Monday, June 16, 2008

Louisiana Senate passes Science Education Act

As part of the Vast Creationist Conspiracy the Darwinists have been warning us about, the Louisiana Senate has passed the Science Education Act, which is supported by Intelligent Design advocates. The bill calls for "critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning."

We all know where critical thinking and logical analysis might lead our vulnerable children, not to mention the intellectual mischief which could result from open and objective discussion. Darwinists have been trying to warn us about this for some time, and so far, apparently, too few people have been listening.

And you can't deny they have a point: Can public schools survive the onset of logic and critical thinking?

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The law allows teachers to bring in any nutty idea they want when they are supposed to be teaching science. No one is being fooled by the rather specific list of science subjects singled out by the creationists.

Anonymous said...

Teach the controversy
http://controversy.wearscience.com/

Martin Cothran said...

Nutty ideas in public schools? Never heard of such a thing.

Art said...

Wonderful. Now perhaps teachers brave enough to teach that Jesus was not a real person will have legal recourse when they are persecuted by their communities.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

Are you saying that the idea that Jesus was not a real person is a nutty idea?

Art said...

Hi Martin,

Good question. I guess when you compare the idea with the litany of anti-evolutionary arguments that your handlers at the Discovery Institute are wishing upon the schools in Louisiana, I would say that "Jesus was not a real person" comes out way ahead in the credibility department.

Martin, would you stand up for such teachers (those who tell your kids that Jesus was not a real person) if they taught school in KY?

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

I'm trying to figure out what it is about promoting critical thinking and logical analysis that would make it any easier to teach bad history.

Art said...

Hi Martin,

You're being coy and evasive, so let's see if I can summarize your stance. Feel free to correct me.

You seem to have no problems with the teaching of bad science - flat-out wrong, incorrect, even dishonest - in (y)our schools. (I'm glad to expand on the list of blatant errors and dishonesties that your DI handlers expect you to support - just let me know.) I'll assume that you like to be consistent in your opinions, so I'd say that you also would have no problems with the teaching of what you consider to be bad history in (y)our schools. So you would support teaching the notion that Jesus was not a real person.

Does that about sum things up?

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

I think you are frustrated because I do not feel the logical force of your argument. But the logical force of your argument depends upon my acceptance of your assumption that Intelligent Design is "flat-out wrong, incorrect, even dishonest" is true. But I don't accept that assumption, so I am not feeling the logical force of your argument.

Art said...

Hi Martin,

You said "But the logical force of your argument depends upon my acceptance of your assumption that Intelligent Design is "flat-out wrong, incorrect, even dishonest" is true.". That's not even close to what I am saying. Scientifically, ID is an empty vessel. What is "flat-out wrong, incorrect, even dishonest" is the DI approach to teaching evolution.

Of course, you are free to not accept my assessment, just as you are free to reject the abundance of evidence that makes my assessment correct in every respect. Heck, this is exactly the sort or relativism that I have come to expect from ID proponents - reality is shaped, not by evidence, observation, um, reality, but rather by their politics. Irony of irony, coming as it does from people who mouth the words that criticize moral relativism.

You're still being coy about my question. If we grant that my hypothetical teacher arrives at her opinion (Jesus is not a real historical figure) the same way you do ("I choose to ignore reality, and cast my lot with half-truths"), is it safe to assume that you would grant this teacher the same leeway you would one who might teach (as Caroline Crocker, ID megastar, does) that there is but one Archaeopteryx fossil, and that this is a fake?

(Don't sneer - the latter snippet is entirely representative of the garbage that your handlers at the Discovery Institute want to have taught in Louisiana schools.)

One aside - I've added a link where requested in the comment box; this is the same ol' Art who has been commenting here. As always, I apologize for any confusion this may cause.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

How can what I said be "not even close" to what you are saying when I was directly quoting you? Not only was it close to what you were saying, it was exactly what you said.

Regardless, I think your analogy between a history teacher who teaches that Jesus was not a historical figure and a teacher teaches ID in the classroom is not a relevant analogy (at least where I am concerned). It would only be a good analogy if I advocated teaching ID in the classroom. I have never said teachers should teach ID in the classroom. I have never said I thought ID was definitely science either. I just said that the arguments against it being science are illogical and overstated and that I thought it was still an open question.

I have the same view of teaching ID as I have of teaching religion in public schools: you shouldn't teach religion, you should teach about religion. If ID is brought into the classroom, I think it should be discussed as one of the opinions a number of people have and have had. I simply think you should acknowledge that there is a debate about it in our society--between people who admittedly are mostly religious in their thinking (although that alone does not make it, ipso facto, not scientific), and people who admittedly make up the majority of scientific opinion on the subject.

I just don't see that as an unreasonable opinion. So in the case of your history teacher, I don't have any problem with her teaching that there are people who believe that Jesus was not a historical figure as long as she acknowledges that this is a minority opinion in the historical community. In fact, if she presents both sides fairly, I have no problem with it at all.

Art said...

Hi Martin,

I've been trying to stick to the DI mantra when it comes to education. They insist that their efforts (such as are behind the bill in La.) are not about teaching ID, but rather about "teaching the controversy". That's why I remarked (in so many words) that you weren't getting my point.

The problem with the bill we're discussing is that it allows teachers (such as those who would unabashedly present Crocker's view mentioned above as a fact that seriously challenges standard evolutionary thought) to teach obvious errors and falsehoods as authentic challenges. Basically, it allows incompetence in the name of religion.

It would as well shield from administrative action teachers who, owing to their religious beliefs, teach their students that Jesus was not a historical figure. Not for comparison or discussion, but rather just because this is what the teacher believes.

The DI wishes to protect their allies from such things as expectations of competence, accountability, and the like. Your support for the bill in question is a contradiction (seems to be common on this blog), as I rather suspect that you would be critical of other measures or institutions (such as teachers' unions) that do likewise.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

I have a copy of the bill. Could you point to the statutory language that would force regulatory agencies to do these things?

Art said...

“Provides that a teacher shall teach material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the local school board.”

So, a teacher is free to teach his students that evolution is false, and use Chick Tracts to do so. This bill empowers him thusly, and such rank incompetence is protected by the Louisiana Legislature.

“Provides that proposed law shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.”

This passage permits our teacher to claim that any action based on his rank incompetence amounts to discrimination against his religious beliefs, and thus that disciplinary measures violate the provisions of the bill.

Martin Cothran said...

Art,

Sorry, but that sounds like pure paranoia. There is nothing in the language you quote that mandates that teachers do any of the things you are concerned that they might do, nor does it appear to overturn any current prohibitions on doing those things.

Are you seriously saying you think teachers should be prohibited from using "textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner"?

Is that your position? Is this what the anti-ID movement has come to? Quite frankly, I think that is sad.