Skepdude

From the creator of Video Skepdude

The Louisiana Science (Mis)Education Act

The (Un)Discovery Institute has been very actively reporting here, here and here and countless other articles, on the so-called “Louisiana Science Education Act” which has already passed the Louisiana House of Representatives. Here’s a sample of their postings:

“The bill is a bold statement protecting the freedom of teachers to discuss both the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution and other controversial scientific theories,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute. “The bill does exactly what it says, which is to allow teachers and school districts to ‘use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.'”

Except that Evolution is not a controversial scientific theory. This is a blatant lie, because it carries the implication that the scientific world is unsure about Evolution, and that is not the case. It is the anti-scientific world that is unsure about it. They are the ones who are up in arms screaming against it. The lawyers, politicians are the ones complaining not the scientists. And just exactly what does “supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials” mean? This definition is so broad as to include anything a teacher may fancy as “instructional” such as ….oh I don’t know “Of Pandas and People” maybe?

Another implication of the language is that the Scientific community does not seriously “analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.” which is a slap in the face to the many men and women who are tirelessly toiling away to advance science at such personal expense, that the IDiots passing such laws wouldn’t even be able to begin to understand.

It is true that the bill has the following embedded in it:

“shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

Just stop for a second and think. Why would an “academic freedom” bill which is supposed to be solely about science even need to say that? Could it be, because it is clear that it can be interpreted in any way one wants to, in order to advance any ideology one may hold? Of course that’s the case. It’s a smoke screen! It’s not about religion, they will say, in fact it specifically forbids any religious connotations. But of course that sort of language is completely useless, because the creationist are hiding under the ID banner now. So effectively, such bill opens the door to Intelligent Design as long as the IDer is not referred to as God. How may of us really think that pro ID teachers will not refer to the IDer as the “Creator” which in itself carries strong religious connotations?

Let’s be clear about one thing here. This bill is not about academic freedom. It is specifically about denying science. It is about replacing science with belief. It is not about academic freedom, it is about academic slavery to Religion.This bill is about granting teachers with strong ideological beliefs, which run contrary to mainstream science, the right to preach them to our children. These are not scientific ideas, these are purely speculative philosophical ideas at best, which now, at least in Louisiana, will be presented under the setting of a science class. Thus the kids will walk out of there thinking that there are in fact two scientifically equal theories of life, evolution and creation. That is very very bad news indeed for mankind in general, and Louisiana in particular.

Effectively, this bill is about introducing religious, creationist beliefs in the classroom. Science is not granted such special treatment during Sunday Mass. Therefore religion will be allowed to continue poisoning young children’s minds at the church and now in the classroom as well. Freedom all right, unlimited freedom to bigoted, stone age, childish beliefs to impose themselves where they don’t belong. Freedom to present scientifically unsubstantiated personal religious beliefs as science. What is Academic about that?

Anyone who is interested in reading the actual bill itself can head to this website.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Evolution, Intelligent Design, Pseudo-science, Religion, Science | , , | 1 Comment

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!

May 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment