Nick Matzke posted Entry 1757 on December 12, 2005 09:40 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1752

1924-07-22_textbook_row_near.pngAt some point during the last year I realized that nothing really ever changes in creationism, except perhaps the labelling. This probably occurred in-between the discovery that “intelligent design” originated in 1987 as a new label for the creationism just that year ruled unconstitutional in Edwards v. Aguillard, and watching William Buckingham testify at how personally offended he was that the Dover teachers dare teach just a little bit of the evolution that the Pennsylvania state standards required.

Sometimes, though, not even the labels change. Take the Cobb County “theory not fact” sticker which was stuck in every Cobb County biology textbook as a warning label against evolution. It is on my mind because, while it was been ruled unconstitutional in the January 2005 district court decision Selman v. Cobb County, the hearing for the appeal is scheduled for this week, Thursday, December 15.

Now, “theory not fact” policies are sometimes described as a “new” creationist tactic. But I recently came across some information which dates such policies straight back to good-ol’ days of the Scopes Era, the mid-1920’s, when men were men, monkeys were monkeys, evolution was in effect banned from the textbooks, no one was pretending that protecting Biblical literalism wasn’t the key issue, and William Jennings Bryan was barnstorming around the country decrying the evils of evolution.

The first “theory not fact” policy was in fact passed by the California State Board of Education in 1924-1925. The policy was adopted as – guess what – the Board’s accommodation to fundamentalists protesting the teaching of evolution in California. In 1925, the Board took this policy and applied it to textbooks, turning down those that dared treat evolution as anything more than a (colloquial) “theory.”

The newspaper stories from that day read like they are from The Onion. But they’re for real. Via the Historical Archives of the Los Angeles Times in the ProQuest database (subscription required – go visit your local university library), here is a quote from the July 22, 1925 issue of the Los Angeles Times:

TEXTBOOK ROW NEAR

Evolution fight in California

—-*—-

Education Board to Decide What Works May be Used in State

—-*—-

Teaching of Darwinism as Theory Permissible But Not as Fact

—-*—-

[EXCLUSIVE DISPATCH]

SAN FRANCISO, July 21. – The State Board of Education will decide Thursday morning precisely what text-books on evolution may be taught in the schools of California. The basis of selection will be whether the text presents evolution simply as a theory or as a fact. If the book says that evolution is a fact the board, sitting in solemn conclave at the Fairmont Hotel, will consign the volume to the bottom of the bay and points south.

Caught between two fires, the board has declared that evolution as a theory is permissable. One by one the text-books will come up for judgement, and the main fight is expected to develop over the “suspended list.”

There are approximately sixty of these books. The board has previously looked them over and labeled them “doubtful.” They were not definitely barred, but the board appointed a committee of educators, headed by President W. W. Campbell of the University of California, to examine the books. That was last April, and the committee duly turned in a favorable recommendation. So far, however, the board has not adopted the texts as official.

Maynard Shipley, president of the Science League of America, will be present in person Thursday morning to insist that these books be given an official rating. Representatives of the fundamentalists are also expected to be on hand, fighting against their adoption. Advance indications are that the session will be a warm one.

[…]

[Reference: “TEXTBOOK ROW NEAR.” Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Jul 22, 1925; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1985), pg. 1. URL for database entry (subscription probably required to see the database entry)

If you have access, be sure to click on Page Image – PDF in the lower right-hand corner. This is the front page of the LA Times, the day after the Scopes Trial verdict was handed down. So, there are screaming headlines: “SCOPES CONVICTION PAVES WAY FOR LEGAL STRUGGLE“, “TEXTBOOK ROW NEAR“, “EVOLUTION TRIAL COST $25,000“, and a cartoon featuring Bryan, Darrow, and an ape, entitled, “‘When Shall We Three Meet Again?’.”

For a little more context, see p. 75 of: Larson, Ed (2003). Trial and Error: The American Controversy Over Creation and Evolution, Third edition, Oxford University Press:

The bewildering disparity in opinion about the impact of Scopes on the anti-evolution movement – from the immediate verdict for the defense in the eastern press to Szasz’s recent verdict for the prosecution – highlights the unexpected resilience of this cause despite its pounding at Dayton. This is revealed in the legal actions following the Scopes trial and Bryan’s death. During the months following Bryan’s death, dozens of evangelical leaders rushed to pick up the fallen mantle, loosing a frenzy of uncoordinated and often localized legal activity against evolutionary teachings. [88] Three days after Bryan died, anti-evolution legislation was introduced in Georgia, one of the few states where the legislature remained in session. In 1926, three of the nine state assemblies meeting that year faced such bills, a record number for a legislative off-year. When the bulk of state legislatures next convened in the spring of 1927, eighteen different anti-evolution bills appeared in fourteen widely scattered states, an all-time high in both categories. A final introduction two years later in Texas rounded out the decade. [89]

Supplementing this legislative activity, some state and local educational boards took the initiative in moving against evolutionary teaching. A year before the Scopes trial, the state Board of Education in California had directed teachers to present Darwinism “as a theory only” while the North Carolina Board had barred state high schools from using biology textbooks that “in any way intimate an origin of the human race other than that contained in the Bible.” [90] A few months after Scopes, the Texas Textbook Commission, acting at the insistence of Governor Miriam Ferguson, ordered the deletion of evolution from all public school texts. The Louisiana Superintendent of Education took similar steps the following year. Scattered local restrictions against evolutionary teaching also cropped up across America during the late twenties. Despite these administrative successes, legislative relief remained the primary legal objective for anti-evolution crusaders during the first few years after the Scopes trial. [91]

[…]

[p. 231, Notes]

88. Bailey, “Anti-Evolution Crusade,” 212-16; Coletta, Bryan, 279; Marsden, Fundamentalism and Culture, 189; and Szasz, Divided Mind, 125.

