Creationism bill roundup

Concerning the recent creationism bill (“academic freedom act”) filed in the state senate:

The St. Pete Times education blog has the news release put out by Terry Kemple’s Community Issues Council. Check this opening paragraph out:

“The evolution ‘sacred cow’ must be submitted to scrutiny in American education,” said Terry Kemple. “Anyone in academia who strays from the ‘doctrine’ of marching lock step in support of the theory of evolution risks persecution and blackballing in their career.”

It also says, “Kemple, President of Community Issues Council, worked closely with the Senate sponsor to get the bill filed in the Florida Senate.” Yes, but who actually wrote this bill, Kemple? The Orlando Sentinel education blog knows what is up:

The bill is much like the sample one posted on the website of the Discovery Institute, which advocates for Intelligent Design. And it is controversial because many scientists (and their backers) say there are no other “scientific views” about evolution, only religion-in-disguise beliefs.

Interestingly, during the debate on the standards, Stemberger and other opponents of the new standards said they were not pushing for the teaching of “any other theory of the origin of life.” They said they want evolution taught but not as “dogma,” and in a way that allows “critical analysis” of it. Much of their agenda — and even some of their catch phrases — seems in lockstep with the the Discovery Institute.

See for yourself: Storms/Kemple bill here. Discovery Institute bill .

I spoke with a reporter this morning about this bill. I had three basic things to say, but it looks like the media is picking up on some of this nicely on their own.

1 — This academic freedom stuff is merely the next evolutionary step as anti-science folks continue their attempts to shove creationism into the public school classroom. First, there was blatant creationism. Next there was intelligent design. Both failed miserably. Now comes along academic freedom. Same smelly crap, different packaging.

2 — Simply put, there are no other scientific theories challenging evolution. None. Nil. Zero. Zip. So, what is the academic purpose of this bill then?

3 — This bill will fade away and die. Kinda like in Alabama. There were also threats of such a bill in Utah. And there was Oklahoma. And Maryland. Well, you get the point.

I’m not giving away any trade secrets here. These are just the ABCs of fighting the anti-science crowd.

16 Responses to “Creationism bill roundup”

  1. James F Says:

    It’s amazing how creationism evolves.

    At least they’re not pretending that they’ll be examining the strengths and weaknesses of other scientific theories, like electromagnetism and atomic theory; they’re going right for violating the Lemon Test.

    Thanks for posting this!

  2. S.Scott Says:

    I wonder how many of these people know that they are just being used as PAWNS to promote a movie.

  3. Rich A. Says:

    You dogmatically state: “Simply put, there are no other scientific theories challenging evolution. None. Nil. Zero. Zip. So, what is the academic purpose of this bill then?” That’s interesting in light of this article, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/print.html?path=HL0803/S00051.htm, which states in its first paragraph: “What it amounts to is a gathering of 16 biologists and philosophers of rock star stature – let’s call them “the Altenberg 16″ – who recognize that the theory of evolution which most practicing biologists accept and which is taught in classrooms today, is inadequate in explaining our existence.”

    None of these scientists fit the normal perjoratives of “creationists” or “IDiots.” It will be interesting to see how you deal with this huge chink in your worldview.

  4. PC-Bash Says:

    You are attributing evolution as explaining how life began, which is erroneous. Abiogenesis, not evolution, attempts to explain how life began.

    Evolution explains how life evolves.

  5. Pete Dunkelberg Says:

    Rich A, scientist are always challenging their own ideas in order to improve them. However, they are not challenging the fact that life evolved over a long time, and continues to evolve. By the way here is something on that article:
    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/03/will_there_be_mud_marijuana_an.php

  6. Rich A. Says:

    Thanks for that enlightenment PC-Bash and Pete. Actually the article does not deal with the origin of life. It deals with speciation and the lack of evidence for the current theory. I read Myers ad hominem assault on some of those participating in this conference at a very prestigious location. Of course, I really didn’t need to read it as it’s the same verbiage, just change the name of those being belittled for, horrors, questioning the reigning theory.

    Relative to speciation under the Neo-Darwinian “theory,” I refer you to Origination of Organismal Form, published by MIT press, which states in its first chapter (page 7) the Neo-Darwinism “has no theory of the generative.” I’ll await the ad hominem assault on the evolutionary developmental biologists authors of that book and assume no one will address the real issue quoted above.

  7. PC-Bash Says:

    It deals with speciation and the lack of evidence for the current theory.

    Are you telling me that you don’t believe in speciation? Are you aware that speciation has been proven in the lab?
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

    There is overwhelming evidence for evolution.

  8. PC-Bash Says:

    which states in its first chapter (page 7) the Neo-Darwinism “has no theory of the generative.” I’ll await the ad hominem assault on the evolutionary developmental biologists authors of that book and assume no one will address the real issue quoted above.

    Well, duh! Evolution does not deal with the origin of life. Let me repeat, since I have already said this to you twice: Evolution does not deal with the origin of life.

    Abiogenesis deals with the origin of life. You obviously aren’t aware of this, but abiogenesis and evolution are not the same thing.

