Re: [asa] ID vis a vis id

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>
Date: Thu Jun 04 2009 - 16:27:10 EDT

It appears to me that the teacher violated the church-state idea, and
therefore the 1st amendment, particularly in the text on page 17.


On 6/4/09, David Clounch <> wrote:
> I'll make comments about the handout separately. I just wanted to present
> the facts and evidence as best I could.
> The story behind the handout
> ==================
> This is the story of what the School of Environmental Studies in Apple
> Valley Minnesota did to one student and her family. We are not going to
> reveal any details pertaining to how this matter came to our attention. That
> is for courts and attorneys to learn during discovery.
> The student, who shall be called Jane Doe, was apparently an 11th grade
> student who comes from a Christian family. Its not that she didn't undertand
> the evolutionary theory presented in class, she just did not accept it. The
> teacher could not accept that Jane Doe did not accept the offical
> presentation. So the teacher decided to give out the following two page
> handout.
> It is not clear as to whether Jane Doe was the only student in the class to
> recieve the handout or whether the handout was given to the entire class. It
> is clear however that the handout was not deemed necessary (i.e., was not
> part of the regular curriculum) until Jane Doe said she just didn't believe
> the evolution unit. Thus the handout was a reaction by the teacher to Jane
> Doe's apparent unbelieving attitude.
> Upon receiving the handout Jane Doe was very unhappy. She took the handout
> home to share with her parents. The parents were shocked and angered. No
> other details shall be relayed about the Doe family. Obviously they did not
> keep this matter to themselves.
> Text from the handout (Page 14)
> ========================
> *Creationism versus Science*
> *Creationism: The Appeal to Authority*
> The creation science response to evidence from physics,
> geology,chemistry,biology, and the related sciences is still the one that
> biblical literalists were struggling to maintain in the nineteenth century.
> More Text (Page 15)
> =========================
> I believe that I fairly summarize their position as follows: "If there is
> any contradiction between a literal interpretation of the Bible and
> knowledge derived from scientific studies, the latter cannot be true because
> God's word was dictated verbatim to Moses and therefore cannot be false." A
> fundamental point in their quarrel with science is the biblically based
> position that the age of the Earth is about 6,000 years old - certainly no
> older than 10,000 years. Earth and everything on it was created in six days.
> Adam was created directly by God in his image and likeness; therefore humans
> can in no way have evolved from lower mammals. In addition, creation
> science, masquerading as science, rejects well established methods of
> seeking scientific truth through research, by which scientists develop
> hypotheses, theories, and models to explain the data.
> These assumptions by creation science are central issues for us because they
> relate not only to the validity of scientific studies, and especially those
> in the life, Earth, and astronomical sciences, but also to the understanding
> of God's through a sound and reverent application of critical method. The
> creation science position basically holds that all the most important truths
> are explicit in the Bible, and that many conclusions are or theories based
> on the results of scientific studies, such as evolution or the age of the
> universe and Earth, are illusory.
> Sincere people of earlier generations did the best they could with what they
> knew. Today, however, abundant resources are at hand, so that solidly
> founded science and religion can not only coexist peacefully, but they may
> mutually enrich the practitioners of each, should they so desire.
> Science, the Appeal to Evidence
> Although creation science proponents claim not to be opposed to science, it
> is clear that they reject the most important parts of the work that experts
> in the fields of science do, namely the devlopment of models and theories to
> explain data. Creation scientists either do not grasp or choose to ignore
> the nature theory, claiming that a widely accepted explanation of the data
> is by competent scientists is only a theory.
> Characteristically, creation science claims that "there is no scientific
> proof" for evolutionary theory, to which they are unalterably opposed. But
> no respectable scientist claims that the evidence for a particular theory of
> evolution is so compelling and complete that it should be regarded as
> "proven", meaning "completely understood," including its mechanism. Strictly
> speaking, a theory cannot be proven in the same sense that a mathematical
> theorem can be proven. Theories are erected on evidence. As studies proceed,
> the evidence increases, the theories are modified, and our understanding
> improves.
> By now experts have presented evidence for evolution that is so massive and
> cinvincing that the general validity of the theory is logically
> demonstrated. From Darwin to the present, the best available data at any
> given time have provided a basis for modifying specific theories of the
> evolutionary process. A given theory of evolution in 1890 must be very
> different from one in 1980 or 2080 because, on the
> More Text (page 16A)
> =======================
> basis of new evidence, our understanding of of the theory itself evolves.
> However, it is the nature of scientific investigation that the strong
> corroboration of a theory is secured by evidence. Overwhelming evidence for
> evolution and uniformitarianism has come from molecular biology, embryology,
> taxonomy, genetics, zoology, comparative anatomy, physiology, geology,
> stratigraphy, paleontology, paleoanthropology, physics, chemistry, and
> astronomy.
> The amount and variety of evidence tracing the persistent process of
> evolution throughout most of the Earth's history is so great that geologists
> generally accept evolution as "proven" -- "proof" being a logical deduction
> as to the cogency of the evidence: a theory so convincing that prudence
> dictates acceptance.
> One of the objectives of scientific investigation is to try to discover
> mechanisms; however, the demonstration of the logical validity of a theory
> is independent of the of the discovery of the mechanism. For example, plate
> tectonic theory in geology has now been generally accepted among geologists
> by the accumulation of massive amounts of evidence, although its mechanism
> is not yet fully understood.
> More Text (Page 16B)
> =======================
> Two Kinds of Knowledge
> [in the margin: "sci cannot explain religion & rel. cannot explain
> creation"]
> The Genesis narrative, therefore, and the conclusions of science as to the
> age and origin of the universe, of Earth, and of life, including human life,
> belong to two interactive but distinct apects of human understanding.
> Genesis should be interpreted as saying very little, if anything of
> relevance today about the age and mode of origin of Earth and living things.
> The story of creation is a prelude to the story of Adam and Eve's fall and
> the consequent human estrangement from God. As salvation history, its
> message is a religious one.
> More Text (Page 17)
> ===========================
> biblical scholarship and the distinct roles of scientific knowledge and
> religious faith. The Bible has a very special place in our culture, and even
> students from fundamentalists backgrounds are often pleasantly surprised and
> relieved to learn that there are sound methods of interpreting the Bible
> that in no way conflict with with science.
> A sound and critical analysis of Genesis makes it clear that the authors of
> that book had as their main objective to produce a history of Israel that
> provided a religious message and guidelines to an intimate relationship with
> the personal God who made a covenant with Israel. It is equally clear from
> other considerations that the role of science is to investigate the
> universe, including earth, and to understand how it came to be as it is.
> Religious people who believe that God is the creator of the universe and the
> author of those laws by which it operates should find no conflict between
> science and religion.
> [in the margin: an indecipherable note, and a bracket over the above
> paragraph with the word"summary"]

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Received on Thu Jun 4 16:27:45 2009

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