89. Anti-evolution bill introductions listed in Richard David Wilhelm, “A Chronology and Analysis of Regulatory Actions Relating to the Teaching of Evolution in Public Schools,” Diss. Univ. of Texas 1978, pp. 62-64.

90. Cameron Morrison to WJB, Feb. 5, 1924, Bryan Papers; Bailey, “Anti-evolution Crusade,” 67-69; and Wilhelm, “Chronology,” 90.

91. Compare Maynard Shipley, The War on Modern Science: A Short History of the Fundamentalist Attacks on Evolution and Modernism (New York: Knopf, 1927), 111, with Maynard Shipley, “Growth of the Anti-Evolution Movement,” Current History, 32 (1930), 330. For further discussion of local restrictions on evolutionary teaching imposed during the late 1920s, see Bailey, “Anti-evolution Crusade,” 71-72 and 223-24; Bailey, Protestantism, 88; Ginger, Six Days, 223; Szasz, Divided Mind, 123; and Wilhelm, “Chronology,” 88-91.

(emphasis added)

In creationism, it appears, there really is nothing new under the sun.

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Comment #62584

Posted by BWE on December 12, 2005 10:42 PM (e)

Re “Don’t fall for design baloney” (Dec. 2): Personally and collectively, I and many others in the community are getting fed up to here with the constant talk that intelligent design is not scientific. What do they think has caused the top 400 scientists in the world to take the ID stance?

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/opinion/letters/sfl-br10dec12,0,7328768.story?coll=sfla-news-letters

Did you know that they were the Top 400?

Comment #62586

Posted by Keanus on December 12, 2005 10:46 PM (e)

I’m not old enough to recall the 1920’s and the Scopes trial, but as a science text book editor in the 1960’s I encountered the same attack and argument (evolution is a theory not a fact) from Mel and Norma Gabler and other right wing gadflies in Texas, and their religious compatriots elsewhere in the south. They also mustered the same flawed technical arguments then—thermodynamics, the use of nuclear decay for dating, the many missing links, and so on. Only two things have changed: the name of their theory and the seemingly learned face they present publicly.

Comment #62589

Posted by BlastfromthePast on December 12, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

Facts are explained by Laws and Theories. If evolution is a fact, then what explains it? Is it the “theory” of evolution? Seems like this would be the situation whether the year is 1925 or 2005.

Comment #62590

Posted by BWE on December 12, 2005 11:16 PM (e)

Blast,
In all seriousness, Natural Selection.

Comment #62591

Posted by Matt on December 12, 2005 11:20 PM (e)

Evolution is both a fact (rather, a collection of facts) and a coherent theory that accounts for those facts.

This is the case regardless of whether the semantic quibbles date from 1925 or 2005.

Comment #62592

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on December 12, 2005 11:22 PM (e)

Laws are descriptions of observed relationships. As such, they are not explanatory. Newton’s law of universal gravitation is a description, not an explanation.

Comment #62593

Posted by Nick Matzke on December 12, 2005 11:48 PM (e)

BlastFromThePast,

I linked to What’s Wrong with ‘Theory Not Fact’ Resolutions for a reason…

Comment #62594

Posted by roger Tang on December 12, 2005 11:49 PM (e)

Facts are explained by Laws and Theories.

Half right.

Go back and do your homework and figure out which part is which.

Comment #62595

Posted by Tice with a J on December 13, 2005 12:06 AM (e)

Jim McKinney wrote:

Science is what has exposed the flaws in evolution. It has shown the errors in carbon dating, the moon’s orbit slowdown and the connection between the slow incremental loss of the size of the sun and the concept that if the universe was billions of years old, the sun originally would have been so large, it would have burned out the Earth.

Well, I suppose if you’re going to throw out biological evolution, why not follow it with stellar evolution?

My response to Jim: the Sun is not as old as the universe. There was the Horrendous Space Kablooie, then matter began to settle, then a bunch of stellar dust formed into our solar system. The Sun is not as old as the universe. As for errors in carbon dating, you cannot effectively use material with a 5,000 year half-life to measure billion-year times.

As for the Moon slowing down:
http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Moon_is_receding_at_a_rate_too_fast_for_an_old_universe

Jim McKinney wrote:

A renowned biochemist, one of the 400 scientists, was able to examine one-celled organisms and hypothesize that a complete organ such as the eye follows the unanimously accepted concept of “irreducible complexity” – simply stated is: If only one part of an organ is removed, it won’t work; you cannot reduce its complexity or it simply will not function. It’s true at the molecular level as well.

Evolution doesn’t work by just sticking parts in, and it never has. A good metaphor can be found here:
http://udel.edu/~mcdonald/mousetrap.html

I think what this really illustrates is the need to fight ideologically. The “fundies” won’t listen to what scientists have to say, or they’ll just change their arguments, and they can shout until people listen to them. Scientists should change the nature of the discussion to win.

[fixed by njm]

Comment #62596

Posted by Tice with a J on December 13, 2005 12:08 AM (e)

Dang it! Put in one thing wrong, one thing, and your whole post disappears! A minute’s worth of words lost over a single mismatched blockquote! Can someone fix that?

Comment #62599

Posted by Tice with a J on December 13, 2005 12:29 AM (e)

A thought occurred to me. Science cannot play defense if it wishes to survive a massive onslaught of willful ignorance. Evolution may be true and easily provable, but what if in 10 years, the people throw it out anyway?

The creationists have not changed tactics. They’ve trotted out a few facts, turned them on their heads, and shouted at the top of their lungs that they’ve found a proof to undo evolution. It doesn’t matter if their proof is shown to be unsound. That’s not part of their strategy. They don’t care about what you people say here, even if you’re right.

If they want to make it a culture war, science should fight on a cultural level. Science should show its true colors to the children, and scientists should try to make ‘science’ synonymous with ‘curiosity’ and ‘truth’ and ‘usefulness’ in the public view. If small children are encouraged to poke at bugs with sticks and think of this as science, creationists will find it more difficult to demonize science.

