"Teach the Controversy" Nonsense Debated in Strib
Evolution vs Creationism is being debated in the Strib. Dave Eaton does the honors for Intelligent Design Creationism. PZ Myers does the honors for evolution.
Intelligent design (ID) theory is an emerging scientific challenger to neo-Darwinian theory. ID holds that certain aspects of living things and the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than unintelligent causes alone.
(Examples include random mutation and natural selection.) While ID is an interesting and growing scientific topic, it is an emerging theory and should be allowed but not mandated by the state.
It is against the law for public schools to instruct students in creationism. Creationism depends on scripture; ID depends on science.
It's really pathetic that Eaton sits on the Minnetonka school board. Hopefully he will be defeated in the next election.
Intelligent design (ID) has failed to meet even the minimal standards of evidence and scholarship we should expect of the science we teach our children. Teaching it steals time from more vital subjects in which our kids should be grounded.
Science is a conservative process. Most college-level introductory textbooks contain only material that has stood the test of time and has been confirmed independently.
ID proponents have not only failed to provide any evidence for their thesis, they aren't even trying. There are no labs doing research on this subject; all the papers the Discovery Institute has tried to publish are exercises in spin, in which they try to distort biology researchers' work to fit their preconceptions.
With no established body of results, no current work and no promising prospects for future research, why should ID be supported? It's a dead end. It is absurd to propose that our kids learn about a subject that no legitimate scientists are pursuing and that has no utility.
With no track record to earn the respect of scientists and educators, ID is attempting to circumvent the accepted standards of testing and validation to sneak into our schoolrooms -- it's cheating.
It takes a great deal of hard work and persistence and time and evidence to establish a scientific idea, work that should not be shirked by taking the easy route and asking the government to legislate a concept into the schoolrooms.
Yet this is exactly the strategy ID proponents are following: spreading propaganda to persuade school boards and state education departments to insert the ideological dogma of ID into classrooms.
Contrast ID with how legitimate scientific work gets into the curriculum. There is an active ferment of new ideas, new experiments, and new evidence constantly bubbling up in the scientific literature. Many controversies work themselves out in the pages of Nature or Science or other journals, and prompt hypothesis testing and the gathering of new evidence.
If an idea is well-supported by the evidence, it gains wider currency within the scientific community, and eventually works its way into the science textbooks. Biology books are written by biologists, not by the hodge-podge of lawyers, philosophers, theologians, rhetoricians and rare scientists willing to abandon scientific principles found in the ID movement.
Textbook content should accurately reflect the general opinion of the scientists who do real work in a field.
Read more of Paul Myers at his blog, Pharyngula.