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Old 02-26-2013, 03:31 PM   #91
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Nobody around here is a bigger fan of science than me. And I am also a huge proponent of keeping God and/or religion out of classrooms. I'm also from Oklahoma, so I've been keeping up with this one. All that said, I actually read the bill. It has been discussed at length on a local forum. It doesn't exactly do what Mother Jones reported. Although it is certainly a stupid bill that may even serve no real purpose other than a political stunt.

In fact, there is explicit language that curriculum must be followed.

Essentially, (from how I and others read it, including at least one lawyer) what it does is it makes it illegal for a teacher to fail a student that ARGUES against Evolution or even Climate Change. And it intends to promote a healthy dialogue on skepticism, essentially. Which...for me, is not the worst thing in the world, even if I believe Evolution is 1,000% fact. Having students debating this openly might actually have the reverse effect that these morons want.

The bill also says that the skeptical arguments have to be grounded in science as well. So it's not exactly a "Jesus Horse" argument at all. Although dubious science for sure, this is essentially about Climate Change skeptics. So it's less about Evolution, from what I can see. It's more about Climate Change.

So anyway, if a student has a 20 question test and answers "I don't believe in Evolution" on 10 of them, they are gonna fail. Period. Whereas if they answered "I don't believe in Evolution" on 6 of them and still got the other 14 correct, it would be illegal to fail them just because of their stance on Evolution otherwise. They can certainly still fail them for not doing the proper work in the classroom.

So I suppose it is legal (in OK) to fail a student, as we speak, for simply arguing against Evolution or Climate Change, because I suppose it is at the teacher's discretion? That's the only way this bill serves any purpose. This bill would make that illegal but the student still has to use the science on the classwork if the student wants to pass.

So...that's the way I understand it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:58 PM   #92
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Nobody around here is a bigger fan of science than me.
A bold statement, sir... a bold statement.

though I suppose "I'm a bigger fan of science than anybody else" would mean something much different
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:03 PM   #93
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Nobody around here is a bigger fan of science than me. And I am also a huge proponent of keeping God and/or religion out of classrooms. I'm also from Oklahoma, so I've been keeping up with this one. All that said, I actually read the bill. It has been discussed at length on a local forum. It doesn't exactly do what Mother Jones reported. Although it is certainly a stupid bill that may even serve no real purpose other than a political stunt.

In fact, there is explicit language that curriculum must be followed.

Essentially, (from how I and others read it, including at least one lawyer) what it does is it makes it illegal for a teacher to fail a student that ARGUES against Evolution or even Climate Change. And it intends to promote a healthy dialogue on skepticism, essentially. Which...for me, is not the worst thing in the world, even if I believe Evolution is 1,000% fact. Having students debating this openly might actually have the reverse effect that these morons want.

The bill also says that the skeptical arguments have to be grounded in science as well. So it's not exactly a "Jesus Horse" argument at all. Although dubious science for sure, this is essentially about Climate Change skeptics. So it's less about Evolution, from what I can see. It's more about Climate Change.

So anyway, if a student has a 20 question test and answers "I don't believe in Evolution" on 10 of them, they are gonna fail. Period. Whereas if they answered "I don't believe in Evolution" on 6 of them and still got the other 14 correct, it would be illegal to fail them just because of their stance on Evolution otherwise. They can certainly still fail them for not doing the proper work in the classroom.

So I suppose it is legal (in OK) to fail a student, as we speak, for simply arguing against Evolution or Climate Change, because I suppose it is at the teacher's discretion? That's the only way this bill serves any purpose. This bill would make that illegal but the student still has to use the science on the classwork if the student wants to pass.

So...that's the way I understand it.
The fact that they're even trying to introduce this supposedly benign piece of legislature should be seen as more than a little suspect though. A healthy exchange in ideas already exists. It's the basis of modern science. I see this as a bit of a back door approach; something to fall back on when a student submits a paper on Intelligent Design (I hate myself a little bit more every time I use that term). "Oh, well it's based in science, you can't fail him". Actually, it's not science, but they'll fight nail and tooth to try and convince people that should know otherwise. It just seems to me like a first step; insert a seemingly innocent, though completely unneeded bit of legislation, and build upon that. Their wedge strategies are clearly documented
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:25 PM   #94
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I'm no scientist, but doesn't science generally tend to work in paradigms? Scientists will continue to argue for one paradigm until another comes along that better explains the evidence, or provides a simpler explanation. Thus, people believed the celestial bodies revolved around the earth until it was found that it was much simpler to say that the earth revolves around the sun. We to this day can't say that for a fact, but it is a more fitting explanation for what we have observed.