  9. Rich A. Says:

    PC-Bash, you might try reading the book. Thanks for the enlightenment that Darwin’s Origin of Species and evolution (undefined) does not deal with the origin of life. I presumed that was the type of response I would receive. Let me give you a fuller quote. Please respond to the evidence without the normal ad hominem attacks on me or the authors: “Although this theory (neo-Darwinism) can account for the phenomena it concentrates on, namely, variation of traits in populations, it leaves aside a number of other aspects of evolution, such as the roles of developmental plasticity and epigenesis or of nonstandard mechanisms such as assimilation. Most important, it completely avoids the origination of phenotypic traits and of organismal form. In other words, neo-Darwinism has no theory of the generative.”

    Please also provide the particular speciation you are referring to in light of the following 2001 quote: “None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another…Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [e.g., bacterial] to eukaryotic [e.g., plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms. ”

    And please don’t bring up the “quote mining” canard. Neither of these quotes is out of context. Thanks.

  10. PC-Bash Says:

    Please also provide the particular speciation you are referring…

    I have already answered this question. Read the #*!@$ link! Not only does it define the scientific term species, but it provides reproducible steps to cause one species to split into another species. This creationist argument about “no evidence for speciation” is so old, it’s moldy.

    Let me give you a fuller quote.

    Just because evolution does not answer these questions does not make it an invalid theory. To make such a presumption is completely asinine. Does General Relativity explain the interaction of matter and anti-matter at the event horizon of a black hole, thus leading to Hawking Radiation and black hole “melting”? No. Does that mean that General Relativity is invalid? No. Does Chemistry fully explain the interaction of subatomic particles such as quarks? No. Does that mean that Chemistry is “imagination”? No.

    Evolution is a very simple statement, and has been proven true beyond any reasonable doubt. Your quote mine of this book does not discredit evolution, nor does it show any holes in evolution. Are there questions that evolution does not answer? Of course!. Please provide me with one scientific theory that does not answer all questions of a particular field. Just because you don’t understand the actual definition of evolution does not make the theory invalid, nor does it mean that there are “holes” in the theory.

    There is absolutely no evidence that makes the concept of an “intelligent designer” even remotely plausible. None. You have completely evaded my questions, I see.

  11. Rich A. Says:

    Testy. Testy PC! I read the link you referred to. Since you think that provides evidence of speciation your definition must be relative to microevolution, which of course is not the issue under discussion. (And please don’t bring up plant evolution. Stick to the point.) Are you then agreeing that evolution as you define it does not have an answer for how one species (which in itself has many definitions) evolved into another? Try to be less testy in this response please. Just be specific and avoid ad hominems.

  12. PC-Bash Says:

    Since you think that provides evidence of speciation your definition must be relative to microevolution, which of course is not the issue under discussion. And please don’t bring up plant evolution. Stick to the point.

    You originally claimed that there is no evidence for speciation. Period. You are moving the goalposts. It is you who isn’t sticking to the point.

    You are incorrect, because you are artificially making a distinction between micro- and macro- evolution. What, precisely, is your definition of macro-evolution?

    Are you then agreeing that evolution as you define it does not have an answer for how one species (which in itself has many definitions) evolved into another?

    Not at all. I’ll await your definition of macro-evolution before I dash your position to pieces.

    Try to be less testy in this response please.

    Well, then read what I give you, instead of moving to your next cut-and-paste talking point.

  13. Rich A. Says:

    This is getting no where. You ignored the OOF comments and what to play games as to what type of evolution we are talking about. Bye.

  14. PC-Bash Says:

    This is getting no where.

    Indeed, it is not. You want to adjust the goal posts, and you are trying to lead me into a creationist talking-point contradiction. Unfortunately, I have already seen these tired old arguments again and again. Cutting and pasting them aren’t going to work here.

  15. Frank Says:

    PC Bash, if you don’t even understand the difference between macro and micro evolution how can you hope to carry on an intelligent conversation?

    Look, it isn’t evolution that has been proven wrong. It is Darwin’s version of the mechanism, which in no way accounts for speciation, the origin of life, the first multi-cellular organism, gender differentiation, consciousness or the formation of organs or complex biological or microbiological systems. Moreover, Darwinism is flawed logic and terrible math.

    The goalposts are clear. They are just on the opposite side of the field from where you are kicking the ball.

  16. PC-Bash Says:

    Look, it isn’t evolution that has been proven wrong.

    Proven wrong… by whom, precisely? There are a bunch of crank papers out there, but no proof.

    It is Darwin’s version of the mechanism, which in no way accounts for speciation, the origin of life, the first multi-cellular organism, gender differentiation, consciousness or the formation of organs or complex biological or microbiological systems. Moreover, Darwinism is flawed logic and terrible math.

    Care to provide specific examples, or are you arguing from personal incredulity, as it sounds like you are?

    PC Bash, if you don’t even understand the difference between macro and micro evolution how can you hope to carry on an intelligent conversation?

    I’m waiting for a creationist definition here. I know the actual definition, but I also understand how creationists like to play with definitions. What is your definition of macroevolution, Frank?

    They are just on the opposite side of the field from where you are kicking the ball.

    Yes… your creationist goalposts are. But, I’m not arguing for creationism, Frank.