Science has won the fact battle, but that doesn’t mean it’s won the culture war.

Comment #62600

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 12:56 AM (e)

Who cares about how a fish became a frog?” he said. “What about the way light beams became us? If you teach the wonder, everyone will see something beyond the physical world.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/576#comments

Sooner or later someone will be on to me there. They haven’t been deleting my posts lately. I’ve toned down a bit and today a guy tattled on me in a post. Maybe I’ll be banned. ANyway, This is from a bit dembski himself published. I quoted it in my comment. I wonder what they think? I’m with tice, make science really start young. My kids were collecting bugs by age 5. Not that that’s a good thing but they still have their bug collections. Boxes, styrofoam, pins, little itty bitty name tags and the bugs divided to reflect the taxonomy.

We gave them 5cents a piece for every bug they didn’t have. They learned a lot about ecosystems and habitat that way. Rotten logs were good for a while but soon enough, it got pretty hard to find new ones there.

The bewildering disparity in opinion about the impact of Scopes on the anti-evolution movement — from the immediate verdict for the defense in the eastern press to Szasz’s recent verdict for the prosecution — highlights the unexpected resilience of this cause despite its pounding at Dayton

Quick, how many species of lepidoptera can you name? If you got more than one, chances are you aren’t an ID person. Unless of course you are one of the Top 400 scientists in the world. They believe in ID.

Comment #62603

Posted by Tiax on December 13, 2005 1:31 AM (e)

Hmm, this is a tad off-topic, but I came across it while looking for the URL of the 400 list to email that sun-sentinel paper about the ‘error’ (or willful distortion of the truth, as the case may be).

If you go to the Discovery Institute’s site, and click on the “Science and Culture” link to the left, you’ll see column titled “Scientific Research and Scholarship.” The fourth item down on this list is titled “Darwin’s Critics Are No Bigots, in Contrast to Certain Darwinists.”

It is now so very clear to me how it is that the Discovery Institute can believe that ID is science: They also believe that the above article is science!

Comment #62604

Posted by Tiax on December 13, 2005 1:35 AM (e)

BWE wrote:
“Sooner or later someone will be on to me there. They haven’t been deleting my posts lately. I’ve toned down a bit and today a guy tattled on me in a post. Maybe I’ll be banned. ANyway, This is from a bit dembski himself published. I quoted it in my comment. I wonder what they think? I’m with tice, make science really start young. My kids were collecting bugs by age 5. Not that that’s a good thing but they still have their bug collections. Boxes, styrofoam, pins, little itty bitty name tags and the bugs divided to reflect the taxonomy.”

You know how Dembski likes to write “So-and-so is no longer with this blog”? Someone needs to register as “science” and see if we get “Science is no longer with this blog.”

Comment #62606

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 1:52 AM (e)

#

“Who cares about how a fish became a frog?” he said. “What about the way light beams became us? If you teach the wonder, everyone will see something beyond the physical world.”

And that, my friends, is the ultimate truth of the matter.

Comment by Bling Bling — December 12, 2005 @ 11:34 pm
#

Maybe Bling Bling likes alliteration.

He’s obviously soliciting a “Bling Bling is no longer with this blog” message.

Comment by keiths — December 13, 2005 @ 12:07 am

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/576

(I’m Bling Bling)

Comment #62608

Posted by Tice with a J on December 13, 2005 2:13 AM (e)

Yay! My post is saved! Thank you njm! :hugs:

By the way, BWE, better tone down your comments on UD. Dembski’s already square enough, you wouldn’t want to completely deny him bling-bling, would you? ^-^

BWE wrote:

Quick, how many species of lepidoptera can you name? If you got more than one, chances are you aren’t an ID person. Unless of course you are one of the Top 400 scientists in the world. They believe in ID.

You know, I had to look up “lepidoptera” on Google, and when I tried to name some specific species, I completely blanked. I’ve thought up a few now (luna moth and hawk moth were the first to spring to mind), but my shame still remains.

Comment #62610

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 2:31 AM (e)

Tice, I forgive you for not knowing your lepidoptera. It’s not that big of a deal, really. I was on a bug tangent there because of thinking about instilling science at a young age.

You know, After I though about it, I wonder if chemistry sets do the same thing as biology type things. We have done experiments with yeast, dissected owl pellets (after baking), spent hundreds of hours exploring tidepools and dissecting fish that we caught, and tons of other things but I wasn’t the one that turned them onto einstein or chemistry. I guess they all read science news and scientific american since they were pretty young but physics and chemistry don’t necissarily lead to a good understanding of why evolution is obvious. Exploring how life works and how it interacts with other life is really the way you do that.

Well, food for thought.

Comment #62612

Posted by Hans-Richard Grümm on December 13, 2005 3:01 AM (e)

Wesley Elsberry wrote:

Laws are descriptions of observed relationships. As such, they are not explanatory. Newton’s law of universal gravitation is a description, not an explanation.

Well, they explain the observed relationships that Kepler’s laws describe.

And Kepler’s laws explains the observed positions of the planets that Tycho Brahe and all others astronomers before Kepler described.

IOW, the explanations of yesterday can become the observed relationships of today.

Regards, HRG.

Comment #62614

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 3:26 AM (e)

Science just posted at uncommondescent and now he is going to bed.~~

Comment #62617

Posted by Tice with a J on December 13, 2005 6:18 AM (e)

Science needs sleep!

Comment #62618

Posted by tom_kbel on December 13, 2005 6:19 AM (e)

Jim McKinney

… the sun originally would have been so large, it would have burned out the Earth.

Turns out that this latest in ID arguments was invented by that “top” scientist, Kent Hovind:

http://members.aol.com/dwise1/cre_ev/solar_mass.html

Comment #62619

Posted by Alan Fox on December 13, 2005 6:24 AM (e)

Completely OT.

