution is in choice #2. To be fair, shouldn’t there have been the following 5th choice?

5. Creationism, pointing out weaknesses in the theory

Denounce evolution all you want, but if creationism is to be allowed in the science classroom, it has to be able to withstand rigorous testing, picking and prodding. And that means looking at all its weaknesses. All of them. It’s kind of like asking a sleazy politician to open up his closet door. Skeletons aplenty.

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Filed under Trawling For Creationism

The Discovery Institute’s Hoopla Machine

Casey Luskin insists the Discovery Institute is a secular think tank. And he says it with a straight face.

What is it about the spreading of pseudo-science that makes reasonable people cringe and gag? One characteristic is surely the introduction of religious / political thinking into discussions of fact. The natural world simply is. If it upsets our human sensibilities, too freaking bad for us. When a bull shark bites a potential food item (a human leg, perhaps), it is being neither good nor evil; it’s simply hungry and inquisitive. It’s nothing personal. Thus, describing the natural world is best accomplished through observations of what is, not through contemplation of how things should be. Blaming Darwinism for the Holocaust, communism, capitalism, rock ‘n roll music, abortion, racism, moral relativism, and the general decay of Western society is irrelevant to the scientific question of whether or not evolution by natural selection is a valid explanation for observed evolutionary change on planet Earth. What is and what ought to be are two distinct questions.

But throw a rock at the Discovery Institute and you’re more likely to hit a lobbyist or a lawyer than an actual scientist. For example, Casey Luskin, an attorney with the DI, blogs to his fellow intelligent designers about the “it’s just a theory” argument.

Darwinists love to bash Darwin-skeptics who call evolution “just a theory, not a fact.” The truth is that I rarely, if ever, hear people who are closely involved with the ID movement using this line to oppose evolution. The “evolution is just a theory, not a fact” phrase tends to come from the vox populi—intelligent people who studied this issue in their biology class or perhaps have read books like Darwin’s Black Box, Icons of Evolution, or Darwin on Trial, but otherwise don’t follow the issue very closely.

But most creationists do use the argument, endlessly. They also use the “intelligent designer” and “irreducible complexity” arguments. The fact is that intelligent design creationists are a small minority. Polls indicate that most American creationists are of the Old Earth variety. And I think the Discovery Institute knows this full well. Isn’t it really all about talking points, ones the DI can easily disseminate, and ones the general public can easily digest and regurgitate, regardless of the scientific facts?

Casey Luskins also lists his scientific qualifications:

Having taken over a dozen courses covering evolutionary biology at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, I’m a scientific skeptic of neo-Darwinism.

Fine, be a skeptic, Luskin. But are you as skeptical about intelligent design? Have you taken a dozen courses covering intelligent design at the undergraduate and graduate level? No, because intelligent design isn’t a science, and it can be pretty well summed up in a single 15 minute lecture. ID is a vague conclusion, not an explanation. The only thing propping it up is a propaganda machine. And all the whining in the world about “morals”, “culture”, and “academic freedom” isn’t going to polish the ID turd. The Discovery Institute calls itself the “Center for Science and Culture”. But it really should choose one or the other, “science” or “culture”, not both. Let “ought” and “is” be distinct; life works so much better when our desires don’t cloud our judgment of reality.

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Filed under Culture Warfare, Intelligent Design, Politics

Louisiana Flooded By Creationism, Public Education Dies

A bill, the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows the teaching of creationism and other pseudoscientifc ideas in Louisiana’s public schools, has passed through the Louisiana Senate and is awaiting approval by the governor. Read the story.

Shockingly, the bill passed 36-0. Who knew politicians were so pathetically ignorant? Oh Wait. Everyone knew. The power of the bill lies in its vagueness:

[The bill] allows public school teachers to “supplement” their science textbooks with materials of their choosing – leaving a gaping hole for, say, religious or intelligent design content to walk right through.

The creationists failed to stop public schools from teaching evolution, so their new plan is to throw garbage at the students. This way everything stinks. It all has a post-modernistic smell; make creationism and evolution seem equal in the public eye. The bill’s supporters claim:

… the bill is designed to promote critical thinking, strengthen education and help teachers who are confused about what’s acceptable for science classes.

Would they be open to teaching other religions’ creation stories in public schools? I somehow doubt it. How about sorcery and witchcraft? Some religious wackos have insisted on a ban of the Harry Potter books. But why not teach them along side the bible “to promote critical thinking”.   

The bill is a doorway to chaos. Teachers sympathetic to creationism are going to present both creation and evolution, but one more than the other. There’s nothing to stop them from emphasizing creationism. The bill specifically mentions creationism, global warming, and cloning (a.k.a. abortion), three subjects ultraconservative Christians often have a problem with. 

Will the governor sign the bill? More on that at the National Center for Science Education’s website.

 

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Filed under Culture Warfare, Politics

Florida Republicans Denounce Science

Alan Hays - Retired Dentist

Take a good long look at the dim-witted fool in the above picture. He just turned Florida into an international joke. His name is Alan Hays.

A nebulous bill that allows teachers “to poke holes in the theory of evolution” passed in the Florida House. The bill passed 71-43. The full story can be read in the Miami Herald.

State Rep. Alan Hays, the republican who sponsored the bill, commented:

That’s a fancy way of saying it allows the teachers, without fear, to expose the holes in the scientific theory of evolution, No fossils have been found and no witness has ever seen one species turn into another. This is only a theory. [emphasis added]

Alan Hays is a retired dentist. The reasons given for the legislation were “to protect teachers’ jobs” and to ensure “academic freedom”.

Asked which teachers fear that teaching the ”holes” in evolution will lead to trouble, Hays acknowledged he didn’t have any names. ”This is being done as a preventive measure,” Hays said.

I know where I’m not spending my next vacation. If you want to voice your opinion to the Florida Board Of Tourism, GO HERE.

If you want to support the Florida Citizens For Science, GO HERE.

Perhaps Alan Hays D.D.S. will comment on string theory next.

www.TheDarwinReport.com

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Filed under Politics