Debate over evolution now allowed in ...

Debate over evolution now allowed in Tenn. schools

There are 170 comments on the USA Today story from Apr 11, 2012, titled Debate over evolution now allowed in Tenn. schools. In it, USA Today reports that:

A bill that encourages classroom debate over evolution will become law in Tennessee, despite a veto campaign mounted by scientists and civil libertarians who say it will reopen a decades-old controversy over teaching creationism to the state's schoolchildren.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at USA Today.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

La Quinta, CA

#21 Apr 16, 2012
Brad wrote:
Listen. Here is what it comes down to for me. If you can take "Non-life" and create "Life" and then take that "life" and synthesize the complexities and variety that we see in the fossil record of the Cambrian explosion simply through mating and the rare mutated progeny, fine, I'll buy it.
This is sort of like saying:
"I'll believe you that the Sun is a star fueled by hydrogen fusion only once you've created one to demonstrate it."

ALL life is composed of non-living chemicals. That's just a fact. If we broke you down to your atomic components and made individual piles, no one would consider those piles to be "alive".

Science HAVE taken chemical components and constructed living things. They created synthetic cells. They've taken non-synthetic hollow cells and filled them with components constituting a brand new never before seen life form.

Have they recreated ALL the changes which occurred worldwide over the MILLIONS of years during the Cambrian "explosion"? Nope. Nor will they ever. First, because it would serve no purpose to do so just to convince you. Second, because it would take MILLIONS of years to accomplish.
Otherwise to swallow the entire 5 pound pill that you are trying to shovel, and doing it in a condescending, aloof manner will continue to be hard to handle for the majority.
Actually, it's not. It's hard to handle for an EXTREME minority. The majority of people don't have a problem with the concept.

Go out and ask some random person: "Do things change over time or is everything exactly the same all the time everywhere?"
I could care less what Southern Protestant Christians think
Yet, you are letting them dictate your position on this subject. Why is that?
I have a desire to understand, and when the best explanation of how life began is ".....uh, maybe a comet or some other Alien life brought it here" That doesn't explain anything.
You are confusing abiogenesis and evolution.

It literally doesn't matter how life starts. Once life exists someplace and starts reproducing, evolution occurs.
Get off the pedestal you have built for yourself and realize that the majority are people like me, who understand a good deal of information but are humble enough to know we don't (and can't) know everything.
You need to understand something.

We spend a lot of time dealing with people who fit the following criteria:

- Know NOTHING about what the theory of evolution actually says
- Know that they oppose it regardless of not knowing what it is
- Get ALL of their information from websites run by Fundamentalist Christian organizations
- Lie repeatedly

So, you'll have to forgive us when we consider ourselves better than the opposition. It comes from having spent the time and energy to actually LEARN what we are talking about and sticking to the FACTS rather than some religious agenda designed to harm children.
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#22 Apr 16, 2012
Brad wrote:
I do not deny Micro Evolution (change, adaptation, natural selection) happens every day, but as a pragmatist I cannot accept that 4 billion years ago on a molten planet with a surface temperature of thousands of degrees trillions of organisms managed to somehow survive (even though science proves it couldn't) and then randomly create the diversity of life we have on this planet currently.
Your ignorance of a subject does not equate to a valid criticism.
Brad wrote:
I have no political agenda to further, but we have all seen Science before that had to correct itself after new evidence was presented.
Then do you have any to correct evolution?

I'll save you the time - no, you don't. You have creationist caricatures to offer, meaning you're either just another lying creationist for Jesus or you're so ignorant of science that you actually thought they had a good point.
Brad wrote:
No one has ever observed a Tree eventually turn into a Cat, or a Fish turn into a Bird. There is no fossil evidence of it, so when I read bullshit creatively woven into good science I step back from fully embracing it, just as I step back from religious freaks who say theirs is a religion of peace, yet cause more bloodshed, hatred and warfare in the name of religion.
Then take a step back from yourself. For those examples you provided above? Would actually FALSIFY evolution if they were found, not demonstrate it. THAT'S why you won't ever find fossils of trees turning into cats.

