Re: So. Baptist Spin on BOE Vote

From: Bill Payne (
Date: Mon Jun 04 2001 - 01:02:45 EDT

  • Next message: Dick Fischer: "Re: So. Baptist Spin on BOE Vote"

    On Fri, 25 May 2001 10:33:00 -0500 (Keith B Miller)

    > Science, or any other discipline, cannot be taught with integrity in
    such a
    > way that all persons set of beliefs are left [un?]challenged. What
    should be
    > taught is the best current understanding of the discipline - period. If
    > that current understanding is in conflict with an individual student's
    > personal beliefs, then it must be responded to with great sensitivity
    > respect. However, altering the content of the subject matter in order
    > accomodate such beliefs is not an option.

    IOW, if the student happens to believe something other than what you
    evolutionists believe about origins, the student should be prepared to
    resist the schools' effort to indoctrinate.
    > This is a very diverse and pluralistic culture in which a wide range of
    > beliefs exist. We simply cannot teach everyone's views of the world -
    > treat them as though they all have equal claim to acceptance by the
    > scientific community. To do so, counter to the claims of those who
    > advocate "teach everything and let the students decide," would strike
    > the heart of scientific education and critical thinking. We don't
    > flood geology or geocentricity or a steady state universe for good
    > These ideas have failed critical scientific test against the available
    > evidence.

    The evidence for coal being transported rather than in situ is glaringly
    obvious to those of us who are not committed to OEC. Yet all the
    textbooks teach that which is contrary to "the available evidence," so
    that there is no undermining of the lockstep march of uniformatarianism.
    I agree with you about geocentricity, and possibly the steady-state
    universe - although that one isn't empirically verifiable AFAIK.
    > The current scientific consensus exists for a reason - it cannot be
    > dismissed lightly. This, of course, does not mean that the current
    > consensus is completely correct. In fact, it most certainly will
    > Part of the responsibility of science teaching is to communicate that
    > science is a dynamic activity of inquiry in which ideas are constantly
    > being challenged and previous theories are rejected and modified.
    > is a process, a methodology, not a set of "facts" to memorize.

    The current scientific consensus is an iron collar choking free inquiry.
    Professionals in America get fired if they challenge the reigning
    paradigm. Ask me how I know.

    > That the standards are carefully written is undeniable. They were
    > by a large dedicated group of outstanding state educators over a period
    > more than two years. The document passed through numerous revisions,
    > had extensive public comment and input. A well-crafted and worded
    > is the result. (BTW: the document that was approved previously by the
    > critics of evolution had NO review, and NO public and professional
    > input.)

    If your "public input" is anything like that in Alabama, that's more
    eyewash. By your own admission, "What should be taught is the best
    current understanding of the discipline - period," and "altering the
    content of the subject matter in order to accomodate such beliefs is not
    an option." Other than telling teachers to treat children with respect,
    what exactly was altered by the "public input"? I would appreciate a
    list of items here.

    > The word "truth" is not in the document for a very good reason.
    > cannot every demonstrate that something is "true" in the sense of a
    > or mathematical proof. Some scientific theories are so well
    > and supported by such an overwhelming amount of evidence that they are
    > longer seriously questioned. An example is the vast size and age of
    > universe. But such theories cannot be demonstrated to be "true" in an
    > absolute sense.

    And furthermore, they may be false. If you cannot determine the age of
    wine created by Jesus, then why do you think you can determine the age of
    the universe, also created by Jesus?

    > Your issue is with the methodology of science, not with the standards.
    > This listserve has dealt with this issue extensively, as have I. You
    > read my essay in "Darwinism Defeated?" so you must know my position.
    > Science simply cannot test the action of a non-natural agent. The
    > exclusion of non-natural agency from "scientific" description does not
    > any way deny the reality of the supernatural or its possible action in
    > world.

    I would certainly say that the "methodology" of science is flawed. Using
    the "scientific" methodology your describe to investigate the
    resurrection, we would have to conclude that the disciples stole the body
    while the Roman guard was asleep; or that Jesus woke up, rolled the stone
    back, sneaked past the sleeping guards, and ran away. If your
    "scientific" methodology can't correctly describe a historic event, then
    why should anyone accept your methodology for prehistoric processes,
    which may have occurred millions of years ago?

    > Science is a limited way of knowing. It is scientism which tries
    > to make science the path to all truth. It seems to me that this is
    > precisely what some proponents of ID are doing. They demand that
    > be a search for ALL truth. It is not, nor can it be!

    Sorry, I don't follow what you are saying there. Why do you say that ID
    proponents "demand that science be a search for ALL truth"?

    > These examples all involve the action, or proposed action, of human
    > or alien intelligences which are modelled on human agents. Human
    > (and aliens if they exist) are "natural" agents. They are as much
    > agents as other organisms. As a paleontologist I look for the signs of
    > action of such agents (burrows, traces, boring patterns, etc) and
    > distinguish them from non-biological physical agents. This is all
    > the proper perview of science. However, a "non-natural" agent by
    > definition is not subject to natural laws and processes - it can do
    > anything. As such it has no predictive value. Science "has no use of
    > hypothesis" because it contributes nothing to a particularly
    > understanding of the universe.

    This is a non sequitur. You may be able to distinguish a worm borrow
    from some look-alike trace fossil, but are you able to predict the
    behavior of other humans? "Natural" intelligent agents "can do
    anything", and as such have no "predictive value." Yet we still search
    for them in murder, arson, and SETI. Intelligent agents are very much a
    part of scientific explanations, and to exclude one (supernatural) and
    not the other (natural - by your definition) is solely for the purpose of
    protecting the current paradigm and for indoctrination. You have offered
    no defensible logic for excluding intelligent design from the science
    curricula. Care to try again?

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