More creationist shenanigans—in Tennessee

UPDATE: The Guardian also reports on this ridiculous bill, and notes that the American Association of Biology Teachers (a big group) has weighed in against it:

But the National Association of Biology Teachers said the measure, would encourage non-scientific thinking – not critical thought.

“Concepts like evolution and climate change should not be misrepresented as controversial or needing of special evaluation. Instead, they should be presented as scientific explanations for events and processes that are supported by experimentation, logical analysis, and evidence-based revision based on detectable and measurable data,” the organisation said.

___________

From the state that brought us the Scopes trial (and a state I’m visiting next week), the yahoos have returned.  As the Knoxville News-Sentinel reports, the Tennessee state Senate passed a bill that tries to sneak anti-evolution and anti-global-warming sentiments into public-school classrooms. It’s the usual “teach-the-controversy” stuff. At the same time, the Tennessee House passed a clearly unconstitutional bill approving the display of the Ten Commandments on public property.

The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories while the House approved legislation authorizing cities and counties to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

The Senate voted 24-8 for HB368, which sponsor Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, says will provide guidelines for teachers answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects. Critics call it a “monkey bill” that promotes creationism in classrooms.

The bill was approved in the House last year but now must return to that body for concurrence on a Senate amendment that made generally minor changes. One says the law applies to scientific theories that are the subject of “debate and disputation” — a phrase replacing the word “controversial” in the House version.

The measure also guarantees that teachers will not be subject to discipline for engaging students in discussion of questions they raise, though Watson said the idea is to provide guidelines so that teachers will bring the discussion back to the subjects authorized for teaching in the curriculum approved by the state Board of Education.

This is not surprising:

All eight no votes came from Democrats, some of whom raised questions about the bill during brief debate.

Here’s a summary of the bill from the Tennessee General Assembly:

Bill Summary

This bill prohibits the state board of education and any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or principal or administrator from prohibiting any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping 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, such as evolution and global warming. This bill also requires such persons and entities to endeavor to:
(1) Create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues; and
(2) Assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) reports on the opposition:

Among those expressing opposition to the bill are the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Nashville Tennessean, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, and the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, whose president Becky Ashe described (PDF) the legislation as “unnecessary, anti-scientific, and very likely unconstitutional.”

And, according to the NCSE, all eight members of the National Academy of Sciences who come from Tennessee have signed a statement opposing the bill (download their statement here).

I’m giving a talk on evolution at Vanderbilt in Nashville next week, and I encourage my hosts to take action against this travesty.

And here’s a summary of the Ten Commandments bill, which tries to insert religious dogma into public life by hiding it in a group of secular documents, much as a cat owner conceals a bitter pill inside a cat treat:

Public Buildings – As introduced, authorizes replicas of certain historically-significant documents, such as the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and Ten Commandments, to be placed in local government public buildings. – Amends TCA Title 5, Chapter 7 and Title 6, Chapter 54.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports on that one:

The bill authorizing display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings — HB2658 — is sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, who said it is in line with court rulings. In essence, courts have often declared displays of the biblical commandments unconstitutional standing along, but permissible as part of a display of “historic documents.”

The bill authorizes all local governments to display “historic documents” and specifically lists the commandments as being included.

Hill said the bill will prevent city and county governments from “being intimidated any further by special interest groups” opposed to displaying of the Ten Commandments. It passed 93-9 and now goes to the Senate.

Quiz:

a. The Magna Carta

b. The Declaration of Independence

c. The Ten Commandments.

Which of these things is not like the others?

99 Comments

  1. Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    This is absolutley frightening. Thanks for sahring!

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      **This is absolutely frightening. Thanks for sharing!**

      Sorry for the misspellings. Ive got a trigger finger sometimes. 

  2. Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I remember the night
    And the Tennessee Waltz
    Now I know just how much I have lost…

    Counting the number of churches on Old Hickory Blvd in Nashville is not advisable.

    Let us know when you’ll be arriving and/or where you’ll be speaking.

  3. Steve
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    C) Because there is no one list of Ten Commandments, and because it’s authorship is attributed not to man, but to a particular deity of a particular theological belief system.

    • Matt G
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      And not many Christians follow them anyway.

    • Bob Johnson
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      B) only document that is relevant to US and US state law.

      or

      C) Only document not originally written in english.

      • Kiwi Dave
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        “C) Only document not originally written in english.”

        The original document no longer survives, but Magna Carta was very probably written in Latin, the language of its title and the language of law and education.

        • Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          But contemporaneous copies of one version of the Great Charter do exist, one of which is in the castle here in Lincoln.

          /@

  4. ploubere
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Yeah, welcome to Tennessee, where I’ve been teaching for the last 4 years. Used to go predominantly democratic; I live in Al Gore’s old district just outside of Nashville. But in the last few elections the state legislature has been captured by tea party and religious nuts who are introducing these bills. It’s only going to get worse.