Anyone wanting a laugh and with time to waste may enjoy a quick look here. Prof. D. has magnanimously extended invitations to Dawkins, Behe, Dembski, Denton, Johnson to contibute!

Comment #62628

Posted by KL on December 13, 2005 8:27 AM (e)

On the blog Alan Fox mentioned in post 62619, fdocc wrote:

For example, in Australia “More than 100 schools are already teaching intelligent design as science, alongside the mandatory curriculum requirement to study evolution.”

Can anyone verify that claim?

Comment #62632

Posted by Jeff G. on December 13, 2005 9:15 AM (e)

I think we need to start a counter-campaign. All books with I.D. in it should have the following sticker:

“Intelligent Design is not a fact, not a theory, in fact it’s not even really a hypothesis. It’s entirely made up”

Comment #62635

Posted by NonyNony on December 13, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

You know, this post got me thinking. We’ve seen news stories recently about how over 60% (I think it was) of the population doesn’t “believe” in evolution. It would be nice to know how much this number has changed since the Scopes trial, or at least since the middle of the last century.

Comment #62636

Posted by BlastfromthePast on December 13, 2005 9:44 AM (e)

You seem to miss my point. There is “evolution” the “fact”–brought home to us by the fossil record. And “evolution” the “theory”–as in Darwinism; and incredible amounts of confusion are caused by the failure to distinguish these two, a failure that–usually, I suppose–happens through mere laziness.

Nonetheless, how is it wrong to point out that Darwinism is a “theory”, not a “fact.” That is, the fossil record exists, whether or not Darwin ever existed.

Comment #62638

Posted by Dean Morrison on December 13, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Followed the link to the Florida Sun-Sentinel ( to see who the “top 400” were) and found this: Orthodox Jews in S. Florida join debate on evolution vs. intelligent design it seems the Unorthodox Jews are getting in on the I.D. act:

Ask Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, one of the conference organizers, about the topic, and he sounds much like a conservative Christian.

“The moral and ethical morass today – hate among nations, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, family breakdown – comes from people not believing there is a higher authority that owns and directs the world,” said Lipskar, of The Shul of Bal Harbour. “But when we look to purpose and meaning, a superior authority, things fall into place, socially and spiritually.”

Lipskar met head-on the suggestions by some that intelligent design is meant as a “back door” to putting religion in schools. “It’s not a back door, it’s a front door!” he said. “But the objective is not to make people religious. It’s to make them understand that the world was put into place by an intelligent being. We are not random chemical reactions.”

not quite “on-message” then.
The idea that “hate amongst nations - comes from people not believing there is a higher authority that owns and directs the world” is mind boggling coming from an Orthodox Jew - unless he’s one of those that doesn’t support Israel. I’m sure that Osama bin Laden thinks that there is a higher authority doesn’t he?

Comment #62640

Posted by Daniel Morgan on December 13, 2005 9:55 AM (e)

I actually posted a little piece outlining how nothing has changed in creationism in 20 years, but you got a little more ambitious with your 80 years. My point was to underscore the way the DI has pretended not to publicly want ID taught as science in schools, but, at the same time was writing books to get it included in curricula. This parallels the creationists of the 80s.

I also wrote about the DI’s list of 400 scientists a while back, pointing out that it really doesn’t say a darn thing about evolutionary theory.

I am reminded of Morton’s “The Longest Running Falsehood in Creationism” as I read the list of Dissenters from Darwinism, and hear anti-evolutionists proclaiming the end (of science) is near.

Comment #62645

Posted by qetzal on December 13, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

Blast asked:

Nonetheless, how is it wrong to point out that Darwinism is a “theory”, not a “fact.”

It’s not wrong in the sense of “untrue.” It’s wrong in the sense of “inappropriate and intentionally misleading.”

Comment #62646

Posted by steve s on December 13, 2005 11:23 AM (e)

Evolution is a Fact and a Theory
by Laurence Moran

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

Comment #62649

Posted by James Taylor on December 13, 2005 11:53 AM (e)

BftP wrote:

Nonetheless, how is it wrong to point out that Darwinism is a “theory”, not a “fact.”

So, its okay then to point out that the Bible is a myth and not a fact? Should we launch a counter sticker campaign and deal with the unconstitutionality of the attack later.

Comment #62650

Posted by jim on December 13, 2005 12:00 PM (e)

I can see it now…

“The Bible is a primitive and ignorant religious myth and is not historically accurate.”

Publish these and make sure every copy of the Bible gets one AND that every church service starts with the pastor reading this sticker to his congregation prior to the start of services.

How is it wrong for me to force my stickers onto every bible? They’re entirely accurate and I think everyone should know about the controversy!

Comment #62651

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on December 13, 2005 12:10 PM (e)

I can see it now…

“The Bible is a primitive and ignorant religious myth and is not historically accurate.”

I’d have to speak out against that. The bible is derived, not primitive. All the best stories were derived from pre-existing mythology of adjacent cultures.

Comment #62652

Posted by Leon on December 13, 2005 12:11 PM (e)

Blastfromthepast, it seems maybe we did miss your point. You’re right about there being an important distinction.

But, I think you answered your own question. As you say yourself, evolution is both a theory and a fact, in the scientific sense of both words. So the statement that it’s “a theory, not a fact” is either a minunderstanding of the terms, or a deliberate deception (I think both are going on out there).

It’s true, the fossil record exists regardless of whether Darwin ever existed. And that’s part of the point that some of the creationist crowd misses in some of their attacks, when they point out that Darwin was wrong about this or that. The evidence exists out there regardless who’s around to see it, and the theory of evolution stands on its merits (testability, falsifiability, explanatory & predictive power, etc.), regardless who thought it up.

