Nick Matzke posted Entry 1684 on November 15, 2005 06:38 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1679

Just when I thought I’d seen it all, Red State Rabble notes that Kansas Board of Education chairman Steve Abrams has just published an op-ed entitled “Science standards aren’t about religion” in the Wichita Eagle. I can’t tell if it is the same op-ed that Abrams said in an interview yesterday he was sending to “newspapers across the state, as well as CNN, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post,” but it probably is.

To begin, Abrams declares that the changes to the Kansas science standards are not about religion, and then promptly makes it extremely clear that they actually are. Specifically, Abrams makes it clear that this really is about good old-fashioned creationism, when he writes this:

But that is one of the reasons that we tried to further define evolution. We want to differentiate between the genetic capacity in each species genome that permits it to change with the environment as being different from changing to some other creature. In our science curriculum standards, we called this microevolution and macroevolution – changes within kinds and changing from one kind to another.

What, kinds? Is that a scientific term? What’s the definition? Everyone knows that “kind” is a term of art within creationism, derived straight from the book of Genesis, where God says that animals will reproduce “after their kind.”

But that’s not what was surprising. Creationists make that kind of mistake all the time, no matter how often the Discovery Institute tells them to ixnay the eationismcray. Here’s what’s surprising: the concluding paragraphs of the op-ed, where Abrams goes after professional educators around the state who dare question the wisdom of the Kansas Board of Education.

Superintendents don’t care

In spite of the fact that the state board approved science curriculum standards that endorse critical analysis of evolution (supported by unrefuted testimony from many credentialed scientists at the science hearings) and do not include intelligent design, and the fact that scientific polls indicate a large percentage of parents do not want evolution taught as dogma in the science classroom, what is the response from some of the school superintendents around Kansas?

They seem to indicate, “We don’t care what the state board does, and we don’t care what parents want. We are going to continue teaching evolution just as we have been doing.”

But I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, because superintendents and local school boards in some districts continue to promulgate pornography as “literature,” even though many parents have petitioned the local boards to remove the porn. Obviously, that is a different issue from the science standards, but it still points out the lack of commitment on the part of administration in some districts to allow parents to control the education for their own children.

Yep, this is all about science. Defend the idea of teaching mainstream, well-accepted science, and get accused by a state elected official of giving porn to kiddies. Go over to Red State Rabble to see what is apparently the actual list of “porn” books. In addition to books by award winners like Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, and Ken Kesey, Richard Preston’s book The Hot Zone is on there – don’t ask me why, maybe Abrams thought it was a different kind of “hot” than the virulent strains of hemorrhagic ebola actually discussed in the book. Or maybe it was just offensive that the book describes the evolutionary origin of new diseases.

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Comment #57862

Posted by Pat Hayes on November 15, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

The issue with the “Hot Zone” is both evolution and the description of ebola victims bleeding from certain “orifices” that the prudes who don’t read like to pretend don’t exist.

Comment #57866

Posted by Ron Zeno on November 15, 2005 7:39 PM (e)

“supported by unrefuted testimony from many credentialed scientists at the science hearings”

In other words, their Kansas kangaroo creationism court shows that they have science on their side. Nevermind anyone who says different. And by the way, please don’t look at the transcripts from the kangaroo court to see what actually happened there.

I’m glad Abrams has taken such a moderate stance on the issue, rather than threaten the superintendents and local school boards with the wrath of God. ;)

Comment #57874

Posted by bill on November 15, 2005 7:52 PM (e)

Steve Abrams is the 2005 winner of the Bill Buckingham Award for Honesty and Ethics.

Unfortunately, many hardworking people will have to pitch in to clean up the mess he makes.

Perhaps a corollary to “absolute power corrupts absolutely” should be “lack of responsibility promotes irresponsibility.”

Comment #57884

Posted by Nick (Matzke) on November 15, 2005 8:05 PM (e)

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to make the obvious comparison to Bill Buckingham. Only 3 posts, as it turns out.