  5. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    If the “monkey bill” does pass, I urge teachers to interpret it as a licence to dissect creationist beliefs openly and directly in the classroom.

    • Matt G
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Let’s look at the strengths (none) and weaknesses (nothing but) of creationism. We hold them to the same standard we hold ourselves. Equal time? No. Time in proportion to the evidence.

      • eric
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Matt, another bit of sauce for the goose. This part of the law:

        The measure also guarantees that teachers will not be subject to discipline for engaging students in discussion of questions they raise,

        Can be used by teachers and students to discuss prophylaxis use in counties that insist on abstinence-only sex ed. 🙂

        • eric
          Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          errr, another bit of sauce for the gander. The goose is evolution education.

    • ploubere
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately the goal is to allow teachers who want to teach creationism to do so.

  6. Chuck
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see the code of Hammurabi added to the list… it’s much more historically significant.

  7. lamacher
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    And the Code of Hammurabi is better, anyway – much more comprehensive.

  8. atomwood
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    They are trying to devolve back into a reptilian state.

  9. R. Lee Bays
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing. The fundamental lack of understanding of the scientific method is both astounding and, obviously in instances like this, pathetic.

    I’d be very interested to see what the “scientific weaknesses” are in evolution by natural selection or global warming.

    Maybe the legislators in Tennessee just don’t realize that Fox News opinion pieces don’t actually count as science?

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      I’d be very interested to see what the “scientific weaknesses” are in evolution by natural selection or global warming.

      Well, you don’t have real experimental evidence, do you? Where’s your control biological history and climate?

      • R. Lee Bays
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Hi Ken, my sarcasm meter may be a bit off, but the evidence for evolution by natural selection is extentsive (DNA, non-natural selection, genetics, fossil record, prokaryotic adaptation to antibiotics, etc.).

        As for a control in climate, as you know the greenhouse effect was experimentally verified by John Tyndall in 1859, and then specifcally the effect of combustion-produced carbon dioxide was quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. So it’s been well understood for quite a while now 😉

    • Posted March 22, 2012 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      This seems to be a lockstep blog, with very little in the way of give and take. So lets shake it up a little. You asked for weaknesses in either evolution or global warming. So as not to create a blogal apoplectic meltdown, let me tackle warming. I happen to be a “denier.” So what are we denying? Certainly not global warming, as that has been measurably going on for hundreds of years since the “little ice age.” Certainly not atmospheric CO2 build up since the industrial revolution as that is scientifically established beyond doubt. The discussion that should be allowed both here and in the Tennessee school system is whether or not CO2, a minor green house gas, causes no warming, a little warming, or is the driving cause of what is going on. The almost universal presumption is that it is a major cause and that we must do something or court disaster. That is what deniers, deny, and with reams of evidence, if such were to be permitted within the academic community. I will only list a couple of things to give evidence that Gore’s “the debate is over!” is so much hogwash. “The Inconvenient Truth” was found by an English court to have most of its significant claims to be either false or not established fact. Its foundational “hockey stick” was dropped by the IPCC as being unsupportable. 31,000 scientists including 9000 PhD’s have gone on record as not accepting that CO2 is a major reason for the warming that is being measured. Even more intriguing is that those who have analyzed the claims and the suggested “solutions” to the claimed anthropogenic problem have shown that the cost is astronomical and the reversals are slight, at best. All this might be just as wrong as I believe the other side to be, but the issue here is not who is right, but whether or not the discussion should be allowed. Tennessee says “yes,” and a potential waste of hundreds of billions of dollars may hang in the balance.

      • Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:09 am | Permalink

        Typo, should have been 900 PhD’s

      • Ken Pidcock
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:29 am | Permalink

        That is what deniers, deny, and with reams of evidence, if such were to be permitted within the academic community.

        Stopped here. The scientific community does not suppress good science. It just doesn’t happen, whether or not you wish to have it be the case for your own interests.

        • mindfulconsideration
          Posted March 22, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          Really? You should see the movie Burzynski
          (2010) “This true story follows a biochemist who challenged the Food and Drug Administration for his right to begin clinical trials on a new cancer treatment. In addition to recounting Burzynski’s astonishing legal victories in the face of skepticism, this documentary also examines several of his patients and their success in fighting terminal cancer.”

          Or read this: http://nuclearplanet.com/Science_Suppression.html

          And this: http://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/01cescience.html

          More evidence: http://scienceprogress.org/2012/03/new-lows-in-the-war-on-science-%E2%80%94-but-this-time-science-wins-one/

          http://www.sott.net/articles/show/233364-Corruption-in-Science-Fraud-and-Errors-in-Scientific-Studies-Skyrocket

          http://www.sott.net/articles/show/234848-The-Corruption-of-Science-Pressure-for-positive-results-puts-science-under-threat-study-shows

          http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2777842/posts

          There is plenty of fraud, corruption, and suppression of good science within the scientific community. Denying this truth just makes you sound naive.

