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Subject: Texas is doomed rss

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Texas has just formed a panel on the state education board to decide the science curriculum standards. 3/6 people appointed are creationists, including one of the directors of the Discovery Institute, Stephen C Meyers. The Discovery Institute is vehemently anti-science, supporting blatant christian propaganda. In addition, appointed to the board are authors of the anti-science textbook "Exploring Evolution". These are the same people who have already failed 2x to get their anti-evolution books adopted by school boards (see Kansas trial, "Of Pandas and People"). As any educated person knows, evolution is completely validated scientific theory, being supported 100% by all evidence we have. Lets be clear- there is no scientific evidence against evolution, only religious reasons. Yet, these religious apologists are now going to be in control of the science curriculum of the entire state of Texas. How did this happen you ask? The governor of Texas appointed a creationist (Don Mcleroy) as the head of the state education board. This is man who doesn't believe virtually any modern biology, and even advocates for removing textbooks that illustrate how global warming works. He has even stated that academic scientists are "priests of old and witchdoctors".

This has the potential to set science education in Texas back 100 years. Hell, why don't we just redefine the science curriculum to support a geocentric model of the solar system? These people will be advocating for new paleontology books that demonstrate how humans rode dino's around like horses.

This is a VERY serious issue for ALL Americans who support the teaching of facts to our children, and not ignorance. Religion needs to restricted to church, and should never be in our science classrooms.

Finally, before you pounce on my views--- I am NOT anti-religion. I have no issues with people who have faith, as long as they don't feel the need to lie, distort facts, and manipulate others into believing untruths. I personally believe most religion is completely reconcilable with modern science, as long as the bible isn't taken completely literally.
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It's not fair to single out Texas.

We're all doomed.
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Matthew M
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Zaphod wrote:
As any educated person knows, evolution is completely validated scientific theory


Funny...I educate the people taking my Research Methods class that there is no such thing as a completely validated scientific theory...only theories that science has yet to invalidate.

Technicalities aside, yeah...things not looking good for the children of Texas in terms of scientific education.

-MMM
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Jeff Brown
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I am very religious and would be very against teaching creationism or even ID in schools. I think evolution should be taught in the schools. My brother teaches evolution at the University owned by my church: Brigham Young University.

So I agree that the problem you bring up is a real one.
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We gave up on Texas long ago.
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Well, my only response is "they can try."

If they purely try teaching Creationism in TX schools, they may see people leave their state or put kids in private schools. My guess is that those politicians who put this in place may not get re-elected if people are angry enough.

It does suck, since I think kids ought to be taught Science in school and any religious-based theory at home or elsewhere, but then I don't live in TX.

Just hope the other half of that panel shoots down that plan of action.
 
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This is how the "worse case scenario" will go.

Texas: We are gonna teach creationism in "our" schools!
U.S. Government: Ok, then no federal funding.
Texas: Wait? What? Ignore that last statement.
U.S. Government: Carry On.
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Chad Ellis
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Let's not forget that the courts have already decided that teaching Creationism in public schools is unconstitutional. These folks are very good at getting their agents on school boards, but it seldom lasts.
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Octavian wrote:
Zaphod wrote:
As any educated person knows, evolution is completely validated scientific theory


Funny...I educate the people taking my Research Methods class that there is no such thing as a completely validated scientific theory...only theories that science has yet to invalidate.

Technicalities aside, yeah...things not looking good for the children of Texas in terms of scientific education.

-MMM


You are correct sir. I'm defining a completely validated scientific theory is one which best fits the data, and has outperformed competing hypotheses in terms of supporting the evidence. It doesn't mean its 100% proof, we can never prove theories, only invalidate. I'd say gravity is a pretty validated scientific theory, however, wouldn't you?
 
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Given what happened in Kansas, I would expect Texas to have much the same experience. And given that it's a panel and not the board itself, I suspect that the Board of Education will have the final say over the curriculum adopted. The makeup of the panel is a bit troubling, but it's also "balanced" from a perspective of Texas' demographics.