This is why the legislation is BS and it's only supported by the clueless (and) creationists.
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#23 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bill s/107/Bill/SB0893.pdf
Citation for above.
Yep, and your fantastic legislation (which has its roots based on material written by the Discovery Institute, a theocratic (non) think tank) now allows for complete BS to be taught in the same vein as Brad's nonsense. So not only will it lead to a possible lawsuit should creationist anti-evolution bull be used, potentially costing the schoolboards millions, the kids in the meantime could end up being as educated as Brad.

But hey, it's all okay as long as we stop them mean old Liberals and TEH GAYS, right?
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#24 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>I didn't notice that, I read the opposite:
"Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students
understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught."
You didn't notice because you're a dishonest liar who ignores everything you find politically inconvenient.

There is no scientific controversy over evolution, and hasn't been for over a century. Meaning the language of the bill is disingenuous at best and outright lies at worst. Plus kids in schools do not decide on the veracity of scientific concepts. Scientists do that by doing the actual work involved.
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#25 Apr 16, 2012
Brad wrote:
Gillette,
Why do you imply I'm some crazy fundamentalist, when I clearly am telling you I'm not. That is the inconsiderate and bad behavior I'm referring to. And if you are lobbying the legislature to reduce the first amendment rights of other citizens, then yes "evolutionists" are just another political movement.
And how exactly is teaching students good science reducing First Amendment rights?

They are all still free to reject the theory of gravity and the germ theory of disease, and all of biology, chemistry and physics for the sake of their religious beliefs. However that doesn't mean schools should stop teaching them to pander to their particular beliefs.
Brad wrote:
You should be the one freshening up on your Macro-evolution also. The "accepted" theory is that ALL life has a common ancestor that it evolved from (Plants, bacteria, animals, everything) This is not a cartoon, this is accepted "Fact". What is interesting is the common ancestor is a mystery. I've even had a scientist say it could have come from a comet or Alien race (not joking)
The theory of evolution does not rely on abiogenesis. The theory of evolution does not rely on abiogenesis. Now repeat it, over and over.

Cuz I piggin have to.

It doesn't matter if life was started via natural processes, aliens or magical poofing from God. Life is here. Life evolves. Facts. In order to demonstrate otherwise you have to demonstrate that life is in fact NOT here.

Good luck.
Brad wrote:
The "Strength" you refer to of being quick to call something fact then retract later baffles me. Fact is fact, theory is theory.
And scientific theories are based on facts.

Well done once again for showing us you haven't even bothered to learn the scientific definitions of words before entering into a conversation about science.
Brad wrote:
It stops being science when you fill in the blanks with self serving philosophy or opinion that furthers your groups agenda. No different than "Creationists" are trying to do.
That's because you are ignorant of the subject so are unable to tell the difference between one side arguing for facts, and one side arguing for magic.

Don't blame us for your lack of knowledge of the subject.
Brad wrote:
I also like how you skirted the essence of my earlier post to paint a caricature of me as some crazy religious zealot. JUST STOP ASSUMING.
It would be easier not to make that assumption if your arguments against science weren't from the creationist handbook.

What's next - Why are there still monkeys? Thermodynamics? What?
Brad wrote:
I mentioned Jesus in my very first post to let people know that he used a teaching method first popularized by a Greek teacher (Socrates) often criticized by evangelical Christians.
That's presuming the guy even existed in the first place. Scholars are somewhat divided on the subject. TEACH THE CONTROVERSY I SAY!
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#26 Apr 16, 2012
Brad wrote:
You are hilarious dude.
"Almost WITHOUT EXCEPTION" (What does that mean?)
"Theory is as high as it gets in Science" (wrong, observable indisputable fact is)
Totally wrong, plain wrong, utterly wrong, so wrong, you couldn't be more wrongily wrong wrong if you found another wrong thing to say you could wrongily wrongify.