          • emmageraln
            Posted March 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

            Nothing is perfect, science isn’t because people are in no way perfect. That us exactly why the scientific process is full of checks and rechecks.
            To use Burzynski as a counter to the integrity of science as a whole would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic. Burzynski is a fraud, he takes advantage of people when they are at the most desperate. The suggestion that the entire scientific community would surpress cancer treatment is ludicrous. Large pharmaceuticals are not the only people in the world doing cancer research. If a man with Burzynskis sales skills had anything useful to contribute he would have no trouble getting a hearing.

            • mindfulconsideration
              Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

              The FDA was largely against Burzynski because he was an individual, not part of a big pharmaceutical company. The very companies seeking FDA approval for their products pay a user fee that accounts for 20% of the total FDA budget. The FDA has a vested interest in protecting the interests major drug companies. They didn’t need any evidence of fraud in order to be against him. I’m not saying that Burzynski has never committed any wrongdoing, only that the FDA’s motives are hardly pure.

              Anyway, what I said was in response to this statement: “Stopped here. The scientific community does not suppress good science. It just doesn’t happen, whether or not you wish to have it be the case for your own interests.” This is a sweeping statement that this kind of thing never happens. In that case a single counterexample will prove the statement false.

              “To use Burzynski as a counter to the integrity of science as a whole would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic.” This is arguing against something I never said. What I said was “There is plenty of fraud, corruption, and suppression of good science within the scientific community. Denying this truth just makes you sound naive.” I.E. it exists and is not especially uncommon. Of course not every scientist or bureaucrat is dishonest and untrustworthy, but a little healthy skepticism of their motives never hurt anybody.

      • R. Lee Bays
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Hi Phoenix, I don’t follow climate science as closely as I should, so could you please cite the IPCC position which says that Mann’s analysis is now unsupportable as well as the paper which says that 900 PhDs reject CO2 as a cause for global warming? Thanks!

        • Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          RLB,

          Thanks for your civil reply. The Mann assessment has been subject of intense controversy for as many years as it has been made public. McIntire and McKitrick were instrumental in exposing the faulty methodology whose objections were then confirmed by the Wegman Report. These were impressive enough for the IPCC to drop the curve from their 2007 Assessment 4. The controversy still rages, and my primary point is that the debate is not over and if ever there was a reason for serious debate, this is it because of the massive costs in making corrections which might not accomplish anything. I would not be surprised to find out after all is said and done, that CO2 had nothing to do with it, but man did cause it by continually flying 30,000 jets in the upper atmosphere. Want to suspend air travel? Hey, everybody makes mistakes.

          The 31,000 and 9,000 [thousand turns out to have been correct] is found at petitionproject.org. The most illustrious figures to wade in include Dr. Freeman Dyson, who has said that the 5 billion dollar computer model is useless since it cannot model the effect of H20 vapor which is has 200 to 2000 times more influence on greenhouse warming than does C02 [or words approximately to that effect – I saw it some years ago]. Another is MIT scientist Richard Lindzen. If you are impressed by the mantra claiming total consensus of Climate Scientists on the subject; first it is untrue. Second, please find out how many within the “consensus” group are partakers of the 9 billion dollars in research monies that will disappear should man’s influence be debunked.

          Seventeen minutes of inestimatable value is Bjorn Lomborg on UTube. Most instructive 17 minutes you will ever spend.

          I lean toward the “deniers” position, but am open to being wrong. I am NOT wrong when I contradict Gore in saying that the “debate is NOT over,” or that it should be thoroughly discussed in classrooms around the world. Academic freedom, anyone?

  10. chriskg
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Oh, the irony of the ever-evolving creationist attempts to dismiss evolution. My boss is a Libertarian who thinks that it’s fine to let the states teach whatever they want. “Leave it to the states”, he says. “Eventually, market forces will force them to adapt science in the classroom as more and more students from that state fall behind and don’t get into a state school.” I argue that such a policy will leave the door open to hundreds of lawsuites in every county and every state over the same issue(s). Sadly, from a Libertarian point of view, that’s “Okay” too. I wish I knew the what the magic bullet was to prevent this stupidity.

    • Dominic
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

      Ah – a sort of Aleister Crowley-ish “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”…

  11. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    They should “teach the controversy” in religious education (do they have that in the US public school system?)

    “The Bible is a collection of myths and fairy stories written by ignorant tribesmen. Discuss”

    • Dominic
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      And all the alternatives. So you give equal weight to religion and non-religion – atheism – in those classes!

  12. emmageraln
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I agree that they should be able to display a photograph of the actual 10 comandments 😀 …

  13. Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The Magna Carta. Its name is in Latin.

    • Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      So, either “Magna Carta” or “the Great Charter,” but not “the Magna Carta.”

      /@

  14. Adrian
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D4TAtRCJIqnk&v=4TAtRCJIqnk&gl=GB

    But I thought there were 15 commandments?

