The (Un)Discovery Institute and “Academic Freedom” bills
Apparently, the Louisiana House Education Committee unanimously passed SB 733, a so-called “academic freedom” bill. It is not my intention in this post to write my take on the merits, or lack there of, of such bills. What I do want to focus is an article that inevitably the (Un)Discovery Institute put up on its website. Obviously, they are very pleased with the outcome and write in support of this bill.
One biology professor from Louisiana College, Dr. Wade Warren, testified about how during his graduate studies at Texas A & M, the dean ordered him cease discussing scientific problems with students. Another biochemist, Dr. Brenda Peirson, testified about how random mutation and natural selection cannot produce many of the complex biological systems we see in the cell.
Let’s pay close attention to what Dr. Peirson says: “random mutation and natural selection cannot produce many of the complex biological systems we see in the cell.” That is such an unscientific statement, that it is hard to believe it came from a PhD in biochemistry. Any scientist worth two pennies knows that you can never say that something cannot happen. Never, ever under any circumstance can you make such claim. At most you can say that based on the current knowledge it is highly unlikely for something to happen, but you cannot say that something cannot happen period, as this person does. Right away that tells a lot about this person’s scientific skills and the reliability of her testimony.
One of those scientists, Dr. Caroline Crocker, testified about her experience losing her job at George Mason University after she taught students about scientific arguments against neo-Darwinism.
First, just because Dr. Crocker claims that is what happens, does not mean that is really what happens. Just a few weeks ago a bit of sensational news made the rounds on the internet. It was the story of a teacher who got fired for wizardry. The news and blogs picked up and all kinds of comments were written on the story. And as it turns out that was not really the reason this guy got canned, but there were well documented performance issues. Thus, the person who got fired is not the most reliable source to get the straight fact, as they tend to be a little biased.
Second, what the hell is neo-Darwinism? There is no such thing as Darwinism to begin with, so what is this Neo thing? Biology does not teach Darwinism, nor Neo-Darwinism, but Evolution. This is a typical strategy of the ID movement, the straw-man attack. These guys are fighting Darwin, they always mention how he was a racist and such to point out that his theory is wrong. These IDiots claim you are something you are not (i.e. a “Darwinist”) and then proceed to attack it. In fact they’re attacking a fictional thing, something they created. It’s hilariously stupid, if it wasn’t so successful when they’re dealing with less sophisticated people, such as …..oh let me see….politicians.
One LSU Darwinist biologist, Dr. Bryan Carstens, who opposed the bill had the temerity to claim: “let us be clear that there is no controversy among professional biologists about fact of evolution.” The glaring weakness in his false argument was not lost upon members of the legislature: he was immediately pressed by one legislator on the committee who asked the following:
In the document you just read and gave to us, in bold print it says, ‘let us be clear there is no controversy among biologists about the fact of evolution.’ Did you hear the testimony of the other professors we had here that were speaking before this committee?
Uuhhh yes, so what? These people can’t seem to understand that finding a few nut cases, does not constitute controversy in the field of biology. So let us be clear: THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY AMONG BIOLOGISTS ABOUT THE FACT OF EVOLUTION. There may be disagreement about the various mechanisms, various details, but the field of biology as a science has no problem with evolution. Does that mean that every last biologist accepts it. No! But none of them has been able to make a scientific case against it. That’s key and the IDiots don’t want to understand that. So what, if some biologists are so attached to their religious beliefs that they reject biology? Hypocrisy yes, controversy not even close, morons!
Just as if to make my point they went on to say:
But to testify that there is “no controversy” among “professional biologists” implies that scientists who doubt Darwinism do not exist.
Bzzzzz, wrong wrong IDiots! There are scientist who doubt Evolution. But they do so based on their own religious beliefs not their science. These people don’t have a scientific argument against it. All they offer is the argument from personal incredulity, or as I refer to it the “I’m too stupid to understand, thus it must be wrong” logical fallacy.
Moral of the story-Academic freedom does not mean freedom to do whatever you want and say whatever you want without answering to anyone. That’s what these people want. They want to be allowed to go in a classroom and say whatever crap they happen to believe in. That’s akin to cops making their own laws, because they may happen not to agree with the current ones. Would any of these IDiots fight to get the cops this freedom? Somehow I doubt they would!
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