Wait until they actually adopt a curriculum. Then see what's really happened.
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gilby123 wrote:


Just hope the other half of that panel shoots down that plan of action.


I'm assuming the tiebreaker goes to the head of the board of education, which is the creationist who helped appoint these people.
 
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Zaphod wrote:
I'd say gravity is a pretty validated scientific theory, however, wouldn't you?


Gravity is a law. Theories are, by definition, not 100% validated. They are considered true until proven otherwise, but we don't assume to know everything there is to know about them.

-MMM
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Ken
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Zaphod wrote:
I'd say gravity is a pretty validated scientific theory, however, wouldn't you?


Except there's no theory of gravity that proves why the Law of Gravity works the way that it does as yet. Einstein's is closest, but isn't complete.
 
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Octavian wrote:
Zaphod wrote:
I'd say gravity is a pretty validated scientific theory, however, wouldn't you?


Gravity is a law. Theories are, by definition, not 100% validated. They are considered true until proven otherwise, but we don't assume to know everything there is to know about them.

-MMM


Nope. Gravitational theory...........is a scientific theory, just like evolutionary theory. The rules within the theory (ie. inverse square law) are laws.
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Octavian wrote:
Zaphod wrote:
As any educated person knows, evolution is completely validated scientific theory


Funny...I educate the people taking my Research Methods class that there is no such thing as a completely validated scientific theory...only theories that science has yet to invalidate.



Thank you Matthew!! I get tired of having to say this.
Everyone assumes I have agenda rather than realizing that ANY COMPETENT SCIENTIST knows this.
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Re: Gravity is both theory and law
http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p67.htm
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perfalbion wrote:
Zaphod wrote:
I'd say gravity is a pretty validated scientific theory, however, wouldn't you?


Except there's no theory of gravity that proves why the Law of Gravity works the way that it does as yet. Einstein's is closest, but isn't complete.


Right, which is why I said that "validated" meant the current best fit of data over other hypotheses.
 
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Meerkat wrote:
Thank you Matthew!! I get tired of having to say this.
Everyone assumes I have agenda rather than realizing that ANY COMPETENT SCIENTIST knows this.


I'm down with this. I just wish that I'd stop hearing "well it's just a theory..." when discussing the theory of evolution.
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Just to nitpick the nitpick:

While the theory of evolution is "just" a theory, common descent is a fact that is as well established as such other facts as, "The Sun is hot," and "The earth is more than 10,000 years old" and "Lincoln was an actual person."
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Meerkat wrote:
Octavian wrote:
Zaphod wrote:
As any educated person knows, evolution is completely validated scientific theory


Funny...I educate the people taking my Research Methods class that there is no such thing as a completely validated scientific theory...only theories that science has yet to invalidate.



Thank you Matthew!! I get tired of having to say this.
Everyone assumes I have agenda rather than realizing that ANY COMPETENT SCIENTIST knows this.


Of course, but you also need to realize that theories..........are theories because they fit all the evidence better than any other explanation. When you go on a roller coaster, there are a lot of scientific theories that your life depends on, and I'm sure you don't question them. Can we prove them 100%? Absolutely not. Are they a safe bet? Yes (just like evolution).
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Zaphod wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
Octavian wrote:
Zaphod wrote:
As any educated person knows, evolution is completely validated scientific theory


Funny...I educate the people taking my Research Methods class that there is no such thing as a completely validated scientific theory...only theories that science has yet to invalidate.



Thank you Matthew!! I get tired of having to say this.
Everyone assumes I have agenda rather than realizing that ANY COMPETENT SCIENTIST knows this.


Of course, but you also need to realize that theories..........are theories because they fit all the evidence better than any other explanation. When you go on a roller coaster, there are a lot of scientific theories that your life depends on, and I'm sure you don't question them. Can we prove them 100%? Absolutely not. Are they a safe bet? Yes (just like evolution).


People occasionally die on roller coasters.
 
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Meerkat wrote:
People occasionally die on roller coasters.