    • wildhog
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Your link didnt work for me. I’m guessing you were trying to link to this..

      • Adrian
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, sorry about that and thanks for the correction!

  15. Jim Jones
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    So, first the SCOTUS says that Sharia law supersedes US law, now Tennessee authorizes the display of quotes from the Noble Qur’an on public buildings! How odd!

  16. FTFKDad
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    (a) is not the title of a film, the other two are.

  17. footface
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I am thrilled to see HB2658! Finally people will be permitted to display the hitherto forbidden Declaration of Independence!

    What’s that? It wasn’t forbidden? And they didn’t want to display it, anyway?

  18. Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    A direct quote from the Scopes trial transcript:

    Mr. Darrow – Your honor, before you send for the jury, I think it my duty to make this motion. Off to the left of where the jury sits a little bit and about ten feet in front of them is a large sign about ten feet long reading, “Read Your Bible,” and a hand pointing to it. The word “Bible” is in large letters, perhaps a foot and a half long and the printing–
    The Court – Hardly that long I think, general.
    Mr. Darrow – What is that?
    The Court – Hardly that long.
    Mr. Darrow – why, we will call it a foot.
    The Court – Compromise on a foot…
    A voice – Fourteen inches.
    Mr. Darrow – I move that it be removed.

  19. Steve Plegge
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Fun Fact for these dipshits: ALL scientific theories are the subject of “debate and disputation”.

    Why don’t we just pack these nimrods off to Afghanistan? The political and religious environment should suit them just fine.

    > certain historically-significant documents, such as the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and Ten Commandments

    Any predictions on how often their random historically-significant document selector will seem to be broken?

    And where’s the goddam Oxford comma? Without it I’m looking for a Declaration that refers to Independence and Ten Commandments.

  20. derekw
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    a. The Magna Carta

    b. The Declaration of Independence

    c. The Ten Commandments.

    Which of these things is not like the others?
    Well…all of them do mention God 😉

  21. raven
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues; and

    Does this mean we can’t refer to creationists as “morons”, “creationists”, and “weird xian death cultists” anymore? LOL.

  22. Bonzodog
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Just read the curious list of documents that are to be displayed. “the Ten
    Commandments, Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence,
    United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, Constitution of Tennessee”

    Rather fond of Magna Carta … King John is buried about 1km away from where I am.

    OK … right …. ignoring the above, which other documents should be displayed?

    A couple to kick off with…. the 1953 Watson and Crick Nature paper, the essay from Wallace to Darwin that put a rocket up Darwin’s arse and prompted him to write OOTS.

    • Bonzodog
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Ignore word “curious”. I had edited a sentence and accidentally left it in!

    • Dominic
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:36 am | Permalink

      King John is one of my heroes! I prefer his father – just before he died he declared that he would withhold from god that which god held most precious – his soul.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      United States Constitution, Bill of Rights

      Do they not realize that the American Bill of Rights is part of the United States Constitution?

    • mordacious1
      Posted March 23, 2012 at 1:24 am | Permalink

      Certainly you meant OtOS?

      • Bonzodog
        Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        Er yes … 🙂

  23. Pastor Ketcham
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I just hope the people of Tennessee pass this bill firmly in to law. It is high time that the theory of evolutionism was subjected to the degree of scrutiny and evaluation that students deserve of their science education.

    There are countless papers in the peer-reviewed literature that are deeply critical of many areas of evolutionary theory and students should be presented with these arguments and not just those of Jerry Coyne and others who want a monopoly on the truth.

    • Bonzodog
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree. As long as the criticisms are based on science not some mystical, mythical being.

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Pastor, please post links to a few of these studies. I would like to see them.

    • raven
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      There are countless papers in the peer-reviewed literature that are deeply critical of many areas of evolutionary theory…

      This is a flat out lie.

      There are virtually no papers in the peer reviewed literature that deeply critical of evolutionary theory.

      99% of revelant scientists in the USA accept evolutionary theory. The few who don’t freely admit they don’t on religious grounds. It’s even higher in Europe. There are tens of thousands of papers supporting evolution with more being published on a daily basis.

      But go ahead. Cite those countless papers. Prove us wrong.

      PS BTW, Pastor Ketcham, you only speak for your weird fundie cult. My natal large old Protestant denomination doesn’t have a problem with evolution and they say so right on their website.

  24. Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The language of that bill sounds a LOT like Alabama’s textbook insert…

  25. Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Also, you may have already posted on this (I have a bad short-term memory), but Alabama is also considering a bill that would allow the Ten Commandments to be displayed at the state courthouse (remember Roy Moore?). I think the language of that one is something like any document displayed in the Library of Congress is allowed to be displayed in the state courthouse. Or something like that. Oh, and Roy Moore is running for Chief Justice again.

  26. saguhh00
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    @ Pastor Ketcham
    You do realize all 900 million Hindus are laughing at you, 140 million Brazilians (I included) are laughing at you, 300 million Buddhists are laughing at you, 500 million Europeans are laughing at you, and 83% of all Christians are laughing at you right now. And we will continue to laugh at you until the day you and your yokel mates die.

