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Darwin on Trial
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Scientific American Special Edition: Evolution
What's The Matter With Kansas?: A Lecture
No matter what your belief system is, the testimonies heard throughout these four days is worth listening to! I only began listening because this could pertain to a project I'm working on but soon was captured by the differing perspectives the legislature invited to the table. It was one of the most informative days I've spent in some time. I cannot recommend taking time to listen to them arduously enough! Just commit to listening for one hour and I promise you will be hooked!!!
I decided to download this on a whim and I found it compelling, not fun but, compelling. Imagine being trapped in a small room with Anthony Robbins, Reverend Moon, Lyndon LaRouche and L. Ron Hubbard and, then, being forced to listen to them discuss their twisted philosophies. I was overwhelmed and saddened that these people are now able to frame a debate on their terms.
The fact that they have managed to gain a forum here speaks volumes about our country.
Who would have thought, in the "modern" world in which most of us live & work, a world founded on a secular view of events, on historicism rather than religious fanaticism, on science rather than religious dogma, that the opposition to these views could get their hands on the wheel of state, or of its key method of outreach to Generations X, Y & Z. Who would have thought? But of course, this is going on all around us. Not just in other countries but in our own. Not just among the leaders of our nation-state (e.g., Tom DeLay flailing for continued exercise of naked & corrupt political power at prayer breakfasts in Washington).
An interesting place to see all this in microcosm are these Kansas hearings on what students should be taught about science in general & about evolution in particular. To hear the "other side," since the real scientists have (quite correctly) decided to boycott the event (statements from members of the board itself make clear how biased the event is in the first place). You have pseudo-scientists who are all, without exception, born-again christians, proclaiming that their own faith ought to be taught in kansas elementary & secondary schools. You have scientists proclaiming the same, of course, scientists from disciplines completely outside the relevant areas & in some cases scientists with embarassingly dubious degrees in the first place. But their views make for very interesting listening, as do the self-serving comments made by the board members themselves. This is worth a listen. It is very stimulating even if it brings the blood to a boil on occasion. I am not sure I will be able to retain my interest to Days 2 & 3, which have just been posted, but certainly Day 1 is worth listening to.
It's nice to see that the scientific community gave this fake debate the respect it deserved by not involving itself in something it has already spoken so clearly about. Even now Intelligent Design has yet to publish an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and the reasons are quite clear. Their arguments continually use the lack of evidence for one view as evidence for another view. Children in Kansas schools will be allowed to prove they have a monster in their closet because closet monsters do not hide under their bed, and they checked under their bed and there was no monster. And if the teacher questions this the child can say "but look it's here in my ID book and thats science"
Their quoted books and studies(non peer-reviewed) continually use unscientific concepts that simply sound scientific to a school board with a poor understanding of the associations ID exploits. For example ID relies heavily on measuring intelligence and information in a system, but information theory provides no scientific way to objectivly measure the amount of information or "inteligence" in a system (see Mismeasure of Man). Back to a kansas classroom example, let's say a child scribbles a note and passes it in class but the teacher intercepts it. The teacher finds a seemingly funny set of symbols on the paper that apear to be a pictogram making fun of the teacher, the teacher ,knowing her ID quite well, realizes that she can determine the information in the note and determines it's a note making fun of him/her. Of course the reality is that the student was merely tracing funny shapes found in their text book at random and there was no information relating to the teacher at all no matter how much it may have looked like it. But this is an ID school and that student is in big trouble.
So sure this might be worth a listen but be ready for some serious thinking becasue the pleasant-sounding lies abound.
Poor Kansas students, how can we help them?
I would disagree with a previous reviewer who said that this was not about intelligent design. The driving force behind the "minority report" is the argument that there is a creator that designed the world. Whether this is "intelligent design" or "creationism" or some other flavor of the almighty being, it all comes down to there being a supernatural cause for the world. I don't know if this is true or not. I truly wish I had the faith that some possess; however, this faith is not the basis for science. Science seeks out an explanation for various phenomena and continues that quest despite initial frustrations at not finding an answer. By giving up and saying "it was God", is abhorent to a true scientist who strives to find answers.
I guess I'm ranting much more than I should, but take a listen and decide for yourself.
These hearings are eye opening in that they expose the biased media coverage which represented these hearings as "Science against Religion".
Here are credible, highly qualified scientists who clearly indicate that:
1) There is signficant contraversy regarding Darwinian/Macro evolution
2) There exist singificant misrepresentations about the evidence supporting Darwinian/Macro evolution.
- Jonathan Wells and John Sanford are especially significant in their expert testimony.
- The more we learn about DNA and genetics, the less likely Darwinian/Macro evolution looks
- The distinction between Micro and Macro evolution is extremely important in understanding this issue
3) There is clear discrimination against those scientists and teachers who express their disagreement with teaching Darwinian/macro evolution as a foregone conclusion.
It is seriously worth listening too.
Life long learner of all sorts of things.
If you are looking for an instructive addition to the evolution vs creation/intelligent design debate, this is very much a one trick pony, As you go through part one, part two etc, you hear the concerns/claims of the Creation/ID camp. Some of it, sounds reasonable and you wait to hear the opposite rebuttal from the evo crowd. It is a rebuttal that never happens. After having spent several long hours listening through the entire set of "debates", (one sided opinions as the creationist offer their side of the argument first) those representing the evolution camp, refuse to debate when it is their turn.
