When children are just beginning their journey into science and its methods, they’re immediately told that the book of Genesis is wrong. If the subject of ID is brought up by a student, they can be told that ID is a thin veil over creationism, yet they’re NOT told that evolution is a thin veil over atheism. They may not have the critical thinking skills to realize that, and many of their parents feel that it’s important for that fact to be taught in schools.
These are your personal fears and misapprehensions, not facts that have to be dealt with.
Science classes should teach currently accepted views within science. Evolution is a currently accepted view within science. Encouraging school systems to include "scientific controversies" (that phrase is from the bill) in the curriculum seems like a good idea, but there is no scientific controversy about evolution within science. The controversy is social, political and religious, not scientific.
If science/biology was clearly considered by everyone to be a far more important subject than other subjects like Math, history, government, languages etc., or if the U.S. constitution read differently, then the scientific community could make all the decisions about what is taught in science classes. But it’s not considered more important, the Constitution doesn’t give the scientific community special political rights, so therefore what is taught in science classes will continue to largely be a political matter. And new bills intended to challenge atheism in science classes will continue to be introduced. The scientific community needs to get used to it.
Again, this is just a reflection of your own personal fears. Science can only take positions on phenomena for which there is evidence. It not only doesn't say there is no God, it can't say it.
Of course if you want to claim something is true because God says it is true, and it happens to be something for which there is scientific evidence, then worlds clash. But "My interpretation of the Bible, the Word of God, is that this is so" is an impoverished argument against actual evidence.
Trixie wasn't saying that at all. She was expressing surprise at how quickly a creationist gave it away that ID is really about religion.
But thank you for that exceptionally clear and detailed post. Although the information you provided comes as no surprise, it's nice to have it presented so thoroughly and clearly in a single message. You see the issue as one of atheism versus religion. You believe the atheists exerted undue influence over a scientific community that a hundred years ago had it right.
But the rest of us, especially those like Jar and me who are not atheists, see it only as an issue of science education. We believe that what the scientific community believes is science should be taught in science class. Only 7% of the people in this country are atheists, and they are held in lower esteem than almost any other group you can name, so while they may be a convenient scapegoat to blame for evolution being an accepted view within science, the scientific community in this country is predominantly Christian.
And I agree with you that Christians will continue to seek judicial remedy, but the judicial community in this country is also predominantly Christian. It might be time to consider the possibility that ID's failures in the halls of science and in the courts has more to do with ID's failure as science than with any of the fears to which you've given voice.
The quotation marks were used to delimit an entire sentence summarizing the creationist position for use as a noun. Apologies if there was any confusion.
We understand that creationists will continue to seek political remedies for what they perceive as improper atheistic influence in science, but the same lack of evidence that is so apparent to scientists is just as apparent in court. We're fortunate to have the establishment clause in this country, but I think it possible that political efforts promoting creationism would be equally unsuccessful without it just on the basis that science classes should teach what scientists think is science.
But thank you for that exceptionally clear and detailed post.
It does tend to liven up an otherwise boring thread when everyone agrees on everything, doesn't it? Why do you suppose we get messages like 40, 45, 47, 48, and 54? Evolution is in the drivers seat in the courts, why the anger?
That was a straightforward complement, Marc, not sarcasm or whatever you thought it was. Your message was very helpful in giving us a clear understanding of how you view things.
Many of your arguments seem based upon irrational fears, but you did cite some accurate supporting facts. The NAS is dominated by atheists and agnostics, but there are only around 1600 of them in a total population of scientists in the US of around 300,000. I'm sure their influence is disproportionate to their numbers, but none of the evidence or rationale for evolution is based upon atheism. No scientific textbooks or courses or papers on evolution touch on either religion or atheism. Scientists concerned about science education are in favor of keeping both out of science class.
Scientists who oppose religion probably do so because of fundamentalist efforts to teach religious views in science classes. If fundamentalists could be content teaching children their views in Sunday school they'd receive much less attention from scientists.
Evolution is just as atheistic or religious as knitting or automobile repair or any other field of science, in other words, not at all.
I don't think there's anything helpful I can say about what appear to me as paranoid fantasies about improper atheistic influences, so I won't try. I don't want to appear like I'm ignoring them, so I'll just acknowledge them.
But I can respond more meaningfully to simple issues of fact, like this:
If you believe that ID is nothing but religion, you simply don’t know enough about it. Good books have been written about it by Behe and Dembski.
I believe ID is not science because of the almost complete lack of any scientific research about it. Popular press books do not qualify, though I've read books by both Behe and Dembski. And I believe it is religion because the people promoting it do so for religious reasons, like you who oppose evolution because you think it is antireligious and atheistic.
Christians believe that God is beyond one time dimension and three space dimensions. Theistic evolutionists claim that science can be studied in a secular way without God being considered. It doesn’t make sense. If he isn’t considered, his ability, and his existence, is ruled out.
I think I understand the problem here. You think that since science tells us what is true, then if God isn't included he must be ruled out.
