Tennessee re-evolution debate

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Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby ThomasJ » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:58 pm

Not sure if this would fall under HH or CS, but maybe have a show stemming from Scopes monkey trial in Tennessee. Although maybe it would simply be a rehashing of the show about the Texas board of education (I don't remember the name of that one).

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gyK2RUUwazgzM9iKQat2JarKU3WA?docId=CNG.cb34ba64dbee38e5903f2d34804f052a.131
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby Sitri » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:01 pm

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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby ThomasJ » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:03 am

I do have to agree with what the state is doing, although perhaps for different reasons. Take evolution for example (for the record I do agree with evolution), it is officially the theory of evolution which means we do not fully understand what is going on. You can relate it to the theory of gravity, if a person throws a ball in the air we have a pretty good guess that it will fall back to Earth and can even calculate when and where, but according to the prevailing theory, it could fly off into space.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that by allowing these children to learn the strengths as well as the weaknesses in evolution, perhaps we can foster a scientific debate. And instead of accepting the prevailing theory as scientific fact, we can use it as platform to build a new theory as we understand our world more.

So if you all need me, I will be living in my own little utopia over here where this actually happens.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby Sitri » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:50 am

The problem I have with the bill is it will legitimize all the crap they already do. I could give you 3 or 4 pages of various "events" put on while I was in school here that ended up with some freak yelling and screaming that we accept jesus or we'd end up blowing our brains out, etc. After I graduated, I found out it wasn't common for schools in other states to do this. I went to 5 schools and every one of them did something, my relatives, scattered around the state, told me that the same crap happened there. It might work somewhere else, but I don't see it working here. Tennessee is the capitol of corruption, they will find a way to abuse it.

Edit: If this bill put in plain words that both sides could debate the theories, I wouldn't have a problem, but the bill says:
Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary
school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrators, or any
public elementary or secondary school principal or administrators 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 within the
curriculum framework developed by the state board of education.
In this it protects creationists more than evolutionists, it doesn't protect students/teachers from critiquing other theories. It does contain:
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 a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination
for or against religion or non-religion.
But this is the status quo, and as stated before, it's not working.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby The Road Rascal » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:13 am

"To teach the controversy about gravity, today we'll talk about how the Space Wizard Alliance sucks things with the Holy Hoover to restrain the Moon Whales of Sheol from escaping."

:splody: Yep, no harm done in mixing mythology with science.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby drtrech » Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:08 am

ThomasJ wrote:I do have to agree with what the state is doing, although perhaps for different reasons. Take evolution for example (for the record I do agree with evolution), it is officially the theory of evolution which means we do not fully understand what is going on. You can relate it to the theory of gravity, if a person throws a ball in the air we have a pretty good guess that it will fall back to Earth and can even calculate when and where, but according to the prevailing theory, it could fly off into space.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that by allowing these children to learn the strengths as well as the weaknesses in evolution, perhaps we can foster a scientific debate. And instead of accepting the prevailing theory as scientific fact, we can use it as platform to build a new theory as we understand our world more.

So if you all need me, I will be living in my own little utopia over here where this actually happens.

Other theories which must be challenged in the interest of academic fairness:
The germ theory of disease.
Mathematical theory (does 2+2 REALLY equal 4?)
Plate tectonics
Heliocentrism

Contrary to what intelligent design "theorists" might tell you, "theory" is not a code word for "shit we think might be true."
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby ThomasJ » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:00 am

drtrech wrote:Contrary to what intelligent design "theorists" might tell you, "theory" is not a code word for "shit we think might be true."


But the reason why it's a theory and not scientific fact is because we do not fully understand. I had made a comparison to the theory of gravity, where we understand very well how gravity works and can make reliable calculations based on gravity but cannot prove that gravity actually exists.

So in the interest in moving forward in science a theory is accepted as fact, but that does not mean we cannot argue the weaknesses in order to come up with an even better theory.
“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby drtrech » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:15 am

ThomasJ wrote:
drtrech wrote:Contrary to what intelligent design "theorists" might tell you, "theory" is not a code word for "shit we think might be true."


But the reason why it's a theory and not scientific fact is because we do not fully understand. I had made a comparison to the theory of gravity, where we understand very well how gravity works and can make reliable calculations based on gravity but cannot prove that gravity actually exists.

So in the interest in moving forward in science a theory is accepted as fact, but that does not mean we cannot argue the weaknesses in order to come up with an even better theory.

Last I heard, we don't actually know how gravity works. We just know that it is measurable and predictable. And the effects of gravity ARE fact, and ARE directly observable.

Evolution, too, is fact. It has been directly observed. We know more about how evolution works than we do about how gravity works.

It's still a theory, but in science there's no such thing as "only" a theory.

That doesn't mean that theories aren't open for revision or to be completely scrapped if appropriate. But that's not because the theory isn't robust and well-proven. Rather, it's because new information has come to light that must now be incorporated into the theoretical framework (that's what a theory is: a framework that accommodates all known facts). The facts aren't disputed, nor is the theory invalidated. It's just tweaked to accommodate the new info.

The "theory" part of evolution is not that it exists, but that differentiation of species occurred through natural selection. But that still doesn't make even that part "only" a theory. It is robust.