(Buckingham, by the way, once asked teacher/parent/plaintiff Bryan Rehm if he was a child abuser (link to Nightline story) during Rehm’s interview during an attempt to join the school board.)

Pat, did he really send this to all the media? If so, he must have really meant every word…

Comment #57891

Posted by Dan Hocson on November 15, 2005 8:19 PM (e)

Abrams says: “scientific polls indicate a large percentage of parents do not want evolution taught as dogma in the science classroom”

Well heck, I don’t want it taught as dogma either. I want it taught as what it is: One of the most rigorously tested, elegant and substantial scientific theories known to man.

Comment #57897

Posted by Tiax on November 15, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

You know, the four people on that school board who voted against this policy must have the hardest job in the world putting up with the other six idiots.

Comment #57915

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 15, 2005 8:58 PM (e)

In our science curriculum standards, we called this microevolution and macroevolution — changes within kinds and changing from one kind to another.

These bozos don’t have a prayer in court.

Pardon the pun.

Comment #57976

Posted by Zeno on November 15, 2005 10:46 PM (e)

I’ve seen creationists use the term “baramin” as a scientific sounding alternative to “kind”. EvoWiki has more details on this bit of creationist camouflage.

Comment #57980

Posted by Jack Krebs on November 15, 2005 10:53 PM (e)

The four good guy Board members deserve a ton of support - each in their own way continually resisting the Gang of Six even though they know they don’t have the votes to override anything that Abrams et al want to propose.

If you’d like to let them know you appreciate their efforts, their email addresses are at http://www.ksde.org/commiss/bdaddr.html

The good guys are:

Bill Wagnon
Janet Waugh
Sue Gamble
Carol Rupe

Comment #58015

Posted by Mark Studdock on November 16, 2005 12:20 AM (e)

I don’t know about the strength of this argument. I’m no traditional creationist but I find that I commonly use the word “kind” when I talk about species. I have also noted its use among colleagues who are decidedly neo-darwinian in their interpretation of descent.

I also find that I use the the word “type” occasionally, but this doesn’t mean that I am typologist.

Also::

The use of Baramin by creationists in this case certainly is not camouflage. In this instance we are dealing with YEC creationists who are very upfront with what they mean by baramin. Just see the EvoWiki source and it’s references which you mentioned.

Of course, you may mean that it is camouflage in the sense that it sounds more scientific. However, baramin is a Hebrew word not a Latin word. And pretty much any time they use the term they follow it up with the def: A baramin is a “created kind” (Hebrew: bara, created, and min, kind)

I wonder what ID theorist think of baraminology? I guess it doesn’t really have much to do with the question of whether there are detectable designs in nature that result from intelligent agent causation so maybe it is of no real interest to them.

Whatever the case, it is clear that teaching baraminology would be a violation of the establishment clause. Baraminology is explicity and methodologically Biblical.

MS

Comment #58019

Posted by Hyperion on November 16, 2005 12:36 AM (e)

Just in case anyone is surprised that people like this continue to be elected, I recently worked for a campaign in Virginia in which our opponent had actually introduced a bill the previous year to reduce penalties for child molesters. I am not making this up. He beat us by 700 votes.

Politics in a democracy is not a rational process, nor is it purely a function of “uninformed” or “ignorant” voters. It simply is what it is, essentially a random coin flip, a chaotic system dependent on many unrelated parts whose outcome is far from obvious. Mr. Abrams may very well win re-election, not due to his views on this subject, but very possibly simply because he is the incumbent, or because his name appears first on the ballot, or simply because his staff are more efficient at getting their supporters to the polls. It could very well turn on the weather that day or whether the traffic allows people to get from work to the polling place before it closes.

That being said, please please please do what you can to support his opponents if you live in Kansas. Even a small donation could allow them to hire an extra staffer or two. Volunteering to help out on election day, if possible, or on the weekend before, could make a huge difference.