They do not answer because they cannot, they do not answer because to them, there is no debate and that these trails cost the tax payers considerable money. It is annoying that they simply do not offer resonable evidence as to why evolution is true and quell the argument that way; They simply refuse to be involved.
Some may think that this is admitting that evolution is not fact, therefore creationism should be taught in schools as well, but it is not.
I can understand why evolutionist do not validate the ID perspective, but I understand how evolution works. I know about Lenski's work with bacteria that it shows two random mutations that are a benifit to a organism, therefore, evolution. (Look up Lenski''s work for the details if you are interested, or Read Richard Dawkin's book "The Greatest Show on Earth" for details)
So, If you are looking for a well laid out debate, this is not it. Not by a long shot. The information that is offered on the creationist side is false, (for some of it) and the Evolution camp simply does not respond.
A complete waste of time
It is very interesting to listen to the original discussions. I think the way the opposition to Darwinism argues very clever and I think their argument can't be agued with, as the just asked that the whole evidence should be tought in school.
The Kansas Board of Education has no authority to do ANYTHING. They can recomnend various actions to the legislature or the governor. No legislature or governor in the country is going to be stupid enough to support any of the ideas involved. Listening to them is a waste of your time. Some religious fanatics in the Johnson County area have been playing games with this "issue" purely for publicity purposes for roughly 10 years. Not a single person from the legimate academic community even attends their meeings because they are such a joke. In the first place this Board serves no purpose, receiives no salary, and has authority to do NOTHING. The state legislature has never had a bill submitted during the 10 years this nonsense has been going on.. The sponsor would get laughed out of office. This group of idiots is not affiliated with ANY religious organization in the state. Most churches in thed K.C. area have gone out of their way to disavow any connection. This includes all of the so-called conservative churches and collleges. No one in the state really cares about these fools since they do little more thn make us look stupid. We've essentially grown tired of them and ignore them. Other candidates, if any,, have no financial support and do not "campaign." Several elections ago state voters got tired of their nonsense and threw 5 out of 6 out of offfice. But their publicity ideas for their ignorant agenda don"t seem to ever go away. I personally have ignored this issue in recent year Paying attention to anyone running for office is hopeless. The original intent was an advisory coimmittee of respeected citizens. Most of us now try to avoid them and hope they go away. The academic community in the state ignores them for the same reason. You will not hear any professor from any state educational institution bother to "testify" before them. NOT ONE. That should indicate something.
The Kansas State Board of Education hearings focused on evolution, specifically whether or not to allow students to learn about scientific criticism of Darwinian evolution, as well as to learn about the evidence that supports the theory.
The hearings were NOT about intelligent design as stated in the summary.
"A snapshot of our time"
I listened to all the Hearings which are available and though they may not be riveting, they show how some poor misguided well meaning school board members in the state of Kansas wasted millions of dollars in tax payers money trying to find holes in evolution theory while in the shadows the intelligent design movement pulled the strings. It's a shocking example of our time when non-scientific pressure groups are able to gain so much support for what is obviously neo-creationism. Some of the speakers gave interesting evidence against evolution theory, which after all, along with quantum theory, string theory and many other theories, is only an attempt to explain something in theoretical terms. The trap the board of directors fell into was being convinced that because there was some evidence against evolution theory that they should scap it from the curriculum, or open up classes to alternative theories which do not have any backing in the scientific community, such as intelligent design. A scientific theory is held to be true until some other theory which appears to explain the phenomenon better comes along and is widely accepted in the scientific community. I wonder if the Kansas Board would be willing to apply their same logic to their Bible Studies lessons. I actually felt sorry for some of the witnesses bought to testify as some appeared to have personal issues which affected their judgement whilst others were just plain crazy. When a so called scientist argues that evolution theory is not scientifically provable and at the same time believes the Earth is 10,000 years old while a mass of evidence speaks the contrary, you don't know whether to laugh or cry. It is a shame that American kids are caught between this game played by adults. I would love to see someone put religion to the same scrutiny and have it removed from the school curriculum.
"Open your mind - if you dare"
As a long standing member of audible.com and an having an avid interest in this subject I listened to this series from start to finish. In a nutshell, if you listen to this series without having any prejudices and are prepared to be challenged about something we are all 'just expected' to take for granted that evolution is 'just so' then you may find yourself feeling not so sure afterwards. While it may be easy to dismiss this subject by merely looking at the title, as many people may do, it will be well worth your time listening to the whole thing, especially day 4.
I was hugely disappointed that the pro-evolution side never came to the party, especially when their side is so 'factually strong'. One is immediately left asking; if that WAS the case then why didn't they show. The answer lies in the people they would have been up against. These were scientific and intellectual heavy weights, one of who invented the gene gun. Listening to some of their arguments, I then knew why the pro Darwinist's went with the safe route. I used to believe blindly in evolution and this series is just one of many entities that has convinced me that I need more than just blind faith to believe something is scientific when much of it is clearly not.
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