Skip to comments.Creating an Evolutionary Bias
Posted on 05/05/2011 11:48:39 AM PDT by Academiadotorg
A pair of professors from Penn State found out that most high school teachers do not teach evolution as a proven scientific fact and the duo dont like it one bit. Creationism has lost every major U. S. federal court case for the past 40 years, and state curricular standards have improved, Michael D. Berkman and Eric Plutzer asserted in the January 28, 2011 issue of Science magazine. But considerable research suggests that supporters of evolution, scientific methods, and reason itself are losing battles in Americas classrooms.
Berkman and Plutzer based their conclusions on research drawn from the National Survey of High School Biology teachers sampling of 926 instructors. We estimate that 28% of all biology teachers consistently implement the major recommendations and conclusions of the National Research Council, Berkman and Plutzer wrote. They unabashedly introduce evidence that evolution has occurred and craft lesson plans so that evolution is a theme that unifies disparate topics in biology.
Berkman and Plutzer teach political science. What bothers them the most is a sizable number of teachers who expose their students to all positions. Their solution: forcing an evolutionary curriculum on teachers in training.
(Excerpt) Read more at academia.org ...
Gosh, next you'll be telling me some people don't believe in global warming. That's it for the scientific method and reason itself, you might as well just send all the science teachers home.
any court cases were lost on legal issues, not on evidence.......
The problem is with the basic laws of mathematics and probability, with which evolution is essentially incompatible. The (proportionally) biggest group of people not buying into evoloserism is mathematicians, and not Christians.
The best illustration of how stupid evolutionism really is involves trying to become some totally new animal with new organs, a new basic plan for existence, and new requirements for integration between both old and new organs.
Take flying birds for example; suppose you aren't one, and you want to become one. You'll need a baker's dozen highly specialized systems, including wings, flight feathers, a system for pivoting flight feathers so that they open on up strokes and close on down strokes, a specialized light bone structure, specialized flow-through lungs and a high efficiency heart, a specialized tail, specialized general balance parameters, a beak (since you won't have hands any more...) etc. etc. etc.
For starters, every one of these things would be antifunctional until the day on which the whole thing came together, so that the chances of evolving any of these things by any process resembling evolution (mutations plus selection) would amount to an infinitessimal, i.e. one divided by some gigantic number.
In probability theory, to compute the probability of two things happening at once, you multiply the probabilities together. That says that the likelihood of all these things ever happening at once (which is what you'd need), best case, is ten or twelve such infinitessimals multiplied together, i.e. a tenth or twelth-order infinitessimal. The whole history of the universe isn't long enough for that to happen once.
All of that was the best case. For the pieces of being a flying bird to evolve piecemeal would be much harder. In real life, natural selection could not plausibly select for hoped-for functionality, which is what would be required in order to evolve flight feathers on something which could not fly apriori. In real life, all you'd ever get would some sort of a random walk around some starting point, rather than the unidircetional march towards a future requirement which evolution requires.
And the real killer, i.e. the thing which simply kills evolutionism dead, is the following consideration: In real life, assuming you were to somehow miraculously evolve the first feature you'd need to become a flying bird, then by the time another 10,000 generations rolled around and you evolved the second such reature, the first, having been disfunctional/antifunctional all the while, would have DE-EVOLVED and either disappeared altogether or become vestigial.
Now, it would be miraculous if, given all the above, some new kind of complex creature with new organs and a new basic plan for life had ever evolved ONCE.
Evolutionism, however (the Theory of Evolution) requires that this has happened countless billions of times, i.e. an essentially infinite number of absolutely zero probability events.
And, if you were starting to think that nothing could possibly be any stupider than believing in evolution despite all of the above (i.e. that the basic stupidity of evolutionism starting from 1980 or thereabouts could not possibly be improved upon), think again. Because there is zero evidence in the fossil record to support any sort of a theory involving macroevolution, and because the original conceptions of evolution are flatly refuted by developments in population genetics since the 1950's, the latest incarnation of this theory, Steve Gould and Niles Eldredge's "Punctuated Equilibrium or punc-eek" attempts to claim that these wholesale violations of probabilistic laws all occurred so suddenly as to never leave evidence in the fossil record, and that they all occurred amongst tiny groups of animals living in "peripheral" areas. That says that some velocirapter who wanted to be a bird got together with fifty of his friends and said:
Guys, we need flight feathers, and wings, and specialized bones, hearts, lungs, and tails, and we need em NOW; not two years from now. Everybody ready, all together now:
You could devise a new religion by taking the single stupidest doctrine from each of the existing religions, and it would not be as stupid as THAT.