Comment #58039

Posted by Dale on November 16, 2005 3:51 AM (e)


Politics in a democracy is not a rational process, nor is it purely a function of “uninformed” or “ignorant” voters. It simply is what it is, essentially a random coin flip, a chaotic system dependent on many unrelated parts whose outcome is far from obvious.

No, your version of democracy may be like this, but not all democracies are. Australia, for example, has compulsory voting which means there is a lot less randomness in the democratic process than you think is inherent in the system.

Comment #58066

Posted by Rage on November 16, 2005 8:31 AM (e)

Abrams wrote:

They then proceed to explain that I ought to understand something about this, because surely I can see that over a period of time, over many generations, a pair of dogs will “evolve.”

Huh? A pair of dogs will evolve?

Comment #58089

Posted by Rich on November 16, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

Rage, he might have “two by two” rattling around his noggin for some reason..

Comment #58090

Posted by yellow fatty bean on November 16, 2005 11:27 AM (e)

A school board chairman using the word “Evolutionist”…..

::shudder::

Comment #58096

Posted by Flint on November 16, 2005 11:42 AM (e)

More on baraminology

Comment #58097

Posted by Don on November 16, 2005 11:43 AM (e)

Mark Studdock wrote:

“I’m no traditional creationist but I find that I commonly use the word “kind” when I talk about species.

Then you are a creationist of the old earth variety probably. You use the word “kind” because it is a rejection of the generally accepted sense of evolutionary common descent. I may be wrong, but I bet I am not.

Mark Studdock wrote:

“I have also noted its use among colleagues who are decidedly neo-darwinian in their interpretation of descent.”

These “colleagues” are most likely, like Abrams, biblically swayed, and most likely, like Abrams, not biologists. I may be wrong but I bet I am not. :-)

Comment #58103

Posted by J-Dog on November 16, 2005 12:15 PM (e)

Flint - Thanks for the link to “baraminology”. Reading it is totally a surreal experience. They are trying to make their gibberish LOOK like science, but not quite making it - like a kid wearing an adults shoes.

If it weren’t so dangerous it would be funnier…

Bariminology!

Comment #58104

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 16, 2005 12:30 PM (e)

Flint - Thanks for the link to “baraminology”. Reading it is totally a surreal experience. They are trying to make their gibberish LOOK like science, but not quite making it - like a kid wearing an adults shoes.

That’s funny, I’ve long had a mental image of IDC ‘researchers’ as being like a bunch of little children who’ve secretly gotten into their parents’ clothes closet, and who are trying on clothes that are far too big for them in an attempt to look like grownups.

I think the thing that’s most fascinating about the Bariminology site is how Creationsists seem so determined now to totally segregate themselves from real science. I know that certain types of fundies have always wanted to isolate themselves from ‘secular’ society, but now it’s gotten to the point that they even want to have a whole parallel society, even with their own faux-scientists. Scary to ponder how far they’ll force this trend.

However, it remains to be seen if they’ll embrace some kind of ‘Christian medicine’ that repudiates scientific empericism. :-)

Comment #58106

Posted by Flint on November 16, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

What’s worth noting is that Richard Sternberg, who became famous for getting Stephen Meyer’s article into a “peer reviewed” journal, is a member of the editorial board of the Baraminology Study Group. To this day, nobody knows who his “peer reviewers” were, but I’m willing to speculate where he met them…

Comment #58113

Posted by Just Bob on November 16, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

Hey, I assign The Hot Zone. The porn part is the word “fucking.” Once. And used quite appropriately.

Comment #58115

Posted by Scott on November 16, 2005 12:58 PM (e)

Where did the list of “pornography” come from? It’s not in Abrams’ cited press release.

Thanks.

Comment #58125

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 16, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

Don wrote:

Then you are a creationist of the old earth variety probably. You use the word “kind” because it is a rejection of the generally accepted sense of evolutionary common descent. I may be wrong, but I bet I am not….
These “colleagues” are most likely, like Abrams, biblically swayed, and most likely, like Abrams, not biologists. I may be wrong but I bet I am not. :-)

Please, cut the guy some slack. He is pointing out that real people, in real situations, when they are not tweaking their verbiage for peer-review, use sloppy language.