Evolution is such a paradigm. It is not fact, as we can't say for sure, but it does explain fossil records, radiocarbon dating, diversity and relationships, and microevolution we have observed at the population level. So until a better explanation for all that comes along, we can accept it as if it were fact. Those who reject evolution must be willing to provide reasons more compelling than evolution. But the bottom line is, evolution is not fact, but it sounds about right given what we've observed. We believe it to be true, just as others may believe in creationism, but we can back up these beliefs. If creationists can scientifically explain themselves better than evolutionists, then I'm okay with it being taught in science classes. Otherwise, it has no place next to the more scientifically sound explanation.
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Old 02-26-2013, 04:52 PM   #95
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The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. You can never say for certain that something is fact, I suppose... in the same way, you can't say for sure that we'll wake up tomorrow morning and gravity will take the day off. There's always room to probe deeper, but when heaps of new, previously unknown phenomena are discovered and those too fit into and prove the theory, we can say that evolution is as close to a fact as anything we know.
Otherwise, you're implying absolute fact doesn't exist and we're only ever creating new paradigms to differently describe the world. The shifts, as it were, are not just different; they are always better. Think of it more as the tweaking of a lens to bring a subject better into focus
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:03 PM   #96
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At the risk of sounding very, very ill-informed, a quick question for those who are more knowledgeable in scientific matters than I:

When people say there's an overwhelming mountain of evidence in favor of evolution, do they mean:

A) there's an overwhelming mountain of evidence to say that all life evolved from a single cell ;

or

B) there's an overwhelming mountain of evidence to say that all life has evolved to some extent?

Not sure if I'm communicating what I'm trying to ask sufficiently enough, but if anyone understands what I mean, thanks in advance!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:10 PM   #97
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Both, really. Despite the fact that something like less than a 10th of a percent of all living things ever become fossils (and then you still have to find them), there is still clear evidence in the geological record of life moving from simple bacteria to more complex forms. We know for the first 2 billion years, all there was living on Earth were bacteria.
And the evidence of the latter is so abundant and broad it might be more useful to answer specific questions.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:12 PM   #98
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Yeah, I know the second is undeniably proven, I was just unsure whether the first was. Learn something new every day. Thanks!
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:14 PM   #99
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I'd like to hear both atheists' and religious folk's answers to this, though:

If evolution, in the sense that all things evolved from a single, simple cell, is true, can your (a) god coexist with that?
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:15 PM   #100
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It blows my mind that for 2 billion years, life was happy to just be. Next to no progress, evolutionarily speaking; just existing.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:20 PM   #101
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JT, please stop being so angry.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:21 PM   #102
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I'd like to here both atheists' and religious folk's answers to this though:

If evolution, in the sense that all things evolved from a single simple cell, is true, can your (a) god coexist with that?
I'm more of an agnostic, so I'd say that, yes, a god could exist. But since the universe and all that's in it can exist without a one, it would be fairly pointless god. I don't believe the god of man's religions exists.
I like the idea that the quantum world is so strange to us, that maybe there is some possibility of something happening after death, but it seems very unlikely and I chalk that up to wishful thinking more than anything else. I more or less believe that we get one shot (which when you think about it, is fucking amazing! I mean, what are the chances of that?) and then the universe imposes it's vastness on us and we cease to be. It can be a scary thought, but all the more reason to enjoy life
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:21 PM   #103
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JT, please stop being so angry.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:24 PM   #104
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I'm beginning to think that when you used to crash virtual helicopters into the the virtual buildings I was hiding in, you did it because you were angry with me for living in a state that thinks everything in the Bible happened literally.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:31 PM   #105
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I actually read the bill.
A bold statement, sir... a bold statement
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