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  • Kansas educators vote to downplay evolution

    MSNBC News ServicesUpdated: 6:49 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2005TOPEKA, Kan. - Risking the kind of nationwide ridicule it faced six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

    QUOTE
    The 6-4 vote was a victory for “intelligent design” advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

    Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.

    All six of those who voted for the new standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted no.

    “This is a sad day. We’re becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that,” said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat.

    Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, said the decision would encourage school districts in Kansas and elsewhere to make similar moves, distracting and confusing teachers and students.

    “It will be marketed by the religious right ... as a huge victory for their side,” she said. “We can expect more efforts to get creationism in.”

    Supporters of the new standards said they would promote academic freedom.

    “This is a great day for education. This is one of the best things that we can do,” said board chairman Steve Abrams. Another board member who voted in favor of the standards, John Bacon, said the move “gets rid of a lot of dogma that’s being taught in the classroom today.”

    The Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which supports challenges to evolutionary theory, praised the Kansas effort. “Students will learn more about evolution, not less as some Darwinists have falsely claimed,” institute spokesman Casey Luskin said in a written statement.

    What the new standards say
    The new standards say high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology.

    In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

    The new standards will be used to develop student tests measuring how well schools teach science. Decisions about what is taught in classrooms will remain with 300 local school boards, but some educators fear pressure will increase in some communities to teach less about evolution or more about creationism or intelligent design.

    The vote marked the third time in six years that the Kansas board has rewritten standards with evolution as the central issue.


    Educational deja vu
    In 1999, the board eliminated most references to evolution. Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said that was akin to teaching “American history without Lincoln.” Bill Nye, the “Science Guy” of children’s television, called it “harebrained” and “nutty.” And a Washington Post columnist imagined God saying to the Kansas board members: “Man, I gave you a brain. Use it, OK?”

    Two years later, after voters replaced three members, the board reverted to evolution-friendly standards. Elections in 2002 and 2004 changed the board’s composition again, making it more conservative.

    The latest vote likely to bring fresh national criticism to Kansas and cause many scientists to see the state as backward.

    Many scientists and other critics contend creationists repackaged old ideas in new, scientific-sounding language to get around a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987 against teaching the biblical story of creation in public schools.

    The Kansas board’s action is part of a national debate. In Pennsylvania, a judge is expected to rule soon in a lawsuit against the Dover school board’s policy of requiring high school students to learn about intelligent design in biology class. In August, President Bush endorsed teaching intelligent design alongside evolution.

    In an effort to fight back against intelligent-design advocates, a grass-roots group calling itself Campaign to Defend the Constitution said Tuesday that it was launching a $200,000 online ad campaign “to combat a threat posed by the religious right to American democracy.”

    “This is a significant attack on science,” said Jack Krebs, vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science. “They really are advancing a sectarian religious view. They’re treading on constitutional grounds.”

    A history of the state education board's votes on evolution1999: In May, Kansas Board of Education reviews proposed science standards written by committee of educators. A Republican board member offers his own proposal, drafted with help from others, including the president of the Creation Science Association for Mid-America. In August, the board votes 6-4 to adopt science standards in which most references to evolution are eliminated.

    2000: Voters elect three Republicans who support the teaching of evolution to replace three of the Republican school board members who voted with the anti-evolution majority the year before.

    2001: With power now in the hands of a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans, the board votes 7-3 for new science standards restoring evolution's previous place in the standards as well-founded science.

    2002: Voters elect two conservative Republicans to replace GOP incumbents who had favored a return to evolution-friendly standards, splitting the board 5-5.

    2004: Another conservative Republican ousts a GOP incumbent in the primary, giving conservative Republicans a 6-4 majority on the board.

    May 5, 2005: Three-member subcommittee opens four days of hearings on evolution, hearing testimony from intelligent design advocates. National and state science groups boycott, saying the hearings are rigged.

    June 9, 2005: Subcommittee approves proposed standards containing language sought by intelligent design advocates.

    July 12, 2005: Board's conservative majority continues to revise the proposed science standards, before having an outside review.

    Oct. 13, 2005: Outside reviewer, the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning in Aurora, Colo., releases a report critical of the proposed standards.

    Nov. 8, 2005: Board votes 6-4 to approve the proposed standards.[/b][/quote]

    WTF!?

    I was sitting here loading Red Hat on my computer, I actually stopped a software install to post this CRAP.

    Someone in the interview said "Now both theories will be taught" [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif[/img]

    Religious theory maybe, but not scientific theory. Creationism is a religious belief, not a scientific theory.

    Fuck.
    Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

  • #2
    There do exist certain features in various organisms for which there is (currently) no good evolutionary explanation. That is to say, certain features appear to have a particular kind of complexity -- what has been called "irreducible complexity" -- that current evolutionary theory may not be able to account for.