Potential for falsification is VERY important to science. Apparently not to you though, as you seem to think it does not require the scientific method.
Brad wrote:
Listen. Here is what it comes down to for me. If you can take "Non-life" and create "Life" and then take that "life" and synthesize the complexities and variety that we see in the fossil record of the Cambrian explosion simply through mating and the rare mutated progeny, fine, I'll buy it. Otherwise to swallow the entire 5 pound pill that you are trying to shovel, and doing it in a condescending, aloof manner will continue to be hard to handle for the majority.
Not a problem. You've heard of screwing, right? Taking non-life and turning it into life?

And if you're not a creationist, why are you even mentioning the Cambrian explosion? Do you even know what it is?

By the way, the theory of evolution does not rely on abiogenesis. Did I mention that?

The development of hard-bodied shells (as opposed to previously soft-bodied organisms) which allowed greater chance of fossil preservation demonstrating an increase of diversity due to the evolution of life over a period of millions of years.
Brad wrote:
I could care less what Southern Protestant Christians think, they are still burning crosses in the front yards of Black people and getting their followers riled up over social issues so they can inconspicuously clean out their pockets. I can't say either that I care what Catholics think, as many of the higher ups are trying to dig their way out of sex abuse scandals through slick TV commercials these days. Muslims are so divided on their beliefs that when they aren't killing Jews, Americans or Sassy Women, they are blowing themselves up in the public square.
I have a desire to understand, and when the best explanation of how life began is ".....uh, maybe a comet or some other Alien life brought it here" That doesn't explain anything.
Uh Brad, if you really DID have a desire to understand, you would have actually READ something about the subjects, both evolution AND abiogenesis (separate subjects by the way), it's not like you can't find PLENTY of scientific information on the subject if you were so inclined. That's why you come up with pathetic caricatures instead.
Brad wrote:
It also doesn't help when you have Atheist Jackasses like you throwing their self proclaimed 'expertise' around like they wrote the book on "Unified Field Theory".
I'm sorry, what? ATHEISM? And you're not a creationist?

Tell me, bub - where exactly in the scientific literature for evolution (or the scientific hypothesis for abiogenesis for that matter) can you find ANY reference to theological claims?

I'll tell you what - I'll give you until doomsday to come up with an answer for that one, they keep pushing back the date anyway.
Brad wrote:
Get off the pedestal you have built for yourself and realize that the majority are people like me, who understand a good deal of information but are humble enough to know we don't (and can't) know everything.
We're not on a pedestal. We're simply standing upright, while you're sitting on your behind telling us how great you are at walking. What "good deal of info" are you referring to exactly?
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#27 Apr 16, 2012
Nuggin wrote:
Yet, you are letting them dictate your position on this subject. Why is that?
Beats me. He's not a creationist. He said so. He got lotsa GOOD INFORMATION, presumably about science, and presumably that does not have its roots in creationist sources.

Maybe if one of us asked him?(shrug)

“I Luv Carbon Dioxide”

Level 10

Since: Dec 08

Home, sweet home.

#28 Apr 16, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
Exactly. No similar treatment is made for non-scientific theories like creationism.
If creationism pretends to be a scientific theory, the law requires similar treatment.

“I Luv Carbon Dioxide”

Level 10

Since: Dec 08

Home, sweet home.

#29 Apr 16, 2012
The Dude wrote:
You didn't notice because you're a dishonest liar who ignores everything you find politically inconvenient. There is no scientific controversy over evolution, and hasn't been for over a century. Meaning the language of the bill is disingenuous at best and outright lies at worst. Plus kids in schools do not decide on the veracity of scientific concepts. Scientists do that by doing the actual work involved.
The meaning of the language is clear; the bill encourages critical thinking, not faith.