But typically not because the theory of gravity was wrong. Typically it's because poor maintenance or passenger stupidity causes the theory of gravity or one of the laws of thermodynamics to rear their ugly head.
 
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perfalbion wrote:
Meerkat wrote:
Thank you Matthew!! I get tired of having to say this.
Everyone assumes I have agenda rather than realizing that ANY COMPETENT SCIENTIST knows this.


I'm down with this. I just wish that I'd stop hearing "well it's just a theory..." when discussing the theory of evolution.


But it is “just a theory”!! Don’t get me wrong, I am good with most of the current scientific theories of evolution as the best fit for the data we currently have. But I am not going to adopt them as some alternate bordering on religious dogma variety of facts. 5 years from now new evidence could be found that blow the current “theories” all to heck. Just like what Einstein’s theories did to Newton’s. That is the nature of Science.


Chad_Ellis wrote:
Just to nitpick the nitpick:

While the theory of evolution is "just" a theory, common descent is a fact that is as well established as such other facts as, "The Sun is hot," and "The earth is more than 10,000 years old" and "Lincoln was an actual person."


To nitpick your nitpick.

Some data is more testable than others. The Sun is hot. We can test that every single day. With the advent of space travel we can test it even more thoroughly. We COULD send a probe directly to the Sun and measure its heat right up until the thing melted. The Sun is HOT is an observable fact in current time.

We can extrapolate back and assume it has been hot a long time, we can add historical data (not currently “testable” but assumed to be factual at that time) and develop theories about the causes for suns “hot” nature. Then we can extrapolate forward based on current testable data and the theories we develop to predict with some accuracy future behavior and assume it will be hot for a long time to come. But the only FACT we can prove with cause and effect science is that the Sun is HOT NOW.

That Lincoln was an actual person it totally un-provable by the scientific method, or even by current living testimony, we have to trust totally in historical records. Even digging up a body would only prove they buried somebody and put Lincoln on his gravestone. Science can sometimes cast doubt or lend credence to the contents of historical documents, but it cannot validate what is in them by direct examination.

That the earth is more than 10,000 years old is an even less “provable” theory, as we have no historical documents to provide even second hand data to use for validation.

I believe the earth is more than 10,000 years old because the observable data we do have, if extrapolated backwards indicates it is. But it is not a fact that can be tested directly with the scientific method. Therefore it is a theory, and it is conceivable that new data could produce a better theory.
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Octavian wrote:
Funny...I educate the people taking my Research Methods class that there is no such thing as a completely validated scientific theory...only theories that science has yet to invalidate.


Oh, so it's moral relativism now, is it?!

I weep for the children.
 
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Meerkat wrote:
But it is “just a theory”!!


No, no, no, no, no. Getting the word "theory" attached to a scientific finding is a pretty dramatic burden. So when a creationist rolls out "it's just a theory" as a way of dismissing the validity of its findings, they are using a word in a very inappropriate manner.

Could it be modified? Sure. Is it "just a theory" in that it has the potential to be completely inaccurate? Very, very, remotely possible but extremely unlikely.

So the use of the word to refute the theory of evolution is a non-starter from a scientific perspective.

Quote:
I believe the earth is more than 10,000 years old because the observable data we do have, if extrapolated backwards indicates it is. But it is not a fact that can be tested directly with the scientific method.


Ummm. It really sorta is. Decay of radioactive elements is a pretty good way to date things. It might change from the 6 billion or so years that we've got it at, but that would likely be because we got better at measuring than we proved a theory wrong.

Quote:
Therefore it is a theory, and it is conceivable that new data could produce a better theory.


I'd suggest that a more accurate phrasing would be "a modified theory could produce an accurate result" is a more appropriate phrase.

"Theory" in science means more than "I think." It means "this has been tested with a significant degree of rigor and works the best that we can make it work to date."

When theories change (Newton to Einstein, as you cited), they typically build upon and enhance old theories rather than discarding them entirely if the original theory was produced using the scientific method. Newton's theories didn't stop working when relativity came along, they were superseded by better answers and more accurate results.
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