    No peer-reviewed literature suggests a talking snake is the alternative to Darwinian evolution.
    You are the one who claims a monopoly on the truth with as much evidence on your side as the existence of leprechauns.

  27. Posted March 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    More people would know of the debunking of this crap if higher education were not so freaking expensive. Canada and Finland offer college enrollment for much less than in the U.S. It does not belong in high school but until we solve that issue we should also demand that college and grad school be more accessible to everyone. There are no degrees in intelligent design or climate change denial.

  28. Pastor Ketcham
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Here are some fine (recent) examples of peer-reviewed papers that are critical of evolutionism but which do not advocate creationism:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/q767h613177m34r1/

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cplx.20365/abstract

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/ruj283l807481571/

    http://www.lehigh.edu/bio/pdf/Behe/QRB_paper.pdf

    They deserve to be presented in the classroom as part of critical evaluation.

    Science is about the 1%, not the 99%.

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      The first one appears to be from an economic journal. ??

      Thanks for the links. Now please explain how each one, as you say, is critical of evolution. I just don’t see it. Also, I’m curious, how do you know these are peer-reveiwed?

      • Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        Sorry for the double-comment.

        “but which do not advocate creationism”

        Ah, so you agree the theory of evolution is the best one we have so far and agree there is no evidence for intelligent design. Gotcha.

    • raven
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      I put evolution into the search box of the National Library of Medicine and it gave me 311,859 papers.

      Not all papers on evolution and related subjects use the world evolution. There could well be around a million papers on the subject.

      Your countless papers have ended up at 4.

      One by Michael Behe is a review article by a discredited scientist, not a peer reviewed research paper at all. The other one I looked at Wiley: Is gene duplication a viable explanation for the origination of biological information and complexity?
      Joseph Esfandiar Hannon Bozorgmehr

      is by a notorious creationist and is published in an obscure mathematical journal because he knows it wouldn’t be published in any reputable biology journal.

      Science is about the 1%, not the 99%.

      Assertion without proof. It’s also meaningless and plain wrong.

      Science is an adversarial process that converges on the truth. Religion and creationism is a religious dogma has no way to evaluate its truth claims except murder and wars. Because of that, religion constantly diverges and evolves with new sects appearing all the time.

    • raven
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      They deserve to be presented in the classroom as part of critical evaluation.

      There is a place for that. It isn’t grade school or secondary school.

      It is at the colleges and universities. And that is where creationism and it’s Halloween costumed sibling, Intelligent Design, have been considered. They failed a century ago.

      Creationism isn’t new. It is old superstition that lost a century ago among the only group that matters. Educated, intelligent adults.

    • Dominic
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:38 am | Permalink

      “Science is about the 1%, not the 99%”? Excuse my language, but what utter bollocks. I suppose democracy is as well in Pastor-world.

  29. Leigh Jackson
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I viewed Salisbury Cathedral’s original copy of Magna Carta a couple of weeks ago. It’s kept in the Chapter House, which is a treasure all of its own.

    Around the walls is a frieze depicting 60 sculpted vignettes from Genesis and Exodus culminating in Moses receiving God’s freshly chiseled tablets.

    Not a replica in sight. An original Magna Carta and one restoration of a medieval representation of an ancient story within a story.

    A replica of the ten commandments would be something to see – seeing as how there’s no original and all.

  30. Pastor Ketcham
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    @amelie

    2 are from cross-discipline journals and the other from standard biology ones. They were all peer-reviewed because they were published in journals that use the peer-review system.

    This is just a small sample, but they appear to show some of the best examples given of “how evolution works” are just e to loss of function or compensatory mutations. No novelty is ever produced in adaptation.

    When I said they do not explicitly advocate creationism, it is because they would be censored if they did.

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      “it is because they would be censored if they did”

      You mean it would be subject to the same rules and regulations as every other scientific paper ever published in the last 30 years. Why do you Creationists think you’re exempt from the standards expected of any Biologist?

      If you have published evidence of Creationism, Pastor, now’s the time to present it.

    • raven
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      No novelty is ever produced in adaptation.

      This is false.

      I can tell you aren’t a biologist.

      1. There are countless examples of novelty produced by evolution. In my own field, medical research, the current paradign for cancer is somatic cell evolution. Somatic cells evolve, losing growth control, becoming immortal, evading host defenses, metastasizing, becoming resistant to chemo, biologicals, radiation.

      That was the theory. When we sequence a cancer cell and compare it to the host, we find around a hundred mutations of which maybe 15 are involved in the oncogenic phenotype.

      This process that you just claimed doesn’t happen will kill 100 million of the 300 million Americans now alive.

      2. We’ve been able to evolve novel pathways by experimental evolution, citrate catabolism, new lactose metabolizing genes, enzymes to degrade nylon, a synthetic polymer not found in nature, and many more.