But it gets even stupider.
Again, the original Darwinian vision of gradualistic evolution is flatly refuted by the fossil record (Darwinian evolution demanded that the vast bulk of ALL fossils be intermediates) and by the findings of population genetics, particularly the Haldane dilemma and the impossible time requirements for spreading genetic changes through any sizeable herd of animals.
Consider what Gould and other punk-eekers are saying. Punc-eek amounts to a claim that all meaningful evolutionary change takes place in peripheral areas, amongst tiny groups of animals which develop some genetic advantage, and then move out and overwhelm, outcompete, and replace the larger herds. They are claiming that this eliminates the need to spread genetic change through any sizeable herd of animals and, at the same time, is why we never find intermediate fossils (since there are never enough of these CHANGELINGS to leave fossil evidence).
Obvious problems with punctuated equilibria include, minimally:
1. It is a pure pseudoscience seeking to explain and actually be proved by a lack of evidence rather than by evidence (all the missing intermediate fossils). Similarly, Cotton Mather claimed that the fact that nobody had ever seen or heard a witch was proof they were there (if you could SEE them, they wouldn't BE witches...) This kind of logic is less inhibiting than the logic they used to teach in American schools.
2. PE amounts to a claim that inbreeding is the most major source of genetic advancement in the world. Apparently Steve Gould never saw Deliverance...
3. PE requires these tiny peripheral groups to conquer vastly larger groups of animals millions if not billions of times, which is like requiring Custer to win at the little Big Horn every day, for millions of years.
4. PE requires an eternal victory of animals specifically adapted to localized and parochial conditions over animals which are globally adapted, which never happens in real life.
5. For any number of reasons, you need a minimal population of any animal to be viable. This is before the tiny group even gets started in overwhelming the vast herds. A number of American species such as the heath hen became non-viable when their numbers were reduced to a few thousand; at that point, any stroke of bad luck at all, a hard winter, a skewed sex ratio in one generation, a disease of some sort, and it's all over. The heath hen was fine as long as it was spread out over the East coast of the U.S. The point at which it got penned into one of these "peripheral" areas which Gould and Eldredge see as the salvation for evolutionism, it was all over.
The sort of things noted in items 3 and 5 are generally referred to as the "gambler's problem", in this case, the problem facing the tiny group of "peripheral" animals being similar to that facing a gambler trying to beat the house in blackjack or roulette; the house could lose many hands of cards or rolls of the dice without flinching, and the globally-adapted species spread out over a continent could withstand just about anything short of a continental-scale catastrophe without going extinct, while two or three bad rolls of the dice will bankrupt the gambler, and any combination of two or three strokes of bad luck will wipe out the "peripheral" species. Gould's basic method of handling this problem is to ignore it.
And there's one other thing which should be obvious to anybody attempting to read through Gould and Eldridge's BS:
They are claiming that at certain times, amongst tiny groups of animals living in peripheral areas, a "speciation event(TM)" happens, and THEN the rest of it takes place. In other words, they are saying:
ASSUMING that Abracadabra-Shazaam(TM) happens, then the rest of the business proceeds as we have described in our scholarly discourse above!
Again, Gould and Eldridge require that the Abracadabra-Shazaam(TM) happen not just once, but countless billions of times, i.e. at least once for every kind of complex creature which has ever walked the Earth. They do not specify whether this amounts to the same Abracadabra-Shazaam each time, or a different kind of Abracadabra-Shazaam for each creature.
Biology teachers should teach biology, and in that context, evolution through decent with modification is the coin of the realm. I don’t want astronomy teachers discussing a retrograde Mars in the Seventh House, professors of aeronautics proclaiming the airplanes are held aloft by angels, or biology teachers who are incapable of presenting the single most unifying concept in the biological sciences. What Berkman and Plutzer are calling for is some standard level of instruction that all biology teachers can adhere to, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. The state of biology education in the nation is abysmal, and weeding out would-be teachers who think that divine intervention is a reasonable response to the complex questions raised in a biology curriculum is a responsible and laudable goal.
Evolution is still a theory. period. It’s not a proven fact, there is still no real evidence that one animal became a different animal.
Courts do not establish scientific facts
They are complaining about the use of the term “Theory of Evolution”. Public schools are not teaching religion, if thats your point, unless its Islam.
The only problem with your argument is that micro-evolution fails to explain macro-evolution. Also many many discoveries since Darwin cause his theory to completely fall apart.