Comment #58126

Posted by Steverino on November 16, 2005 1:16 PM (e)

More on Baramin….Its kinda like their Wedge Doc.

http://www.bryancore.org/bsg/opbsg/003.pdf

“About the BSG…

1. Develop a new view of biology that is consistent with the Biblical record.

2. Encourage high-quality creation biology and baramin research.

3. Sponsor conferences and other appropriate activities to promote creation bilogy.

4. Develope a community of creation biologists who share these goals.”

You can stop all the research boys!!!

Comment #58131

Posted by Arden Chatfield on November 16, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

Encourage high-quality creation biology and baramin research.

What would even constitute ‘high-quality research’ to a bunch of creationists?

Comment #58132

Posted by Flint on November 16, 2005 1:58 PM (e)

Corrected version:

1. Develop a new view of biology that is consistent with the Biblical record.
2. Encourage high-quality creation biology and baraminology research.
3. Sponsor conferences and other appropriate activities to promote creation biology.
4. Develop a community of creation biologists who share these goals.

Comment #58133

Posted by Steve Reuland on November 16, 2005 2:00 PM (e)

Mark Studdock wrote:

I don’t know about the strength of this argument. I’m no traditional creationist but I find that I commonly use the word “kind” when I talk about species.

Most creationists define kind as something above the species level, mostly because the evidence for speciation is too much for them to deny. Also, YECs have the particular problem of trying to cram two (or seven) of every kind onto Noah’s Ark, and it makes things easier if there are fewer kinds to have to deal with.

What exactly a kind is is therefore not clear. Creationists sometimes say that it means genus, sometimes family, and sometimes any given taxonomic category above those. But even if they were to settle on one particular taxanomic category, there’s still the problem that all taxonomic categories above species are basically arbitrary, since there are no fixed or formal set of rules for when a taxon is designated as a family or genus or anything else. These categories are basically communication tools, intended to emphasize the degree of relatedness between a taxon’s members. And as anyone familiar with phylogenetics knows, taxonomic categories are constantly being invented and reinvented; for example, to emphasize lower or higher level relationships (i.e. splitting and lumping).

So trying to define kinds by reference to things that are themselves not clearly defined doesn’t help. One might ask that if families and genera are mostly arbitrary, what’s wrong with kinds being arbitrary as well? The answer is that creationists, unlike mainstream biologists, claim that there is a barrier between kinds that is absolutely uncrossable, and that it is impossible for any two kinds to be connected by an unbroken line of descent. The only way to evaluate this claim is to know precisely what a kind is supposed to be. As it turns out, a kind is usually whatever happens to fit the argument of the hour. As it turns out, a kind is usually whatever happens to fit the argument of the hour — whatever evidence for evolution gets presented, the creationist claims that was just change within kinds, and there still exists some mysterious higher level designation that the species simlpy can’t cross. What that is, they never say.

Biologists don’t have this problem because they generally recongize taxonomy as an artificial construct, one that reflects real history but nevertheless erects boundaries of convenience where none really exist.

Comment #58137

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on November 16, 2005 2:06 PM (e)

Don: Sorry, but I am not a creationist of the old earth or young earth variety. If I can call myself a creationist here without fear of confusion I will. But what I mean by the term creationist is that I think it rational to view nature as resulting from the wisdom or plan of a creator.(pretty modest and not an anti-science claim if you understand me properly) I am tottally unaware and undecided upon the mechanisms employed by such a being. I esteem evolutionary theories but do not entirely dismiss teleological interpretations of evo. Although I am not sold on “simple” neo-Darwinism(natural selection and mutation) I think I lean towards neo-darwinism plus evo-devo, and various other modern additions.

You are also mistaken(understandably) about the identification of my colleagues. I am a graduate student in hist/phil of sci and have many friends in our bio department. I have often heard them use typological language. People who are not “biblically swayed” often employ language that might historically have been swayed by biblical epistemes. That’s all.