      3. There is one example of a novel macro scale organ being produced, in a Mediterranean lizard deliberately introduced onto to barren island.

      4. The corn T cytoplasmic sterility protein was cobbled together from a bunch of almost random sequences in a few years.

      5. Novel plants are produced all the time by evolutionary processes and rather quickly since plants readily hybridize with related species. I found one in my yard recently, meadow knapweed. Meadow knapweed (Centaurea moncktonii) is a hybrid between two European knapweed species: black knapweed (Centaurea nigra), which is native to the …

      • raven
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        The Cure Cancer Project: Cancer is an Evolutionary Disease
        ww.curecancerproject.org/beta/page.php?s…cancer_evolutionary…

        The evidence that cancer is an evolutionary process is extensive and overwhelming. So much so, that non-evolutionary models of cancer are not tenable.

        The current model for cancer is an evolutionary one. Backed up by a large amount of DNA sequence and cell biology data.

        In medicine, evolutionary biology is critical and we see it every day.

        1. Anti-pathogen resistance is common and sometimes treatment limiting.

        2. New pathogens evolve often. HIV/AIDS, SARS, we just had a battle with the novel Swine Flu and are keeping an eye on bird flu.

        3. Cancer, already mentioned.

        It’s also critical in modern agriculture, based on continuous plant breeding.

        Evolution only matters if you eat and want to live a long, healthy life.

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      “No novelty is ever produced in adaptation.”

      Mutation and natural selection can produce novelty. A few examples:

      1974 and 1994 E.Coli experiments, Japanese nylon eating bacteria, antibiotic resistant diseases, ect. Many more examples could be cited.

    • Dominic
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:41 am | Permalink

      Listen – there is absolutely NO evidence of your special creation, that is what the last 150 years of biology has shown. It is not even a theory.

  31. Pastor Ketcham
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    @amelie

    No journal would ever countenance anything explicitly creationist in nature. To circumvent this ideological firewall, creationists have to tone down their findings and make their research less controversial. They have to conform to the entrenched views of the editors and reviewers.

    But the Tennessee bill threatens to change all this. Now, a new generation of scientists will be raised who embrace creationism and who will become the future editors and reviewers. Folks like Coyne will go extinct.

    • raven
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Folks like Coyne will go extinct.

      More lies from the creationist.

      US xianity is losing 1-2 million members a year thanks to people like you. Making believing in lies and attacking science as a religious litmust test works both ways.

      FWIW, people like Pastor Ketcham are why I dropped out of xianity after 4 decades as a member.

      The Catholic church has recently lost a huge 22 million people, 1/3 of the membership.

      Southern Baptist Membership in Free Fall | The Religious Post
      ww.thereligiouspost.com/…/southern-baptist-membership-in-free-fa…

      28 Jun 2011 – The Southern Baptists have been losing members for four years in a row. The more dedicated members are slowing dying and the youngest …

      The Southern Baptists have lost 1.5 million members, down 4 years in a row. Their own projections have them cut in half in a few decades.

      At current rates of decline, US xianity is projected to go under 50% of the population by 2050.

      • raven
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Xians have been producing atheists since 33 CE.

        Nothing has changed except it is happening faster these days.

      • whyevolutionistrue
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        Pastor, have you read my book? If not, do it. If you have, then you’re lying to yourself if you doubt evolution. How do you explain the mammal-like reptiles, fishapods, and feathered dinosaurs.

        At any rate, in that book I gave my evidence for evolution, so now you give yours for God. Why, exactly, are you so convinced there’s a deity? What’s the evidence that is so much more compelling than the multifarious evidence for evolution? Give us your EVIDENCE, and it had better be more than just revelation.

        You won’t be permitted to post further until you answer both that question and how you explain the transitional fossils, including in hominins.

      • Sawdust Sam
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        An outsider’s question: If the electorate is rejecting such fundamentalist views, why/how does it keep electing fundamentalists?

    • Posted March 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      “To circumvent this ideological firewall, creationists have to tone down their findings and make their research less controversial”

      Riiight. They couldn’t oh, say, start their own journal or provide *gasp* evidence of what they’re saying?

      The Catholic Church has the gall to harbor pedophile preists while demanding that birth control be outlawed. Yet you want me to believe they don’t have the temerity to assert their evidence of an intelligent designer? Oh, please.

  32. Ken Pidcock
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    I wondered why this post (Is it OK to use that word when this isn’t a weblog?) had 50+ comments when the previous had 15.

    Look, man, the scientifically relevant strategy isn’t to look for arguments against existing theory. It’s to offer an alternative theory. Clearly, life has evolved. Jerry et al. say it’s a matter of undirected genetic variation and differential reproductive success. What do you say it is?

  33. Darth Dog
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    @Pastor Ketcham

    I think your claims of censorship are silly. Look at the recent past. When a CERN group announced that they had measured faster than light neutrinos (and thereby posed a problem for the well accepted current understanding of relativity), it made headlines all around the world. Much bigger headlines than came out later when the result could not be duplicated or when experimental errors were found.