    Michael Behe has explained the idea of irreducible complexity as follows:

    By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. -- Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box (1996).

    The particular examples of irreducible complexity in Behe's book have been refuted, but the overall idea still has some merit, and there are other examples that have not yet been refuted. Among them:

    1. Candiru catfish. This is a tiny catfish, often less than one inch long, that lives in the Amazon and Oranoco rivers of South America. Voraciously bloodthirsty, they often crawl up the meatwhistle of unsuspecting human bathers. They deploy specially built spines, located around their head, to draw blood and anchor themselves. Unfortunately, they then tend to swell and get stuck inside. The spines are designed so well that only surgery (usually amputation of the affected man-junk) can get rid of them.

    The interplay of systems required for this little fish is amazing. The spines in particular are unlikely to have been randomly generated by pure chance.

    2. Tapeworms. This diverse variety of parasitic organisms is a veritable marvel of engineering. The adult worm's head contains a staggering assortment of barbed hooks and suckers lining the edges, which enable it to hold on to the intestine. In the meantime, the host faces vitamin B-12 deficiency and malnutrition; brain, liver, heart and lung problems caused by infestation of those organs; potentially fatal anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) from ruptured worm cysts; and a variety of other problems.

    The lifecycle of these creatures is a puzzle to evolutionary biologists. Inside the intestine, they produce hundreds of reproductive segments, each of which contains thousands of larvae. These segments pass thru the feces of the primary host, are left on grass, or deposited on the bare chest of a paying customer, and get ingested by smaller, intermediate hosts like rats. Once eaten by the secondary host, the larvae burrow through its intestinal wall and lodge inside muscle tissue or internal organs. When a predator eats the insides of an infested animal, the larvae emerge, travel to the animal's intestines, and begin to repeat the cycle.

    The combination of the multiple (but perfectly orchestrated) lines of attack against the host organism along with the combination of the multiple (but perfectly planned) stages in its lifecycle that are puzzling.

    3. Rabies. Upon infection, this incredible RNA-based virus modifies the host animal's behavior and physiology in several subtle ways that help it spread further. It causes the following symptoms:

    * Extreme hunger, which can go so far as to cause the host to chew on inedible objects;
    * Restlessness, which can make it wander around tirelessly;
    * Disorientation, which will make it less aware of risks;
    * Irritability, which will make it more prone to confrontations;
    * Loss of inhibitions and fears, which will make it attack even dangerous prey it would normally avoid relentlessly;
    * Increased production of saliva, which will ensure better transmission of the virus;
    * Inability to swallow, leaving even more saliva in the mouth, which will amplify the effect;
    * And aggressive behavior, which, along with the prior modifications, will ensure a steady supply of additional hosts for the virus.

    It is questionable whether evolution, a mindless process lacking a specified goal, could program the rabies virus to successfully hijack its host's neurology and physiology to its own benefit with such exacting attention to detail.

    4. Yersinia pestis. This is the pathogen that causes the Bubonic Plague. According the the University of Georgia, Yersinia pestis "utilizes such virulence factors as the Yops plasmid, Type III Secretion System, as well as producing a number of antigenically distinct molecules, including toxins, which contribute to disease progression. . . . Once inside the host, Y. pestis build the Ysc injectisome which involves all of the Yscs coming together to form a structure comprised of 27 proteins which function as a syringe-like organelle spanning the cell membrane and anchored in the inner and outer membranes. This Type III Secretion Syste achieves contact with the host cell via adhesions and integrins on Y. pestis. Yop B and Yop D are transported through the injectisome by ATP hydrolysis into the host cell membrane. Once inserted into the cell membrane, effector Yops disrupt the actin cytoskeleton of the host cell membrane. This system gives Y. pestis the ability to evade phagocytosis, preventing an inflammatory response which leads to massive tissue colonization."

    These extremely complex and interrelated molecular mechanisms worked together to wipe out between a tenth and a third of the human population in Europe in the middle of the 14th century. Attributing such effective engineering solutions to a degenerative evolutionary process, as opposed to intelligent design, strains credulity.

    5. the bombardier beetle. Apparently shoots out two chemicals which cause an explosive reaction when they meet. But each chemical is totally useless on its own. So why would a precursor to the bombardier beetle shoot out a totally useless chemical for eons, which it awaited the evolutionary development of the second chemical?

    Comment


    • #3
      QUOTE(Hepatitis Dispenser @ Nov 8 2005, 08:51 PM) Quoted post

      There do exist certain features in various organisms for which there is (currently) no good evolutionary explanation. That is to say, certain features appear to have a particular kind of complexity -- what has been called "irreducible complexity" -- that current evolutionary theory may not be able to account for.