Bayesian Bouffant, FCD: Thanks. You are correct in your reading of my post.

I too have become a FCD.

Comment #58145

Posted by Bulman on November 16, 2005 2:33 PM (e)

It is not rational to view nature as resulting from a supernatural being without any mechanism/reason. A house doesn’t spring into existence just because an architect drew up plans.

Your point of non biblically swayed people using bilibcal language is well taken. See Eve Hypothesis.

[Rational- a : having reason or understanding b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason : REASONABLE (a rational explanation) (rational behavior)]

Comment #58148

Posted by Flint on November 16, 2005 2:46 PM (e)

Steve Reuland:

What exactly a kind is is therefore not clear. Creationists sometimes say that it means genus, sometimes family, and sometimes any given taxonomic category above those.

Amen, brother:

Groups as varied as man (a species), horses (a family), turtles (an order), sharks (a class), sponges (a phylum), algae (a group of phyla), bacteria and fungi (kingdoms) have been listed as examples of kinds (Morris, 1974, p. 87-88).

Comment #58149

Posted by Ed Darrell on November 16, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

Abrams may be the reigning king of gall in Kansas.

The hearings barely skirted legality, if they were not completely illegal. Were I Abrams, and were the attorney general of Kansas alive today, I’d worry about investigations into illegal use of monies.

In any case, administrative agencies do not have the privilege of making up the facts on which they base their decisions, nor do they have the privilege of running kangaroo courts and claiming they were balanced.

The courts in Kansas may have been neutered, I don’t know. Abrams’ has led an illegal wasting of the taxpayers’ money. King George III at his maddest was more rational.

It’s difficult to find stuff so far out to lunch as Abrams’ writings, since Nicolae Ceaucescu died.

Then there’s Pat Robertson. Bette Davis was right: Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Comment #58151

Posted by Nick Matzke on November 16, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

More details on Abrams’ claims from the Kansas City Star, confirming Red State Rabble’s version of events:

Posted on Wed, Nov. 16, 2005

State board chief faults Blue Valley book rulings

By DAVID KLEPPER

The Kansas City Star

TOPEKA – We knew he wasn’t a fan of Darwin, but Steve Abrams apparently doesn’t care for Toni Morrison, either.

The chairman of the Kansas Board of Education fired an indirect shot at Blue Valley school officials in a letter sent this week to newspapers statewide. In it, Abrams defended the state board’s recent adoption of science standards that cast doubt on evolution.

Abrams also wrote that it was not surprising that some local school officials objected to the standards because they were the same ones who “continue to promulgate pornography as ‘literature,’ even though many parents have petitioned the local boards to remove the porn.”

Abrams did not mention Blue Valley by name, but on Tuesday he said the district’s recent controversies were on his mind when he wrote the letter.

Last month, a parent asked the Blue Valley Board of Education to remove Morrison’s novel Beloved because she felt the book had inappropriate content, including references to bestiality. Beloved tells the story of a woman and her struggles after slavery.

The board upheld a lower committee’s decision to keep the book.

Blue Valley Superintendent Tom Trigg said the district does not force any student to read a book over parental objections.

“We have a very explicit policy of how we deal with challenges to books,” Trigg said. “We try to be very upfront with parents if there’s anything controversial.”

Abrams said the board ignored the wishes of parents. “It just surprises me that the board and the administration doesn’t want to do anything about it, when you have parents coming up to try to get rid of this porn,” he said.

Blue Valley received six formal challenges to novels or short stories in the curriculum at the end of the 2004-2005 school year. All six were kept in the curriculum.

To reach David Klepper, call 1-(785) 354-1388 or send e-mail to [Enable javascript to see this email address.] . The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Funny, I read Toni Morrison’s Beloved in AP English. And in college. I gotta say, it didn’t really make much sense to me in high school, but still, it ain’t what Abrams says it is.

Comment #58166

Posted by Loris on November 16, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

Anyone else have a problem with this?

“the lack of commitment on the part of administration in some districts to allow parents to control the education for their own children.”