    Similarly in a recent post on this website, JAC pointed out how an experiment that seemed to show positive results for precognition got big headlines. The later experiment that tried to duplicate their results and failed could barely get published.

    If anyone had a solid finding that seriously challenged current evolutionary theory, you can bet that it would get tremendous attention worldwide. Find fossil rabbits in the precambrian and I guarantee it would make headlines! The problem is that saying “My faith tells me that evolution is not true” is not evidence. It isn’t even an informed opinion.

  34. morkindie
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    “Public Buildings – As introduced, authorizes replicas of certain historically-significant documents, such as the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence and Ten Commandments, to be placed in local government public buildings. – Amends TCA Title 5, Chapter 7 and Title 6, Chapter 54.”

    When someone can bring forth the tablets upon which Moses inscribed the “Ten Commandments” I will gladly allow a copy to be put on display in our school.

    • Leigh Jackson
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Yep, biblical literalism requires a replica of the historical “document” to be a stone look alike, at least.

      Unfortunately we don’t have the original stone tablets. So no authentic replica can be made.

      We do have the Papyrus of Ani from Egypt, circa 1250 BC, of course. I have not killed, stolen lied etc.

      Stolen moral precepts or evolutionary prerequisites for civilised life? Gradually rendered more and more explicit. Eventuallly codified as social “law”.

      Surely not!

  35. Old Rasputin
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    So the language of the summary basically states, “This bill prohibits [schools] from prohibiting [teachers] from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review [stuff].” Jesus, a bill that prohibits people from prohibiting people from helping people. Is there any conceivable need for such a creature?

    The language-mangling lengths one must go to to create a little wiggle room for that creationist wedge never cease to amaze me.

    • klem
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

      It sounds weird but the bill prohibits the higher-ups in the school system from prohibiting teachers from helping students. This actually makes alot of sense since the higher-ups are the ones who can threaten to fire a teacher for helping students learn about a subject they don’t want them to learn about. Its a safety feature for the teachers of sorts. So if a teacher wants to teach about how poor and weak climate science is, they can not be prohibited from teaching that.

  36. Dominic
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    The above pastor is in cloud-cuckoo land. If there are people who believe in special creations – let’s call it what Darwin called it –
    eg http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-1643
    then let them show evidence for it or publish it in their own journals. I predict that no serious scientists would read what they had to say. I do not mean that no one who believes in god(s) cannot make scientific discoveries or contributions, but that if you want to invoke supernatural causes you had better show everyone that there are supernatural events. Just because you want something to be true, does not make it so.

  37. Dominic
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Look what happens to scientists in the world of the generous christian right –
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v483/n7390/full/483402a.html

  38. klem
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t have a problem with the Ten Commandments thing, but it will also allow any religious organization to do the same. Over the years, this will happen. And it should be rather entertaining.

  39. Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The Tennessee bill SB 0893 has at least one utterly loony aspect, It lists what teachers are specifically authorized to question:

    The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy;

    So they put “human cloning” in a list of things that they think can’t happen. Well, if human cloning can’t happen, then why worry about whether or not it would be ethical?

    What this demonstrates is that they have no idea what they’re talking about.

    • mindfulconsideration
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 10, is amended by

      adding the following as a new, appropriately designated section:

      (a) The general assembly finds that:

      (1) An important purpose of science education is to inform students about

      scientific evidence and to help students develop critical thinking skills necessary

      to becoming intelligent, productive, and scientifically informed citizens;

      (2) The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to,

      biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human

      cloning, can cause controversy; and

      (3) Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how

      they should present information on such subjects.

      (b) The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school

      governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public

      elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create

      an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages

      students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical

      thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about

      controversial issues.

      (c) The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school

      governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public

      elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to assist

      teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses

      scientific controversies. 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.

      (d) Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary

      school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or any

      public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any

      teacher in a public school system of this state from helping 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.

      (e) This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not

      be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination. . .

      Nowhere does this say any of these things cannot happen, only that they might be controversial. In the matter of human cloning the controversy would be over the ethics of the issue. http://www.srtp.org.uk/assets/uploads/Human_Cloning_Ethical_Issues_leaflet.pdf

    • Adrian
      Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      They won’t be teaching human cloning?

      So presumably an explanation for identical twins will not be provided.

      Oh and while we’re talking identical twins – can any of the pious tell me that since life begins at conception, does this mean that once a zygote splits the soul also splits?