Darwin’s writings themselves aren’t studied in biology classes any more because they’re out of date–a lot of work and progress has been made on them over the years, which is precisely what we would expect of a science versus a religious dogma.

Comment #62653

Posted by Aureola Nominee, FCD on December 13, 2005 12:15 PM (e)

Actually, I think that the best stories changed oh-so-slightly in retelling, from generation to generation, with the best versions being selected for retelling, until (possibly due to geographical segregation) the same story got split in two versions with evermore differing details, until it takes a real expert to recognize them as having a common ancestral tale…

So, what is the Bible if not a part of the fossil record for manmade stories?

Comment #62655

Posted by James Taylor on December 13, 2005 12:36 PM (e)

As to the myth that religious upbringing instills moral behavior, here is one more log on the fire… Police: Campus leader held up bank.

MSNBC wrote:

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (AP) – As Lehigh University students prepared for final exams this week, they found themselves grappling with the news that the sophomore class president had been arrested for allegedly robbing a bank….

Hogan, the son of a Baptist minister, was picked up at his fraternity house later that evening and charged with robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

So much for that “theory”. I’m sure his fundamental morality was corrupted by the fraternity and his political position. Preacher’s kids, pfft.

Comment #62656

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on December 13, 2005 12:37 PM (e)

New Scientific Data Proves Intelligent Design
from unconfirmed sources

Comment #62659

Posted by Stoffel on December 13, 2005 1:12 PM (e)

Tice with a J wrote:

Dang it! Put in one thing wrong, one thing, and your whole post disappears! A minute’s worth of words lost over a single mismatched blockquote! Can someone fix that?

Ergo, KwickXML formatting is irreducibly complex. ;)

Comment #62661

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 1:27 PM (e)

Science Cannot Make Claim That God Didn’t Create the Earth!

Sort of a knock off on Bayesian’s link. Got a comment about a goat. :) It’s good. SOmeone on dembski’s site noticed that I had an entry called “Some Kansan’s are Sh!t a$$ed stupid” I think that ends my career as bling bling. :(

Comment #62662

Posted by steve s on December 13, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

Tice with a J wrote:

Dang it! Put in one thing wrong, one thing, and your whole post disappears! A minute’s worth of words lost over a single mismatched blockquote! Can someone fix that?

Yeah, the KwickXML people could fix it by hiring a competent programmer. Software in which a single typo can ruin large amounts of work is poorly designed software.

In the meantime, hit the preview button before you hit post. That way you throw away your time in little increments, rather than one big one.

Comment #62664

Posted by steve s on December 13, 2005 1:52 PM (e)

Good thing the KwickXML people didn’t write Microsoft Word. You’d write an article, hit ‘print’ when your printer was turned off, and Word would throw the article away.

Comment #62665

Posted by Miah on December 13, 2005 1:53 PM (e)

From the article at unconfirmed sources:

The Discovery Institute has been critical of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and have long promised scientific studies and data to prove Darwin was wrong.

I think it was mentioned before that since the time of Darwin, even SCIENCE has proven some of Darwin’s theories wrong or incomplete.

I see the DI’s fight against Darwin’s Theory and not against the latest and greatest of what there is to be offered regarding evolution.

Who is the DI going to release their “findings” to first? I seriously doubt any reputable peer related science journal.

How many scientist are there in the world today?

They claim “400 scientist” as actually something that everyone would take notice of.

Here is a thought experiment:

1,000,000 people are living in China. 999,600 of them agree with their GPS trackers as living in China. 400 people with the same GPS trackers, say it is wrong and they live in NeverNever Land.

What is wrong with that picture?

Comment #62667

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on December 13, 2005 2:00 PM (e)

Miah wrote:

From the article at unconfirmed sources:

I should have capitalised Unconfirmed Sources. That is a spoof site. I know, IDC sources are so bizarre that sometimes it’s hard to tell if they’re joking or not, but in this case it really is one.

Comment #62670

Posted by Ed Darrell on December 13, 2005 2:42 PM (e)

Quick, how many species of lepidoptera can you name? If you got more than one, chances are you aren’t an ID person. Unless of course you are one of the Top 400 scientists in the world. They believe in ID.

1. Funny: Not a lepidopterist among the 400.
2. Funnier: Not a single Nobel winner among the “Top 400.”

New motto for the Discovery Institute: “Trashing science: Too important to be left to garbage collectors.”

Comment #62671

Posted by Ed Darrell on December 13, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

1,000,000 people are living in China. 999,600 of them agree with their GPS trackers as living in China. 400 people with the same GPS trackers, say it is wrong and they live in NeverNever Land.

What is wrong with that picture?

There are actually 2 billion people in China, so the 400 are even more insignificant than you claim.

Comment #62673

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 13, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

Actually, I think the distinction between “fact” and “theory” can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries when Protestant and Catholics opposed Copernicus’ ideas. It was permissible to teach Copernicus’ work as “hypothesis” since it could be a convenience in calculation; however it became heresy to teach it as “fact”.

The wording of the abjuration Galileo was required to sign would probably make the present day Intelligent Design/Creationism movement quite happy.

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/galileo/recantation.html

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04352b.htm

Comment #62674

Posted by Grey Wolf on December 13, 2005 3:11 PM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

There are actually 2 billion people in China, so the 400 are even more insignificant than you claim.

I thought the number was closer to 1.3 ‘billion’… got a source for that number?

Also, maybe only 1 million have access to a GPS.

Hope that helps,

Grey Wolf, who actually understands billion to mean a million millions, but is willing to translate into American as long as the numbers remain in the decimal system.

Comment #62675

Posted by Dean Morrison on December 13, 2005 3:13 PM (e)

It’s well known that the CIA mess around with GPS signals around communist countries (don’t rely on one if you’re sailing around Cuba - I’ve tried it). So for only 400 Chinese to have GPS trackers that tell them they are in never never land is really quite small.
The problem with the ID crowd is that they are wearing the wrong sort of tinfoil hat.
How many Lepidopterists called Steve read the Panda’s thumb?