      Michael Behe has explained the idea of irreducible complexity as follows:

      By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. -- Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box (1996).

      The particular examples of irreducible complexity in Behe's book have been refuted, but the overall idea still has some merit, and there are other examples that have not yet been refuted. Among them:

      1. Candiru catfish. This is a tiny catfish, often less than one inch long, that lives in the Amazon and Oranoco rivers of South America. Voraciously bloodthirsty, they often crawl up the meatwhistle of unsuspecting human bathers. They deploy specially built spines, located around their head, to draw blood and anchor themselves. Unfortunately, they then tend to swell and get stuck inside. The spines are designed so well that only surgery (usually amputation of the affected man-junk) can get rid of them.

      The interplay of systems required for this little fish is amazing. The spines in particular are unlikely to have been randomly generated by pure chance.

      2. Tapeworms. This diverse variety of parasitic organisms is a veritable marvel of engineering. The adult worm's head contains a staggering assortment of barbed hooks and suckers lining the edges, which enable it to hold on to the intestine. In the meantime, the host faces vitamin B-12 deficiency and malnutrition; brain, liver, heart and lung problems caused by infestation of those organs; potentially fatal anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) from ruptured worm cysts; and a variety of other problems.

      The lifecycle of these creatures is a puzzle to evolutionary biologists. Inside the intestine, they produce hundreds of reproductive segments, each of which contains thousands of larvae. These segments pass thru the feces of the primary host, are left on grass, or deposited on the bare chest of a paying customer, and get ingested by smaller, intermediate hosts like rats. Once eaten by the secondary host, the larvae burrow through its intestinal wall and lodge inside muscle tissue or internal organs. When a predator eats the insides of an infested animal, the larvae emerge, travel to the animal's intestines, and begin to repeat the cycle.

      The combination of the multiple (but perfectly orchestrated) lines of attack against the host organism along with the combination of the multiple (but perfectly planned) stages in its lifecycle that are puzzling.

      3. Rabies. Upon infection, this incredible RNA-based virus modifies the host animal's behavior and physiology in several subtle ways that help it spread further. It causes the following symptoms:

      * Extreme hunger, which can go so far as to cause the host to chew on inedible objects;
      * Restlessness, which can make it wander around tirelessly;
      * Disorientation, which will make it less aware of risks;
      * Irritability, which will make it more prone to confrontations;
      * Loss of inhibitions and fears, which will make it attack even dangerous prey it would normally avoid relentlessly;
      * Increased production of saliva, which will ensure better transmission of the virus;
      * Inability to swallow, leaving even more saliva in the mouth, which will amplify the effect;
      * And aggressive behavior, which, along with the prior modifications, will ensure a steady supply of additional hosts for the virus.

      It is questionable whether evolution, a mindless process lacking a specified goal, could program the rabies virus to successfully hijack its host's neurology and physiology to its own benefit with such exacting attention to detail.

      4. Yersinia pestis. This is the pathogen that causes the Bubonic Plague. According the the University of Georgia, Yersinia pestis "utilizes such virulence factors as the Yops plasmid, Type III Secretion System, as well as producing a number of antigenically distinct molecules, including toxins, which contribute to disease progression. . . . Once inside the host, Y. pestis build the Ysc injectisome which involves all of the Yscs coming together to form a structure comprised of 27 proteins which function as a syringe-like organelle spanning the cell membrane and anchored in the inner and outer membranes. This Type III Secretion Syste achieves contact with the host cell via adhesions and integrins on Y. pestis. Yop B and Yop D are transported through the injectisome by ATP hydrolysis into the host cell membrane. Once inserted into the cell membrane, effector Yops disrupt the actin cytoskeleton of the host cell membrane. This system gives Y. pestis the ability to evade phagocytosis, preventing an inflammatory response which leads to massive tissue colonization."

      These extremely complex and interrelated molecular mechanisms worked together to wipe out between a tenth and a third of the human population in Europe in the middle of the 14th century. Attributing such effective engineering solutions to a degenerative evolutionary process, as opposed to intelligent design, strains credulity.

      5. the bombardier beetle. Apparently shoots out two chemicals which cause an explosive reaction when they meet. But each chemical is totally useless on its own. So why would a precursor to the bombardier beetle shoot out a totally useless chemical for eons, which it awaited the evolutionary development of the second chemical?
      [/b][/quote]

      This is just such bullshit. Finding a few examples where it is not yet obvious how evolution played a role does not discredit or even weaken the overall theory. More importantly, nothing about ID--nothing--can be tested with empirical evidence. ID is inherently unscientific. It is, at best, philosophical or religious speculation. Behe is just a schill for the religious right.