      • mindfulconsideration
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        “The Biblical definition of a soul is simply a breathing body. Notice that the text does not say that
        man was given a soul, but rather he became a soul. A soul is not something a person has, it
        is the person. Souls have blood (Jeremiah 2:34). Not only are people souls, but so are fish
        and animals (Revelation 16:3).
        The Hebrew word for soul, nephesh, is variously translated “person” (Genesis 14:21), “self”
        (Leviticus 11:43), “life” (Psalm 31:13), “me” (Judges 16:30), “creature” (Genesis 1:21),
        “beast” (Leviticus 24:18), “man” (2 Kings 12:4), “thing” (Ezekiel 47:9), and “fish” (Isaiah
        19:10). When translated “body” the nephesh is usually dead (Leviticus 21:11).
        The Greek word for soul, psuche, has the same meaning. In Matthew 16:25 Jesus commends
        anyone who will lose his soul (psuche) for Christ’s sake. It is often translated simply as “life”
        (Matthew 2:20). It means “person” (Acts 7:14). “My soul” and “your soul” are idiomatic
        expressions meaning “I” and “you” (Matthew 12:18; 2 Corinthians 12:15, margin).?” http://www.remnantofgod.org/books/lastdays/pdf/The_Last_Days–Lesson-10.pdf

        • Steve Plegge
          Posted March 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          … and these citations from the Big Book of Bronze Age Bedtime Horror Stories is relevant to reality how?

          • mindfulconsideration
            Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            “Oh and while we’re talking identical twins – can any of the pious tell me that since life begins at conception, does this mean that once a zygote splits the soul also splits??

            A soul is any living body according to Christianity and Judaism. Since this article is about “creationist shenanigans”, which usually refers to Christian creationists I assumed you were referring to Christian beliefs about the soul. Was I wrong? Were you asking atheists? Agnostics? Muslims? Buddhists? Wiccans? Hindus? LaVeyan satanists? Theistic satanists? Sikhs? You should really be more specific. By the way, what does a pious atheist look like?

            • mindfulconsideration
              Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

              Of course the person I originally replied to was a different person than the one I just replied to right now. Please forgive my inattention.

            • Adrian
              Posted March 23, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

              Ok, sorry for lack of clarity. What I was trying to say was the following:

              Opposition of Christian fundamentalists to evolution and latterly climate change are well documented parts of the culture wars.

              I was just shocked that this bill is also concerned with cloning. Given the religuous right’s blatant ignorance of the facts surrounding climate change and evolution perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised given their predilection for all things related to reproductive rights as well.

              As a result, I was trying to point out the idiocy of blanket bans on discussing cloning. Identical twins are natures clones afterall, I just wonder if many religious people have considered this? I then extrapolated this to the fact that religious people in general believe life begins at conception and in my general experience, ascribe the beginning of human life to the dualistic notion of a soul being present from zygote stage onwards.

              The logical problem with this in the case of identical twins is what happens when a zygote splits – in religious dogma does this mean a soul splits too? This is ludicrous.

              Anyway, apologies again. The issues around reproductive rights etc are close to me as several friends have gone to the US recently to avail of the best fertility treatment around. If the religious right had their way, with their personhood bills ViRginia etc, it would have massive repercussions for people unable to have children naturally. As a result I find it hard to believe anyone would indoctrination so

              • mindfulconsideration
                Posted March 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

                Gametes (eggs and sperm) are also alive. Do they have souls? Zygotes are capable of not only splitting but also recombining. The living body spits into two and recombines into one. Read http://ugent.academia.edu/KatrienDevolder/Papers/92605/THE_AMBIGUITY_OF_THE_EMBRYO_ETHICAL_INCONSISTENCY_IN_THE_HUMAN_EMBRYONIC_STEM_CELL_DEBATE.

                Also though intical twins start out with the exact same DNA, their genetic profile can change. Read http://ugent.academia.edu/KatrienDevolder/Papers/92605/THE_AMBIGUITY_OF_THE_EMBRYO_ETHICAL_INCONSISTENCY_IN_THE_HUMAN_EMBRYONIC_STEM_CELL_DEBATE.

                “As a result, I was trying to point out the idiocy of blanket bans on discussing cloning. Identical twins are natures clones after all, I just wonder if many religious people have considered this?” Are you suggesting that religious people want the government to ban identical twins from forming naturally in the womb? That is ridiculous.

                In any case the bill in question does not ban discussion of human beings deliberately making clones of other human beings. It says “The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy; and (3) Some teachers may be unsure of the expectations concerning how they should present information on such subjects. (b) The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to create
                an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages
                students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.(c) The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies. 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. (d) Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping 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. (e) This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

                While stating that human cloning is one of the scientific topics that might prove controversial it does not specifically ban discussion of that topic. It does say that people who have the power to fire a teacher do not have the right to ban that teacher from discussing scientific weaknesses. It does say that the bill should not be construed as to mean teachers are allowed to promote their religion (so it isn’t clear how much they are allowed to say about religious objections to any scientific issue) and it says this bill does not mean that they now have the legal right to discriminate against students or teachers for religious or non-religious views. Their freedom of religion is still protected but this bill does not give them the right to infringe on the rights of others. I believe that it would also give the teachers the right to allow student discussion about the various issues.


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