Since when should parents “control” their child’s education? I didn’t know that was how this all works. We’ve all seen what happens when parents control what children learn. Sometimes they become crazy like the two girls from “Prussian Blue”. Anyway, part of public schooling is being exposed to ideas one would not necessarily find at home. Parents should not “control” what their children learn, but rather should be informed and have some input. Otherwise, every child would be learning something different based on the parents’ views of what is appropriate.

Comment #58171

Posted by ah_mini on November 16, 2005 5:05 PM (e)

The definition of “kind” is easy. Think back to those books you read as a kid. The ones with biiiig letters. Usually, one of them would be something like, “The Big Book of Animals” (dunno if that’s a real title, I made it up). In books like these you’d find cartoon pics of animals with their names underneath. Notice that mammals are always over-represented in these books. There’ll be lions, tigers, cows, giraffes, dogs, cats, monkeys, hippos, etc. Then reptiles will have, crocodiles and snakes and that’s probably about it. Same with fish, sharks and, if you’re lucky, whales. The creationist “kinds” are derived from these books, completely arbitary and completely childlike in their detail.

Comment #58176

Posted by CJ O'Brien on November 16, 2005 5:32 PM (e)

Heh. LGBT

“Little Golden Book Taxonomy”

Take that, Abrams!

Comment #58197

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 16, 2005 7:14 PM (e)

What exactly a kind is is therefore not clear.

An excerpt from my website on precisely this question:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/kinds.htm

Comment #58198

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on November 16, 2005 7:17 PM (e)

The definition of “kind” is easy. Think back to those books you read as a kid. The ones with biiiig letters. Usually, one of them would be something like, “The Big Book of Animals” (dunno if that’s a real title, I made it up). In books like these you’d find cartoon pics of animals with their names underneath. Notice that mammals are always over-represented in these books. There’ll be lions, tigers, cows, giraffes, dogs, cats, monkeys, hippos, etc. Then reptiles will have, crocodiles and snakes and that’s probably about it. Same with fish, sharks and, if you’re lucky, whales. The creationist “kinds” are derived from these books, completely arbitary and completely childlike in their detail.

Don’t laugh. Over the years I have had at least a dozen creationists tell me exactly this, in all seriousness. A “kind”, in their view, is roughly akin to the way a five year old would classify animals. “Kitty cat”. “Doggie”. “Fish”.

Comment #58207

Posted by Bill Gascoyne on November 16, 2005 7:41 PM (e)

Dale wrote:

No, your version of democracy may be like this, but not all democracies are. Australia, for example, has compulsory voting which means there is a lot less randomness in the democratic process than you think is inherent in the system.

The other thing compulsory voting does in Australia is raise the specter of Mickey Mouse winning every election (I understand from my Australian friends that that’s generally what people write in as a protest when they’d rather not vote).

Comment #58223

Posted by Dale Stanbrough on November 16, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

Bill Gascoyne wrote:

The other thing compulsory voting does in Australia is raise the specter of Mickey Mouse winning every election (I understand from my Australian friends that that’s generally what people write in as a protest when they’d rather not vote).

I should have said we have compulsory attendance at elections - after all with a secret ballot, no one can see what you write on your piece of paper (yes we still use paper! :-).

This means that people who don’t want to vote can simply spoil their ballot - if you write “Mickey Mouse” then your vote doesn’t count at all.

Advantages to compulsory attendance are that most people take voting seriously and the election process can ‘t be hijacked by special interest groups lobbying the troops.

Comment #58337

Posted by GT(N)T on November 17, 2005 8:07 AM (e)

“Advantages to compulsory attendance are that most people take voting seriously and the election process can ‘t be hijacked by special interest groups lobbying the troops.”

The disadvantage is that people who have absolutely no clue about an issue are forced to go to the polls. If you’re lucky, they’ll write “Mickey Mouse” on the ballet and the thing will be tossed. If you’re unlucky, they’ll vote for the name that sounds male, Anglo, and Protestant. ‘Steve Abrams’ comes to mind.

