What Fresh Hell Is This?

February 12, 2013

Happy Darwin Day, Everybody!

Today, had he been blessed with Terah's longevity, Charles Darwin would have been 203 years old today.

But alas, he passed in 1882 - though given 3 more years than what's promised in Psalm 90:10.

In his honor, I'd like to turn your attention to a piece of legislation now sitting with the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee in the great state of Missouri.

The bill (HB 291), called the "Missouri Standard Science Act" and it:
...requires the equal treatment of science instruction regarding evolution and intelligent design.
Yea, it's 2013 and we're still talking about this.

From Mother Jones:
Late last month, Rick Brattin, a Republican state representative in Missouri, introduced a bill that would require that intelligent design and "destiny" get the same educational treatment and textbook space in Missouri schools as the theory of evolution. Brattin insists that his bill has nothing to do with religion—it's all in the name of science.
See that?  All in the name of science!

Here's what Republican Representative Rick is proposing.  First he defines evolution:
a theory of the origin of life and its ascent by naturalistic means. The first simple life was developed from basic elements and simple molecules through the mechanisms of random combinations, naturally occurring molecular structures, other naturalistic means, and millions of years. From the first simple life, all subsequent species developed through the mechanisms of random variation, mutation, natural selection, adaptation, segregation, other naturalistic means, and millions of years. The theory is illustrated by the evolutionary phylogenic tree. Theory philosophically demands only naturalistic causes and denies the operation of any intelligence, supernatural event, God or theistic figure in the initial or subsequent development of life
And then intelligent design:
a hypothesis that the complex form and function observed in biological structures are the result of intelligence and, by inference, that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on earth are the result of intelligence. Since the inception of each original species, genetic material has been lost, inherited, exchanged, mutated, and recombined to result in limited variation. Naturalistic mechanisms do not provide a means for making life from simple molecules or making sufficient new genetic material to cause ascent from microscopic organisms to large life forms. The hypothesis does not address the time or sequence of life's appearance on earth, time or formation of the fossil record, and time or method of species extinction. The hypothesis does not require the identity of intelligence responsible for earth's biology but requires any proposed identity of that intelligence to be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation.
He then sets the educational criteria:
Notwithstanding any other law, any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education in this state, including material concerning physics, chemistry, biology, health, physiology, genetics, astronomy, cosmology, geology, paleontology, anthropology, ecology, climatology, or other science topics, shall be standard science.
So what's "standard science"? Brattin gives us his definition:
...knowledge disclosed in a truthful and objective manner and the physical universe without any preconceived philosophical demands concerning origin or destiny. Knowledge is based upon verified empirical data obtained through observation and experimentation and serves as the factual basis for formulae, events, processes, principles, and laws and may be a component of theory, hypothesis, conjecture and extrapolation. Knowledge growth as a result of human endeavor serves as the foundation for the continuous reevaluation of theory, hypothesis, conjecture, and extrapolation to determine their correctness based on supporting or conflicting verified empirical data.
He then breaks down "Scientific law", "Scientific Theory" and "Hypothesis."
  • Law: a statement describing specific phenomena about the physical universe which has been verified by observation or experimentation and has no exceptions of verified empirical data. The statement may be described by formula
  • Theory: an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy. The inferred explanation may be proven, mostly proven, partially proven, unproven or false and may be based on data which is supportive, inconsistent, conflicting, incomplete, or inaccurate. The inferred explanation may be described as a scientific theoretical model
  • Hypothesis: a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular. One person may develop and propose a hypothesis
The problem with these criteria is that nothing can be expected to ever have "no exceptions of verified data."  Everything is "incompletely understood" because all empirical data is, by definition, limited.

So everything is a theory and thus:
If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught.
Because, you know, all "theories" are equally incomplete and so equally valid.

Feel free to peruse Kitzmiller v. Dover School District to understand why Intelligent Design is nothing but creationism - and therefore an unconstitutional intrusion of state-mandated religion into science.

Of course Rick Brattin is a Republican.  And of course most Republicans are creationists.

If we're a nation in decline, this has to be one of the reasons: the stubborn, faith-based resistance from reason that's taken hold of too many Americans.

Happy Darwin Day, everybody!

1 comment:

spork_incident said...

He then breaks down "Scientific law", "Scientific Theory" and "Hypothesis."

In other words, once again inventing definitions in order to advance an ideology.