But science doesn't tell us what is true. Science only tells us what is likely true based upon the available evidence (tentativity), and only about the natural world. God is not of the natural world. God transcends the natural world.
I see your beliefs as expressions of paranoia and ignorance rather than as conclusions from evidence and reason, but the track record of talking people out of such beliefs is poor and I won't try. Sense and reason turn out to be poor tools to talk people out of beliefs arrived at by other means. I would prefer that people not hold such beliefs, but I see little that can be done about it on an individual basis.
The key question is whether your views pose any real threat to science education, or more generally, to freedom from state imposed religion, and the answer is that I don't. People with views like yours are going to think what they think regardless, but the paranoia combined with a lack of coherence, reason and evidence will be readily apparent to everyone else.
Hi Marc, I see your beliefs as expressions of paranoia and ignorance rather than as conclusions from evidence and reason, but the track record of talking people out of such beliefs is poor and I won't try.
I see evolutionists expressions of paranoia and ignorance of ID that way too.
That's your response, "Oh yeah? Well, so are you!"
Marc, when we say science education is threatened by fundamentalist efforts to teach religion in science class it is because of the very real fundamentalist efforts to teach religion in science class, such as the Dover Board of Education's efforts or the Missouri bill that is the subject of this thread.
But the threats you see at the hands of atheism and science are fantasies of your own mind. No one is proposing bills to teach evolution in evangelical Sunday schools.
You can call science a religion before a church full of fundamentalists and get them shouting hallelujahs at how outrageous it is, but in the cold light of day in public forum the charge looks pretty foolish because it is a fact that the vast majority of activities in people's lives, including fundamentalists, is secular and makes no acknowledgement of religion.
If you'd like to understand what an atheistic threat to religion really looks like then I think you should study the former Soviet Union.
How Many Peer-Reviewed Papers Does Science Require
Because you keep asking this question, I think it's time to answer it:
...the scientific community constantly demands more peer-reviewed papers from ID proponents, yet never specifies how many it would take for ID to become science.
You've asked the wrong question. The number of papers has nothing to do with whether a new idea becomes accepted in science. The criteria is how persuasive is the evidence and argument from the papers, whatever be their number.
In the case of the accelerating expansion of the universe, something that was completely unanticipated and unexpected, the number of primary papers necessary to convince the scientific community was probably 2 because the evidence presented was from two teams using different approaches but reaching the same result, and the control over sources of error in both papers was exemplary.
In the case of Einstein's theory of general relativity published in 1916, I don't know how many papers it took, but it was a couple more decades before general relativity became a widely accepted idea within science.
So it could be a couple papers, it could be a lot of papers. The criteria is, "Whatever it takes to create a consensus within science."
This cartoon has been posted here at EvC a couple times recently (click to enlarge):
Though it's a cartoon, and though we can quibble about the specifics, its list of steps for becoming part of a public school science curriculum does give a pretty good idea of what's involved. The first four steps are the prerequisite for becoming accepted science:
But there's a huge amount of science in that consensus, so the next three steps outline the steps carried out by school systems for whittling down this huge body of science into what's most important for each grade:
ID asserts prejudice by scientists and petitions legislatures and boards of education for the right to skip the first 4 steps required to become part of the scientific consensus. They want to waltz right into science classrooms by government fiat instead of scientific research. But anything that hasn't passed through the first 4 steps is not science, and so has no right to be in science class.
Over the history of EvC I'd say declarations like this turn out to be true maybe 15% of the time. Good luck controlling the inevitable urge to respond.
Even though four people have already addressed a number of your misconceptions, there were a lot left over, but I'll just address this:
Many people see the scientific community’s opposition to ID as a jealous guarding of the status quo...
In a science that is over 150 years old it is difficult to find niches in which to make ones mark. Any possible avenue of research providing the opportunity to build a substantial reputation would receive a great deal of attention from everywhere within biology, from graduate students seeking thesis topics to established scientists to research institutes to government funding agencies.
You cited human fallibility as a reason for excepting ID from the normal requirements of science, but the ID community is as much heir to this human fallibility as everyone else. If ID researchers are truly interested in adding their ideas to the scientific consensus then they should bring those ideas to the halls of science, not to state legislatures.
Early on in this thread I posted that I didn't really have any major problems with the bill. I don't think it's a good idea, but the bill is fairly clear on the most important issues. The bill does explicitly state that children should be taught about "scientific controversies," and that this would include the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of a theory.
Where the danger lies is that some teachers or boards of education might interpret the bill as allowing teachers to teach their own personal views about what they think is controversial within science, instead of about real controversies within science. There's no controversy within science about chemical evolution (about which we know little) or biological evolution (about which we know a great deal). That natural processes that I suppose could be referred to as chemical evolution are responsible for the origin of life is very widely accepted within science. And that evolution is responsible for diversity of life on the planet throughout most of its history is also very widely accepted within science.
And this is where the bill goes wrong, by singling out "the theory of biological and hypotheses of chemical evolution," because concerning what proponents of the bill want to bring to the classroom there are no controversies within science. Evolution is a political, social and religious controversy, not a scientific controversy.