October 22, 2014

Governor Perry Thinks Texas Schools Teach Creationism, but Texas Education Agency Stifles Even Scientific Criticism of Darwin

pin it button Governor Perry Thinks Texas Schools Teach Creationism, but Texas Education Agency Stifles Even Scientific Criticism of Darwin

evolution news Governor Perry Thinks Texas Schools Teach Creationism, but Texas Education Agency Stifles Even Scientific Criticism of Darwin

by John G. West
Evolution News and Views

It has to be challenging to be a presidential candidate. After all, you are expected to dispense wisdom (or at least comments) on almost everything under the sun, and you never know what question is going to come up next. Still, some questions should be easier to anticipate than others. For example, it has become pretty typical for candidates (especially Republican ones) to be grilled at some point about their views on evolution. So Governor Rick Perry shouldn’t have been surprised when asked earlier today about his own views on evolution, especially given all the controversy over the topic in his home state of Texas. What was a surprise was Perry’s answer. According to the New York Times, Perry claimed: “In Texas, we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools.”

That’s news to me. In fact, Texas public schools do not teach creationism, at least not anywhere in the approved curriculum. But under science standards adopted in 2009, Texas students are asked to “analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations… including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” This sort of critical inquiry is supposed to apply to the discussion of Darwinian theory, and Texas students are also expected to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for Darwinian claims about natural selection, mutations, cellular complexity, the fossil record, and more.

Alas, most Texas schools probably don’t engage in this sort of scientific weighing of the merits of Darwinian theory — due in large part to Perry’s own education appointees! Earlier this summer, Perry’s education commissioner recommended for use supplementary science curricula that fail to offer any critical analysis of Darwinian claims, contrary to the state’s own science standards. At the same time, Perry’s education commissioner allowed his staff to spike the one proposed curriculum that did try to follow the Texas science standards.

Perry will likely be excoriated for his comments by those on the left who think Perry is somehow a proponent of creationism. Ironically, the Texas Education Agency that Perry oversees has done its best to scuttle even a scientific discussion of the limits of Darwinian claims.

Read the Full Article Here: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/08/governor_perry_thinks_texas_sc049711.html

 

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Does Modern Science Hinder Skepticism? The Eugenics Example

Does Modern Science Hinder Skepticism? The Eugenics Example

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One of the important and counterintuitive insights that C.S. Lewis offered was his observation that far from encouraging skepticism, the mention of “science” can call forth a perilous gullibility, not least from educated, intelligent people who should know better.

Healthy skepticism is a cornerstone of the scientific process. Knowledge is advanced and new discoveries are made by challenging scientific results and testing alternative hypotheses.

Lewis recognized, though, that science can also promote an uncritical acceptance of views that are said to be backed by science or wrapped in science-y language. In Lewis’s time, most scientists supported eugenics, or the belief that the gene pool of humans should be improved, and they argued that their views were supported by science. These views led to policies such as forced sterilization of those deemed to be of less worth, such as criminals and the handicapped. These policies were not only popular in authoritarian regimes like Nazi Germany, but in democracies such as the United States and England. Anyone who opposed what the vast majority of scientists were saying must be “anti-science,” it was argued.

So what has changed since then? Are we supposed to believe that just a century ago, elite opinion in science and in the culture at large was so terribly fallible and vulnerable to being misled by prejudice — yet today, it cannot err?

Dr. Offit Wants to Eliminate Religious and Philosophical Vaccine Exemptions

Dr. Offit Wants to Eliminate Religious and Philosophical Vaccine Exemptions

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We have previously reported how Dr. Paul Offit, the mainstream media’s go-to doctor to support vaccines, has huge conflicts of interest, and is a very dangerous man. We mentioned how Paul Offit wants mandatory vaccines for every single child in the United States, and he feels his voice in the matter should over-rule parental choice.

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Offit thinks that only medical exemptions should be issued for vaccines, and has campaigned for ending religious and philosophical exemptions. Allowing only medical exemptions would give complete control of America’s school-age children to the medical system in regards to vaccines.

So should doctors like Offit be considered authorities on religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines? He claims science trumps philosophy or religion. So if you object to things in vaccines such as cells from aborted human embryos, monkey kidneys, aborted calf fetus blood, mouse brains, etc. – too bad. According to Offit, only doctors should make those decisions.

For a response to Dr. Offit by another doctor, Dr. Suzanne Humphries, we republish with her consent a previous rebuttal she wrote to Dr. Offit below. Turns out that not all doctors agree with Offit after all…

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When Biologists Think Like Engineers: How the Burgeoning Field of Systems Biology Supports Intelligent Design

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Opponents of the intelligent design (ID) approach to biology have sometimes argued that the ID perspective discourages scientific investigation. To the contrary, it can be argued that the most productive new paradigm in systems biology is actually much more compatible with a belief in the intelligent design of life than with a belief in neo-Darwinian evolution. This new paradigm in system biology, which has arisen in the past ten years or so, analyzes living systems in terms of systems engineering concepts such as design, information processing, optimization, and other explicitly teleological concepts. This new paradigm offers a successful, quantitative, predictive theory for biology. Although the main practitioners of the field attribute the presence of such things to the outworking of natural selection, they cannot avoid using design language and design concepts in their research, and a straightforward look at the field indicates it is really a design approach altogether.

Researchers Ran a Massive Yearlong Experiment to Get Bacteria to Evolve. Guess What Happened?

Researchers Ran a Massive Yearlong Experiment to Get Bacteria to Evolve. Guess What Happened?

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It’s a struggle out there. You have to be fit to survive. When the pressure is on, nature favors the ones who can take the heat.

It’s a theme that has been drummed into our heads since school. It’s a cultural meme. Social Darwinists used it to justify atrocities. Today’s kinder, gentler Darwinists downplay the violence in the struggle for existence, yet the fact as they see it is inescapable: environmental circumstances select random genetic mutations that confer fitness, i.e., survival, by allowing organisms to adapt.

That in a nutshell explains the development of complex life forms. We’re assured there are gobs of evidence for it, too.

Looking into a recent paper in PNAS about evolutionary fitness tradeoffs, you have to feel sorry for a team of five evolutionists from UC Irvine who did their level best to produce clear evidence for the favored story.

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The evolution of consciousness is presently inexplicable: Can we really understand a transition from the excrement-throwing ape to the early cave paintings as a long, slow series?

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