      Kansas is a fucking joke. Time to add the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the curriculum.
      "At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed."
      – Frederick Douglass, doing an amazing job since 1852

      Comment


      • #4
        I guess I need to move back to Kansas. If they are going to push this shit in schools, I want to make sure they don't just stick with the Judeo-Christian version of creation. I will demand that they teach the Hindu creation story, complete with Vishnu and the mighty serpant.

        I might wait a year or so. There are school board elections in 2006, and I have a feeling the fundamentalist will get voted out in favor of moderates.

        Comment


        • #5
          QUOTE(ksbluesfan @ Nov 9 2005, 01:26 PM) Quoted post

          I guess I need to move back to Kansas. If they are going to push this shit in schools, I want to make sure they don't just stick with the Judeo-Christian version of creation. I will demand that they teach the Hindu creation story, complete with Vishnu and the mighty serpant.

          I might wait a year or so. There are school board elections in 2006, and I have a feeling the fundamentalist will get voted out in favor of moderates.
          [/b][/quote]

          Of course this is what you'll do. You're a pissed off liberal.

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE(goon attack @ Nov 9 2005, 01:27 PM) Quoted post

            QUOTE(ksbluesfan @ Nov 9 2005, 01:26 PM) Quoted post

            I guess I need to move back to Kansas. If they are going to push this shit in schools, I want to make sure they don't just stick with the Judeo-Christian version of creation. I will demand that they teach the Hindu creation story, complete with Vishnu and the mighty serpant.

            I might wait a year or so. There are school board elections in 2006, and I have a feeling the fundamentalist will get voted out in favor of moderates.
            [/b][/quote]

            Of course this is what you'll do. You're a pissed off liberal.
            [/b][/quote]

            How does "liberal" have anything to do with whether ID is science or not?

            Oh wait, I forgot. This is one of those subjects that you like to take both side. You claim to be an atheist, and support teaching of ID in school.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't support ID in science class.

              You keep trying to put me in a neat little category and I keep telling you you're wasting your time.

              Teach it in a theology or philosophy class. Keep it out of science class.

              BUT, i would never dream of going and fighting some crap--in court, mind you--that a majority of people agree with. That's just being a whiny pussy.

              Maybe you should get your law degree and start working for the ACLU. They love fucking the majority in the ass so a few fringe freaks can do whatever they want.

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(goon attack @ Nov 9 2005, 01:37 PM) Quoted post

                I don't support ID in science class.

                You keep trying to put me in a neat little category and I keep telling you you're wasting your time.

                Teach it in a theology or philosophy class. Keep it out of science class.

                BUT, i would never dream of going and fighting some crap--in court, mind you--that a majority of people agree with. That's just being a whiny pussy.

                Maybe you should get your law degree and start working for the ACLU. They love fucking the majority in the ass so a few fringe freaks can do whatever they want.
                [/b][/quote]

                More meltage.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm perfectly calm, dude.

                  Calmer'n you are.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(goon attack @ Nov 9 2005, 01:53 PM) Quoted post

                    I'm perfectly calm, dude.

                    Calmer'n you are.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    Glad to hear it. With the ad hominem attacks, I thought you were frothing from the mouth.

                    "Liberal", "whiny pussy", "ACLU"... some internet badass you are.

                    [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif[/img]

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      QUOTE(goon attack @ Nov 9 2005, 02:37 PM) Quoted post

                      I don't support ID in science class.

                      You keep trying to put me in a neat little category and I keep telling you you're wasting your time.

                      Teach it in a theology or philosophy class. Keep it out of science class.

                      BUT, i would never dream of going and fighting some crap--in court, mind you--that a majority of people agree with. That's just being a whiny pussy.

                      Maybe you should get your law degree and start working for the ACLU. They love fucking the majority in the ass so a few fringe freaks can do whatever they want.
                      [/b][/quote]

                      For the record, I'm amused and surprised by all the ire you've provoked around here. If this isn't the place to stir up some shit, I don't know what is. I'm happy to have your around, and I'm another one who dislikes being forced into a category. Ask Reggie.

                      Having said that, what the fuck are you talking about? You're giving people shit for putting their necks on the line and fighting for something that they--any you, apparently--believe in?

                      The majority doesn't seem to want ID in the science classroom, juding by the fact that the entire school board in Dover that voted for this crap lost their jobs. And even if they did, so what? The majority is often a bunch of fucking morons on wrong side of justice and history, and the true pussies are those that stand by and don't do dick while the majority fucks things up. This isn't an absolute democracy... our Bill of Rights is specifically set up to, at times, prevent the mob from getting what they want.
                      "At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed."
                      – Frederick Douglass, doing an amazing job since 1852

                      Comment

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