Comment #62678

Posted by AJF on December 13, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

KL wrote:

On the blog Alan Fox mentioned in post 62619, fdocc wrote:

For example, in Australia “More than 100 schools are already teaching intelligent design as science, alongside the mandatory curriculum requirement to study evolution.”

Can anyone verify that claim?

I can’t verify what is going on at private schools, or in other states, but Victoria’s education minister ruled ID a faith and has stated that ID can not be taught in science classes, only studies comparing religions.

I highly doubt that any government school is teaching ID as science in any state.

Check out the article http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/kosky-rules-intelligent-design-a-faith/2005/10/28/1130400365346.html .

By the way, in case you were wondering, VCE is the Victorian Certificate of Education and is the standardized curriculum and assessment program that all 11th and 12th grade Victorian students undertake.

Comment #62682

Posted by James Taylor on December 13, 2005 4:33 PM (e)

And here’s another explanation for the creation of the cosmos with historic credibility Oldest Maya mural wows archaeologists

So ID must now make room for Mayan myth as well in the controversy. All hail the son of the corn god.

Comment #62690

Posted by Dean Morrison on December 13, 2005 5:14 PM (e)

Is it me or does that Mayan chap look like he has the Flying Spaghetti Monster on his head???

Comment #62692

Posted by Michael Hopkins on December 13, 2005 5:16 PM (e)

Speaking of nothing new under the Sun except for what creationists call themselves and whatever schemes they make to avoid their last defeat…

I never mentioned this anywhere– I should have and meant to – and this is a good a place as any: I was once looking up something in an old volume of Nature and by chance noticed some Scopes-related stuff related stuff. Nature has an editorial on the affair and numerous statements by scientists, theologians, etc. supporting evolution and opposing creationism and the Tennessee law which outlawed the teaching of evolution. They had a bunch in an issue and some more in the next issue. It was sort of a 1925 version of Voices for Evolution with the main difference is that is was statements of individuals instead organizations. The issues in question where in July 1925. I don’t have an exact citation without visiting the library, but it would be rather easy to find. This might make a good essay for someone.

Comment #62696

Posted by Dean Morrison on December 13, 2005 5:38 PM (e)

It is you know…Mayan Flying Spaghetti Monster

Comment #62706

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 13, 2005 6:41 PM (e)

as in Darwinism

What the hell is “Darwinism”? Is it anything like “Faradayism” or “Newtonism” or “Copernicism”?

Comment #62712

Posted by Moses on December 13, 2005 6:55 PM (e)

Comment #62589

Posted by BlastfromthePast on December 12, 2005 11:06 PM (e) (s)

Facts are explained by Laws and Theories. If evolution is a fact, then what explains it? Is it the “theory” of evolution? Seems like this would be the situation whether the year is 1925 or 2005.

Cut-and-paste time for Captain Semantics:

Scientific Law: This is a statement of fact meant to explain, in concise terms, an action or set of actions. It is generally accepted to be true and univseral, and can sometimes be expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. Scientific laws are similar to mathematical postulates. They don’t really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.

Some scientific laws, or laws of nature, include the law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics, and Hook’s law of elasticity.

Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.

Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis….

An analogy can be made using a slingshot and an automobile.

A scientific law is like a slingshot. A slingshot has but one moving part–the rubber band. If you put a rock in it and draw it back, the rock will fly out at a predictable speed, depending upon the distance the band is drawn back.

An automobile has many moving parts, all working in unison to perform the chore of transporting someone from one point to another point. An automobile is a complex piece of machinery. Sometimes, improvements are made to one or more component parts. A new set of spark plugs that are composed of a better alloy that can withstand heat better, for example, might replace the existing set. But the function of the automobile as a whole remains unchanged.

A theory is like the automobile. Components of it can be changed or improved upon, without changing the overall truth of the theory as a whole.

Some scientific theories include the theory of evolution, the theory of relativity, and the quantum theory. All of these theories are well documented and proved beyond reasonable doubt. Yet scientists continue to tinker with the component hypotheses of each theory in an attempt to make them more elegant and concise, or to make them more all-encompassing. Theories can be tweaked, but they are seldom, if ever, entirely replaced.

Comment #62728

Posted by BlastfromthePast on December 13, 2005 7:42 PM (e)

qetzal wrote:

It’s not wrong in the sense of “untrue.” It’s wrong in the sense of “inappropriate and intentionally misleading.”

When you say it is wrong in the sense of being “inappropriate and intentionally misleading”, is that with regard to critics of the “theory” of evolution pointing out that it is but a “theory”, or is that with regard to evolutionists who call “evolution” a “fact”, and then fail to make the distinction between “evolution as a fact” and “evolution as a theory”?

In other words, is it “misleading” to point out the distinction, or is it “misleading” to blur the distinction?

Comment #62731

Posted by k.e. on December 13, 2005 7:51 PM (e)

James Taylor said:-

So ID must now make room for Mayan [Quintessential American Bounty and Fertility ] myth as well in the controversy. All hail the son of the corn god.

The God of KORN indeed GWB

Calling for sacrifices to the god of KORN

1. Thruth

Always best to get that one out of the way REAL FAST
Create a mind filled with Magical Reality in the true beleivers, easy when you know how.
Just change “facts” (or in the real world truth) to opinions and make sure you hire the right opinions.

Comment #62737

Posted by k.e. on December 13, 2005 8:04 PM (e)

BlastfromthePast you have lost every single word game on this blog for some months.

Now you are going to try and fit your madness into the interpretation of text, on the swing of a few words to try and prove you were not LIED to by whoever got inside your mind an f*cked with it.

Evolution is fact in everyones mind except yours.
Go and find professional help and stop wasting time trying to figure out why the world does not match your faulty programming.