I don't call you 'dishonest', just ignorant.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

La Quinta, CA

#30 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>The meaning of the language is clear; the bill encourages critical thinking, not faith.
I don't call you 'dishonest', just ignorant.
That may be the meaning, but not the effect.

Supporting Creationism in the face of science is not encouraging critical thinking, it's discouraging critical thinking.

It's not "critical thinking" to replace every answer on every test with "dunno, maybe goddidit"
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#31 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>The meaning of the language is clear; the bill encourages critical thinking, not faith.
I don't call you 'dishonest', just ignorant.
Pity you can't demonstrate that. I call you dishonest AND ignorant because that's what you are.(shrug)

The bill encourages anti-science rhetoric to be allowed, as long as it's under the guise of "critical thinking". That's fine if you have a teacher who is pro-science, but not so good if you have another John Freshwater. And as usual you dance around the points without addressing them. Typical far-right political propagandist. Ricky taught you well.
Brad

Dayton, TN

#32 Apr 16, 2012
Dude, It is you who are ignorant to what is being asked and discussed.

We all know, or have known, people like you. You are no different than the religious fanatics you dislike so much. Addicted to being 'right'(at least in your mind) at all times even at the expense of reading what the topic was even about.(which is understanding different social positions, but that doesn't square with your argument so you read through that part)

Acting the part of some learned scholar of Evolutionary biology you are proving why this bill was passed in the first place.

Your posts actually mask your actual agenda, and that is to overcompensate for some other issue you have that is looked down on by society in general.(another wonderful product of evolution!)

What is it? Probably that you are a homosexual (why else bring it up earlier?) or like Kids, or maybe you are just a simple tosser.

“I Luv Carbon Dioxide”

Level 10

Since: Dec 08

Home, sweet home.

#33 Apr 16, 2012
Nuggin wrote:
That may be the meaning, but not the effect. Supporting Creationism in the face of science is not encouraging critical thinking, it's discouraging critical thinking. It's not "critical thinking" to replace every answer on every test with "dunno, maybe goddidit"
I posted the text of the law, I didn't read anything about supporting creationism. Maybe you could cite the part that bothers you?

“I Luv Carbon Dioxide”

Level 10

Since: Dec 08

Home, sweet home.

#34 Apr 16, 2012
The Dude wrote:
Pity you can't demonstrate that. I call you dishonest AND ignorant because that's what you are.(shrug) The bill encourages anti-science rhetoric to be allowed, as long as it's under the guise of "critical thinking". That's fine if you have a teacher who is pro-science, but not so good if you have another John Freshwater. And as usual you dance around the points without addressing them. Typical far-right political propagandist. Ricky taught you well.
What part of the law bothers you? Do you want science taken on faith?

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#35 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>What part of the law bothers you? Do you want science taken on faith?
I want science taught at an age-appropriate level. At the early levels, you give the scientific facts and don't expect to support them: the sun is a star, the universe is 13.7 billion years old, all the matter around you is made of atoms, etc. Later, when the topic is discussed in more detail, the fundamental experiments and observations can be covered. But even there, the vast amount of detail required to fully support any scientific theory is inappropriate in high schools or below.

A full criticism of *all* the evidence is typically something appropriate at the graduate level of study. The earlier levels are simply trying to get the basics taught. To go into the evidence supporting punctuated equilibrium over more gradual change is simply a bad idea at the high school level or below: there are much more important basics to be covered.

Now, it *can* be appropriate to point out how some pseudo-scientific ideas contradict the scientific ones and show *why* they are not fully scientific. Yes, creationism qualifies as such pseudo-science. It should not be taught except, possibly, as an example of how *not* to do science.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

La Quinta, CA

#36 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>I posted the text of the law, I didn't read anything about supporting creationism. Maybe you could cite the part that bothers you?
The fact that the law specifically targets evolution, abiogenesis and global warming.

Why those? Why not gravity? Why not the speed of light? Why not friction? Why not the Table of Elements?

Is it a coincidence that the items selected to "teach the weakness of" are items that the Wedge Document speaks about?