So challenge it on its weaknesses. But don't toss out non-scientific crap and call it a challenge.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby KeenIdiot » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:11 am

Scientific theories do not become laws. Theories, no matter how well evidenced such as Einstein's GR remain theories.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby drtrech » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:17 am

KeenIdiot wrote:Scientific theories do not become laws. Theories, no matter how well evidenced such as Einstein's GR remain theories.

But scientific theories do become "true."

That is, they become accepted as foundational rather than being constantly re-hashed.

Mathematics, for example, is still scientific theory, but nobody's disputing that 2+2 does equal 4 (not that it wouldn't be revisited if someone discovered new information).
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby ThomasJ » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:44 am

drtrech wrote:
KeenIdiot wrote:Scientific theories do not become laws. Theories, no matter how well evidenced such as Einstein's GR remain theories.

But scientific theories do become "true."

That is, they become accepted as foundational rather than being constantly re-hashed.

Mathematics, for example, is still scientific theory, but nobody's disputing that 2+2 does equal 4 (not that it wouldn't be revisited if someone discovered new information).



So how do you discover new information if somebody does not dispute 2+2=4. Does it fall from the sky as you stroll along one day? Newton didn't really come up with his laws of motion after being hit in the head with an apple. Newton was disputing and building upon Galileo's theories. In Galileo's time everyone knew that the Sun revolved around the Earth as assuredly as 2+2=4, but that "theory" was shattered. Einstein later came along and disputed Newton's theories.

The point is the way you build upon a theory and discover new knowledge of the world around you is by disputing and debating the prevailing theories of the day.
The theory of evolution as it stands today maybe the whole story, or there may be more to it. The only one that knows for sure is God, and we can only do our best to understand.
“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby drtrech » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:09 am

ThomasJ wrote:
drtrech wrote:
KeenIdiot wrote:Scientific theories do not become laws. Theories, no matter how well evidenced such as Einstein's GR remain theories.

But scientific theories do become "true."

That is, they become accepted as foundational rather than being constantly re-hashed.

Mathematics, for example, is still scientific theory, but nobody's disputing that 2+2 does equal 4 (not that it wouldn't be revisited if someone discovered new information).



So how do you discover new information if somebody does not dispute 2+2=4. Does it fall from the sky as you stroll along one day? Newton didn't really come up with his laws of motion after being hit in the head with an apple. Newton was disputing and building upon Galileo's theories. In Galileo's time everyone knew that the Sun revolved around the Earth as assuredly as 2+2=4, but that "theory" was shattered. Einstein later came along and disputed Newton's theories.

The point is the way you build upon a theory and discover new knowledge of the world around you is by disputing and debating the prevailing theories of the day.
The theory of evolution as it stands today maybe the whole story, or there may be more to it. The only one that knows for sure is God, and we can only do our best to understand.

You dispute it when you discover new information, or discover things that the current theory doesn't cover.

Evolutionary theory is far from complete. I think that for the foreseeable future, at least, they'll be finding new information, and the theory will be adjusted to fit the new facts.

What I'm objecting to here is the suggestion that evolution is "only" a theory, as if it should be taken with a grain of salt.

In reality, the theory of evolution (as is true with every other scientific theory) must accommodate EVERY KNOWN FACT. It must be testable, reproducible, and you must be able to use it to make accurate predictions.

So if you want to dismiss the theory of evolution, you're going to have to come up with a different theory that accommodates EVERY KNOWN FACT. Could it happen? Yes. But it would require a complete paradigm shift and a reinterpretation of every shred of physical evidence acquired so far.

Are there gaps in the theory? Of course. And they should be pointed out as such. But those gaps neither negate the theory nor justify the teaching of speculation or superstition.

If you're going to "teach the controversy," make sure that what you're teaching is actually a contradictory theory rather than relabeled myth and superstition.

Edit: In other words, we have a germ theory of disease. Let's teach the controversy. But let's not teach that demons enter the body and cause illness.

We have a theory of how volcanoes work. Let's teach the controversy. But let's not teach that the volcano god wants virgins to be sacrificed.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby Tyrius » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:52 am

ThomasJ wrote:But the reason why it's a theory and not scientific fact is because we do not fully understand.


No, you're wrong. You're confusing the common usage of theory with the scientific usage of theory. The two are not equal. In common usage a theory can just be speculation about anything. A scientific theory is a set of principles or a framework that have been proven through observational experiments and then is used to predict new obserations. The scientific theory of gravity is used to predict that an object dropped from a height will fall at a given rate of acceleration until it impacts the ground or another object. A common usage theory is "if I drop this book I think it float away".

You're also not using the term scientific fact correctly. A scientific fact is an individual observation. It's a scientific fact that an object dropped from a height will fall. It's another fact that that object will fall at a given rate of acceleration. Adding all of these facts together gives one the set of principles or framework that is used to predict future observations, or a scientific theory.
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby DBTrek » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:53 am

Image

If ever a State needed one of these . . . it's Tennessee
:facepalm:
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Re: Tennessee re-evolution debate

Postby Waleis » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:56 am

We should teach the Stork Theory of human reproduction, alongside creationism, and alongside the Space Wizard Theory of gravity.
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