Comment #58345

Posted by Wayne Francis on November 17, 2005 9:54 AM (e)

In the interest of full disclosure one thing should be mentioned about the voting system in Australia is that it there is a preference system here that basically allows different political parties a way to negotiate with other parties for votes.
Ballots are designed that you can either vote the party line, which the majority of voters do, or you have to rate number every candidate in your order of preference. Both of these options have their flaws.

With the easy option that most voters take it promotes middle of the line candidates because the major political parties concede little to other parties and the other parties must work with them to get the preference votes they often need to get into office. Hence it is less that the people vote candidates in and more that the 2 major political parties decide who gets in where.

With the difficult option there are 3 things wrong from my point of view. First is because it is more difficult less people do it. Second is because it is more difficult more people mess up the ballot nullifying their vote. Third is it is very complicated for the average person to try to get their actual preferences across properly.

I’ll give a brief example of a simple ballot
Say you have 5 parties in an election and 25 candidates running
Party 1 has 10 people running
Party 2 has 3
Party 3 had 1
Party 4 has 8
Party 5 has 3

You either vote for one of the parties, above the line, and that party has declared how the preferences go. Or you can vote below the line and you have to rank the 25 candidates in the order you would like to see them in office, from 1 to 25. This sounds good. This actually means that someone that was consistently voted second, third or fourth could well get into office over someone that got more first place votes. It is more of a “who do you dislike the least” then a who do you like the most system. Smart voters could work the system and vote their number 1 put their strongest opponents at the bottom. It also forces you to support in some manner all but one candidate.

It basically keeps the 2 major parties in power. Other parties must struggle to negotiate preferences to the their feet in.

Over here there is no executive branch. One less check and balance to the system.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t think the US Electoral System is very good either. Should voting be mandatory in the USA? I don’t know. How much would it change things? I think it would get more young people off their asses and actually voting. It surprises me how political many of our youth can sound but when it comes to crunch time the don’t get to the voting booth.

For the fraud going on in the US elections I say there need to be stiff penalties. Someone is found committing fraud in a election by manipulating vote in any way from calling citizens and telling them the wrong date, time, place they need to vote to harassing voters I say throw the book at them. Fine and jail them. Mandatory sentencing. High level corruption should involve life sentences. They are messing with the rights of to many citizen in the most important process of our government.

Oh the other thing about voting over here that I find funny is I can vote even if I’m not a citizen. It is fairly easy to get on the election role. Even if I couldn’t I could greatly influence the voting by just traveling around to all the voting locations and voting under someone else’s name. Just don’t go to the location that that person actually votes at. The person you impersonate will get a letter asking why they voted so many times and would get fined if they admitted to it but the votes have no way of being removed from the count.

Comment #58373

Posted by Anna Ault on November 17, 2005 11:45 AM (e)

Loris wrote “ Since when should parents “control” their child’s education? “

Since Pierce v. Society of the Sisters, 1925. And of course Wisconsin v. Yoder, 1972. Some people also see the recent(2000) Troxell v. Granville as being applicable precedent, but I’m personally iffy on that one.

*shrugs*

Of course, all that addresses more the question of parental right to control their children’s education – whether or not a parent ‘should’ is, I suppose, still debatable. However, given the willingness of the state to penalize parents whose kids don’t participate fully in compulsory schooling, I think trying to argue that parents shouldn’t bear full control and responsibility for educating their kids would be a hard row to hoe.

Comment #58427

Posted by Just Bob on November 17, 2005 4:53 PM (e)

Kinds? I got your kinds right here.!

Comment #58461

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on November 17, 2005 7:40 PM (e)

Mark Studdock wrote:

I don’t know about the strength of this argument. I’m no traditional creationist but I find that I commonly use the word “kind” when I talk about species. I have also noted its use among colleagues who are decidedly neo-darwinian in their interpretation of descent.

I also find that I use the the word “type” occasionally, but this doesn’t mean that I am typologist.