If you being dishonest if you claim this law is not specifically designed to push Creationism into schools.

Level 7

Since: Sep 07

La Quinta, CA

#37 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>What part of the law bothers you? Do you want science taken on faith?
No, be we don't want faith forced on science.

The problem here, as you KNOW, is that this law is designed to give coverage to teachers who shouldn't be in school in the first place. It's designed to specifically damage the children of Tenn. and prevent them from competing in the sciences.

The goal here is to ensure that Tenn raises a generation of scientifically illiterate children because the ignorant vote Conservative.

“Think&Care”

Since: Oct 07

Location hidden

#38 Apr 16, 2012
Brian_G wrote:
<quoted text>I posted the text of the law, I didn't read anything about supporting creationism. Maybe you could cite the part that bothers you?
The whole point of the law is to criticize scientific theories. Creationism is NOT a scientific theory. The idea that elementary or high school students *could* have enough evidence to validly critique most modern science is problematic, at best.

At best, this law is misguided. At worst, it is a run-around by the creationists to get their 'criticisms' of evolution taught.
Gillette

Fairfield, IA

#39 Apr 16, 2012
I figured the cavalry would arrive soon. Thanks, guys.

Phew! Almost couldn't handle this guy!:)
The Dude

Sunderland, UK

#40 Apr 16, 2012
Brad wrote:
Dude, It is you who are ignorant to what is being asked and discussed.
We all know, or have known, people like you. You are no different than the religious fanatics you dislike so much. Addicted to being 'right'(at least in your mind) at all times even at the expense of reading what the topic was even about.(which is understanding different social positions, but that doesn't square with your argument so you read through that part)
Acting the part of some learned scholar of Evolutionary biology you are proving why this bill was passed in the first place.
Your posts actually mask your actual agenda, and that is to overcompensate for some other issue you have that is looked down on by society in general.(another wonderful product of evolution!)
What is it? Probably that you are a homosexual (why else bring it up earlier?) or like Kids, or maybe you are just a simple tosser.
I agree, you have no valid rebuttal and so are forced to resort to ad-hom.

I mean, SERIOUSLY kid. "Dude's a big GAYHOMO!"

Really? Are you supposed to be convincing here? You just out of high school or what?

Lemme put it another way - I don't put myself into a position of debate unless I'm sure of what it is I'm debating. If I'm unsure I'll let you know. For example, that's why I don't bother going into the (covers kittens ears) global warming forums, because I don't know much about the subject from either side of the debate. Thankfully that subject is also irrelevant to evolution.

With evolution on the other hand, I've been dealing with this stuff for seven years. And I'm just a scientific layman with no formal qualifications. However there are some posters on here who aren't. SO. You have one side that deals with science, facts and evidence. And on the other side that only offers magic. It doesn't take a genius to figure out which one of these is going to work in the scientific arena. Hence the anti-science fundies take the battle to the arenas of public opinion, PR and politics. Their reasoning is made very clear in the Wedge Document, drawn up by theocratic fundies who invented "Intelligent Design" as a way to pretend that Creationism was scientific so that they could have the power to tell everyone else's kids that (their particular ideas of) the Christian God is true and the bees knees and who needs that stupid US Constitution anyway.

Or the alternative is that all the world's major scientific organisations and Governments of their respective countries, and the courts, along with the scientific community as a whole are all involved in an evil world-wide atheist Darwinist scientist Liberal Socialist Communist Nazi GAYHOMO anti-Christian God-hating Satan-worshiping time-travelling conspiracy.

Now, by all means if you can provide evidence of said conspiracy, and that I'm actually a part of it, and while you're at it demonstrate evolution is scientifically false and thus earning your place on the cover of Time magazine, then we would appreciate it.

Or you could consider the fact that the scientific community and science enthusiasts are simply fed up with religious fundies interfering with public school education just because other people aren't paying attention to their baseless religious opinions.

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