Comment #62743

Posted by Julie on December 13, 2005 9:10 PM (e)

In other words, is it “misleading” to point out the distinction, or is it “misleading” to blur the distinction?

Once, more, with feeling (and with some help from dictionary.com)

The meanings of the word “theory” in science and mathematics:

1. set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.
2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.
3. A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.

The meanings of the word “theory” in popular usage:

4. Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory.
5. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment: staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.
6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

In science and math, the word “theory” is used in the sense of definitions 1, 2, and 3.

In other usage, the word “theory” is used more in the sense of definitions 4 through 6.

If we’re talking about the nature and process of science, It is misleading to substitute the latter definitions for the former. If this substitution is done deliberately in order to sow confusion, the person doing it is lying. If it’s done out of simple ignorance, the person doing it is demonstrating a lack of scientific competence.

Anyone who uses the expression “only a theory”, in seriousness, to describe a scientific idea of approach has demonstrated a lack of understanding of both the language and the nature of science. (Note that I’m not talking about someone who’s merely joking or lapsing into informal speech in a non-professional context.) But, if someone who claims to understand (or, Zarquon help us, teach) science can’t or won’t make that distinction, that person has just inspired about as much confidence as someone who claims to be an English teacher but can’t spell common English words nor construct a complete sentence.

Comment #62753

Posted by BWE on December 13, 2005 11:01 PM (e)

Ouch. Galileo didn’t get the tiniest dollop of lube did he?

Comment #62754

Posted by justawriter on December 13, 2005 11:20 PM (e)

Hey Jim, here is a warning sticker for the bible for you right here:

http://img117.echo.cx/img117/984/biblewarning5hl.jpg

original link here:

http://nanovirus.blogspot.com/2005/07/warning-sticker-for-bible.html

Comment #62755

Posted by justawriter on December 13, 2005 11:21 PM (e)

Hey Jim, here is a warning sticker for the bible for you right here:

http://img117.echo.cx/img117/984/biblewarning5hl.jpg

original link here:

http://nanovirus.blogspot.com/2005/07/warning-sticker-for-bible.html

Comment #62766

Posted by k.e. on December 14, 2005 6:58 AM (e)

BWE
Fair comment, the one thing I find unstomachable is idle worshipers of idyllic idols.Blast is the original individual who just doesn’t get “you are all individuals”.His conscience does not allow that he has been lied to. naturally that calls into question the conscience of the “Great Leader” which in his case is not a divinity but just some piece of pond scum that floated around his childhood.

Comment #62767

Posted by Tice with a J on December 14, 2005 7:27 AM (e)

k.e. wrote:

BWE
Fair comment, the one thing I find unstomachable is idle worshipers of idyllic idols.Blast is the original individual who just doesn’t get “you are all individuals”.His conscience does not allow that he has been lied to. naturally that calls into question the conscience of the “Great Leader” which in his case is not a divinity but just some piece of pond scum that floated around his childhood.

You’ll find that’s a common trait in the post-spiritual believer. It’s rather unfortunate.

Comment #62774

Posted by qetzal on December 14, 2005 9:05 AM (e)

Blast -

What Julie said.

Comment #62797

Posted by AC on December 14, 2005 12:18 PM (e)

Blast wrote:

In other words, is it “misleading” to point out the distinction, or is it “misleading” to blur the distinction?

It is misleading to play on the fact that the distinction is blurred in common parlance. You are dishonest because you know that it is blurred.

For futher reference, see your use of scare quotes in an attempt to discredit the enclosed words.

Comment #62820

Posted by BlastfromthePast on December 14, 2005 1:16 PM (e)

Julie wrote:

If we’re talking about the nature and process of science, It is misleading to substitute the latter definitions for the former. If this substitution is done deliberately in order to sow confusion, the person doing it is lying. If it’s done out of simple ignorance, the person doing it is demonstrating a lack of scientific competence.

But I never said anything about different versions of the word “theory”. I was talking specifically about evolution as a “theory” versus evolution as a “fact.”

k.e.–(#62737)–stated: “Evolution is fact in everyones mind except yours.” That’s a complete conflation of the two notions of evolution. Is he being “misleading”?

Comment #62822

Posted by BlastfromthePast on December 14, 2005 1:21 PM (e)

AC wrote:

It is misleading to play on the fact that the distinction is blurred in common parlance. You are dishonest because you know that it is blurred.

The discussion is not about “whether” it is being blurred, but by whom. My question related to “who” was doing the “blurring”, and hence “who” was being “misleading.” (I happen to like scare quotes.) I see no dishonesty in that.

Comment #62825

Posted by GvlGeologist on December 14, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

A bit of commentary about laws, hypotheses, and theories.

Moses posted (#62712)
————————————–
Scientific Law: This is a statement of fact meant to explain, in concise terms, an action or set of actions. It is generally accepted to be true and univseral, and can sometimes be expressed in terms of a single mathematical equation. Scientific laws are similar to mathematical postulates. They don’t really need any complex external proofs; they are accepted at face value based upon the fact that they have always been observed to be true.

Some scientific laws, or laws of nature, include the law of gravity, the law of thermodynamics, and Hook’s law of elasticity.

Hypothesis: This is an educated guess based upon observation. It is a rational explanation of a single event or phenomenon based upon what is observed, but which has not been proved. Most hypotheses can be supported or refuted by experimentation or continued observation.