If you’re interested in pegging your own stance more precisely, here’s a guide to The Creation/Evolution Continuum

I’m guessing that “Evolutionary Creationism” or “Theistic Evolution” might be your niche.

Comment #58809

Posted by Shadowram on November 18, 2005 11:08 PM (e)

Dr Abrams article in The Joplin Globe
http://www.joplinglobe.com/story.php?story_id=21…

And my response to him.

Dr. Abrams,

First and foremost you changed the definition of science, that is one of the major contentions I have. The board changed the definition of science by removing the term “natural explanations of observable phenomena”.

That is a lot of power for a school board to wield. You are going against the school of thought that over 95 percent of all the scientist in the “world” live by. They use this process to cure the sick, make technology better for the rest of us, and help us understand the world for what it really is, in “natural explanations”. Do you not think you are belittling the worlds higher education, by saying you and the school board know better?.

Are we not suppose to put our trust in these learned Men and Women ( Let them debate and figure it all out)?. Is that not why we tell our children if they want to be apart of this discussion, debate and research, they should aspire to become a Scientist. But you have, by your actions and the board’s belittled the great accomplishments these people have made. Because it seems a School board can by themselves change the very definition of their work. That is a lot of power!!

My second point of contention is ““7) explains proposed scientific explanations of the origin of life as well as scientific criticisms of those explanations.” If off you are really leaping by even suggesting that there even is a scientific theory about the “origin of Life” you as a learned person should know there is no such theory and only hypothesis, not to mention as I’m sure you know the Theory of Evolution is about the Origin of species not origins of life. So why bring that into the classroom?

I have no problem with “scientific criticisms of those explanations” and if you mean evolution, I am ALL for it, and I think it’s needed The problem is there is NO scientifically viable alternative to evolution, at least not at this time. For you to even hint that there is, you do a grave injustice to the educational system. If you really want to criticize evolution, do it from within.

That kind of debate goes on every day. Look at the very resent discovery of grass in dinosaur dung. It was thought that grass was not around during that period, now there are debates going on within the scientific community about this find and I sure when all is said and done our Scientist will be able to explain it. And just like they have for the last 150 years, the answer will still fit neatly within the Theory of Evolution.

Please understand that point, in the last 150 years there has been change in the way we understand the evolutionary process, this goes on everyday, the point is NOTHING in science has been able to disprove Evolution. Just because we do not know everything about the evolutionary process, does not mean it’s wrong, it only means we do not know yet.

Please give the respect and admiration our present and future scientist deserve. Do not make a mockery of Higher Education.

Jit Gill

Newport News VA

Speaking on behalf my 4 year old daughter, who is my future and just maybe, who knows, the future of all of us.

Comment #58859

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on November 19, 2005 2:15 PM (e)

but I’m willing to speculate where he met them…

Stephen C. Meyer has already said that he and Sternberg discussed getting his presentation published at a “conference” they both attended.[Source]

In all likelihood the conference was the Biola “RAPID” conference held in 2002, at which both Meyer and Sternberg presented talks. Note that this conference was for ID advocates only, and critics were prevented from registering.

Comment #58861

Posted by Flint on November 19, 2005 2:38 PM (e)

Wesley:

In all likelihood the conference was the Biola “RAPID” conference held in 2002

What I was speculating about was where Sternberg found the reviewers themselves. Do you suppose at the RAPID conference, Meyer and Sternberg identified and sounded out a few reviewer candidates? I have no idea what really happened, but the whole affair sounds very much like the selection process for picking Leonard’s thesis committee.

Comment #74969

Posted by Sir_Toejam on January 22, 2006 10:20 PM (e)

help! we’re being attacked by the intelligent educated bot segment of society!

Comment #82395

Posted by nuzzled on February 27, 2006 1:19 AM (e)

http://unusual.anzwers.net/gaymen/260921/all.htm… complimentwhosewondered

Comment #97258

Posted by heels on April 19, 2006 4:46 AM (e)

http://www.equipments.de/wwwboard/messages/65754… complimentwhosewondered