Re: Grand Canyon Tears America Apart

From: Keith Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu>
Date: Sun Jan 18 2004 - 22:38:21 EST

> There are a number of things wrong with this argument but I will note
> only one.
> Acceptance of the principle that "The gov't ought not take a stand for
> or against any
> particular position, no matter how solid the science behind it" would
> mean that those
> responsible for public (i.e., gov't) education would have no grounds
> for rejecting YEC &
> other aberrations from scienec curricula.

I would add that the government, from the national to the local level,
must make policy decisions that rely on consensus scientific
conclusions. Whether it is the Kyoto protocol, species preservation,
petroleum exploration, AIDS funding, or local zoning regulations,
governments must endorse particular scientific conclusions as the basis
for their actions.

Furthermore, as scientists there are some fundamental assumptions that
underlie our work: 1) there is an objective natural reality out there,
2) that the methodology of the scientific enterprise enables us to
learn about the dynamics and history of that natural reality, and 3)
that, while held provisionally, our understanding of the dynamics and
history of natural reality continues to improve with further study.
Through scientific investigation we are able to identify certain
understandings as currently vastly superior to others. I would argue
that it is incumbant upon government to set its policy on the best
current scientific conclusions, and to make those conclusions the focus
of publicly-funded education. This is not censorship - individuals and
groups are always free to hold and promote any position regardless of
its validity. But they should not expect the government to assist them
in that effort.

To give all ideas equal public standing is to essentially accept a
relativistic view of truth. But science is hardnosed in believing that
there really is objective reality that can be known, and that some
ideas about that reality simply are false. I do not want the
government to be supporting the dissemination of material that I know
to be factually false.

Keith

Keith B. Miller
Research Assistant Professor
Dept of Geology, Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-3201
785-532-2250
http://www-personal.ksu.edu/~kbmill/
Received on Sun Jan 18 22:40:49 2004

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