Theory: A theory is more like a scientific law than a hypothesis. A theory is an explanation of a set of related observations or events based upon proven hypotheses and verified multiple times by detached groups of researchers. One scientist cannot create a theory; he can only create a hypothesis….
———————————–
I would have have to disagree with some of the above. First, Laws:

In fact, scientific laws are really just scientific theories that are descriptive rather than explanatory, and usually mathematical. But they are not any more immune to testing than Theories, and they are no more a “fact” than is a Theory. All of the “Laws” cited by Moses (Jeeze, am I really criticising Laws cited by MOSES?) can be and have been tested, just like any other theory. Their degree of certainty is no more than of a theory. Do any of the pro-evo people blogging here think that the degree of certainty of evolution based on over 100 years of testing is LESS than that of the Law of gravity, etc? We do not accept them at face value, we test them every time we use them - just like evolution. And they can be overturned or modified - witness classical Newtonian physics and the modifications added by relativistic physics.

This is not a trivial matter - Creos/IDers constantly ask why, if Evolution is so certain it’s not a “Law”. It’s NOT because evolution is not “generally accepted to be true and univseral” - it is. It’s not a law because it’s hard to put Evo into a descriptive or mathematical relationship. If we wanted to be strictly descriptive, I supposed we could point out a “Law” of Evolution that would state something like “Fossil organisms are observed in the fossil record to change, with more recent fossils appearing more like present day organisms. Fossils show changes though time, with later forms being preceded by slightly different forms. When a fossil becomes extinct, it does not reappear.” Geologists actually do use a similar “Law of fossil succession” to help us use fossils to date rocks relative to one another. This “Law” of evolution is explained by the Theory of evolution (Natural Selection and others), much like the Theory of gravity helps explain the Law of gravity.

Second, a Hypothesis is not an “educated guess” (what the hell does that mean, anyway) but a testable explanation for observations (I think that’s NAS’s definition). A hypothesis “has not been proved”, but neither have theories or laws. They cannot be. All we can do is gather data that constantly test these hypotheses, theories, and laws.

The difference between a theory and a hypothesis is that the hypothesis is much more tentative and has not been rigorously tested yet. Generally, a hypothesis becomes a theory when it is accepted by concensus by the scientific public. I tell my students that we can NEVER “prove” that a theory is correct, only incorrect. But after extensive testing (such as has taken place for Evolution), we can gain a high confidence that we have the correct explanation. The theory, like a law, always remains testable (which the word “proven” eliminates).

Sorry to be so pedantic, but these words are often misused, and we can’t give the other side the chance to misinterpret them to their advantage.

Comment #62831

Posted by Miah on December 14, 2005 1:46 PM (e)

It’s well known that the CIA mess around with GPS signals around communist countries (don’t rely on one if you’re sailing around Cuba - I’ve tried it). So for only 400 Chinese to have GPS trackers that tell them they are in never never land is really quite small.

My example said that the GPS tells the other 400 that they are in China as well, but they say the GPS is wrong, and they claim they are in Nevernever Land.

There are actually 2 billion people in China, so the 400 are even more insignificant than you claim.

I didn’t say there were 1 million people in China.

What the hell is “Darwinism”?

I thought that term was coined by the “fundies” to try and demonize evolution. Am I way off???

Julie

Excellent use of dictionary.com and great information. I know it has helped me.

Blast

Remember perception, its a tricky S.O.B.

I think there is a lot of information that has been posted MANY times as to the distinction between evolution as a theory AND as a fact. Do some reading and then come back and ask if you are still confused. Then go back, read again. If your still confused, re-read some more, and if your still confused after that, well re-read it again. If that don’t help, then your local library has a great set of “Clifford” books that you are sure to enjoy.

Comment #62835

Posted by jim on December 14, 2005 2:04 PM (e)

Blast,

Try this reference on why Evolution is a Fact and a Theory.

Comment #62886

Posted by Richard Simons on December 14, 2005 5:06 PM (e)

It seems to me that part of the difference between laws and theories relates to the period when they were first enunciated, with similar concepts being more likely to have been called laws in the past. If Mendel’s Second Law (of independent assortment) were hot off the press today, it would probably be called ‘Mendel’s Second Principle’.

Comment #62890

Posted by Teenage Thunder on December 14, 2005 5:26 PM (e)

Hmm… regarding Lepidoptera, I seem to remember at least five species from a Biology project I stumbled through in the last academic year…

Anyway, I have to agree with the statement that the scientific community is losing the the culture war. Kids are invariably drawn to the flashing lights and awesome sounds of today’s electronics industry, and usually dragged off to church every Sunday where some of them are being discouraged from learning the more modern scientific theories. I certainly couldn’t escape science as a child because I had a chemistry teacher for a mother, but not everyone is so fortunate.

Just thought I’d give you the teenager’s perspective. (Though I still have a bone to pick with Carol C.)

Comment #62904

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 14, 2005 6:46 PM (e)

But I never said anything about different versions of the word “theory”. I was talking specifically about evolution as a “theory” versus evolution as a “fact.”

ID, of course, is *neither* a theory nor a fact.

Which is, I suppose, why IDers like Blast spend all their time in word games and silly arguments against evolution, instead of just telling us what the scientific theory of ID is and how to test it using the scientific method.

Comment #62988

Posted by Norman Doering on December 15, 2005 1:11 PM (e)

Could ID be part of a new “operation mockingbird”?
http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/MOCK/mockingbird.html

Comment #63024

Posted by takamine on December 15, 2005 5:09 PM (e)

Dear Ppl.,
It’s incredible that some of you still argue against the theory of evolution. I should stress that evolution is a fact AND a theory. Natural selection is the principle force behind evolution. However it is not the only one. Scientists also consider sexual selection (which is a special case of natural selection) as well as luck (or lack of it-depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting on). Missing links or not it would very foolish to deny it. Wake up America and don’t be made the intellectual laughing stock of the world. You have a lot to offer the international scientific community.

Comment #63048

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on December 15, 2005 8:49 PM (e)

Wake up America and don’t be made the intellectual laughing stock of the world.

Too late.

Comment #63219

Posted by James Taylor on December 17, 2005 1:09 AM (e)

More evidence against YEC…

Ancient civilization unearthed in Syria

Seems that 4000 BC date may be at least 4000 years off.