But I’ll give you/evolution the benefit of the doubt if you can please explain in simple terms the following:
Rings of Saturn
Thousands upon thousand of still missing transitional fossils (per Darwin’s own words).
How the unique information encoded in the DNA of each unique type of organism originated (DNA is roughly 3 billion quadrenary-coded statements so it should not be that tough - ehh?).
I could go on but that’s enough for now since some claim evolution has been proven...
A few problems with this statement. First, you have to be aware of the scientific meaning of "theory":
A theory is a broad explanation that synthesizes many different once-unrelated facts observations, facts, and findings to explain natural processes or phenomena. Theories are very well-supported by available evidence and very widely accepted by the scientific community.Evolution is such a theory, well supported by evidence and widely accepted by he scientific community. New discoveries have only strengthened the evidence, and no evidence has been found against the theory of evolution.
Second, you have to understand what the theory of evolution actually says - it does not say " one animal became a different animal". Good try.
If there were complete separation of school and state. If government were completely out of the education business, then you would find a private school that best fit your educational philosophy and others would look for schools that accommodated their worldview.
I find it interesting, though, that those who are missionaries for macro-evolution are usually the biggest defenders of compulsory government schooling and are hyper-controlling when it comes to school choice. They are the people most willing to use the threat of government police action (armed police stand behind every government school law) to force their worldview on others.
Re: The abysmal state of science education
If the state of science education is abysmal in the U.S. ( not just with biology) it is due to our almost criminal neglect of **mathematics**!!
As for macro- evolution:
My husband and I attended Catholic schools in the early 60’s. Macro-evolution was **never** discussed. On the college level, about 15 minutes of lecture time was devoted to the topic and not even one exam question was asked about it. On the graduate school level **NO** ( Zero!) time was given to macro-evolution in either my graduate school program or my husband's.
Gee! How was it possible for my husband to earn a Ph.D. in biochemistry, earn 6 patents for his inventions in his field, publish many articles in the leading journals, and lecture world wide? How was it possible for me to earn a doctorate in one of the most competitive health professions? Imagine that! ....All that with just 15 minutes of macro-evolution! /s
The **truth** is that the **only** people that have any serious need for macro-evolution are those very few ( a handful, really) who are in that specific field of science. So?....Since the need for the topic is so minimal even for those in the biology sciences and health professions, let parents choose a school that best fits their specific religious, political, and cultural worldview.
The **truth** is that the study of macro-evolution has PROFOUND religious, cultural, and political consequences that are NOT neutral! That is why the arguments over evolution are so bitter. If there were complete separation of school and state all the controversy over evolution would evaporate like dew on grass on a hot summer day.
One more thing:
I “believe” in macro-evolution. It does not conflict with my religious worldview and I gave some minimal time to the subject when homeschooling my children.
Sitting here laughing! Very cute!
The “demise of evolution” has been predicted for 150 years.
Like the “end of the world”, such demise predictions have not come true.
The assemblage of “evolution, scientific method, and reason” in the sentence was laughably blatant propaganda.
I agree with your post above. The failure of science education in the U.S. can be traced to the failure of math education, and to the anti-memorization ideology of the education establishment. There is so much to learn in any of the hard sciences simply to describe what exists and how it works, that claiming poor educational results are due to a failure of Darwinist zeal is simply absurd.
And for the record, I don’t “believe in evolution” in the sense relevant to the article, but I’m not going to have a cow over it. If it comes up in something my children are reading or watching, I’ll point out reasoning errors in the presentation, such as ascribing to personified Nature the very powers I ascribe to God, and then let them enjoy the animation or photography.
This is not a geology term, but a creationist term for what geologists call "upright fossils" or "in situ trees." The issue was explained as long ago as 1868. To simplify immensely - sometimes an event (volcano lava, flood, repetitive floods in a basin or marsh) will partially or totally bury a tree. In situ trees are clearly rooted in a particular strata. In some cases the top has rotted away, but certain conditions mean that the tree won't rot or only very slowly, and another layer or layers may be deposited in a flood plain before that can happen.
This one was dealt with years ago. Haldane himself said ""I am quite aware that my conclusions will probably need drastic revision." Since then, it was found he made inaccurate assumptions.
Rings of Saturn
Ok, now you lost me. The rings are geological feature of another planet, and I can't see what they have to do with biology on earth.
and no evidence has been found against the theory of evolution.
So proving a negative is now the way we do science? I guess it works for man-made global warming and man-caused disasters and man-caused everything
I posted the following on March 1:
A quick test for evolutionary religious zealots:
- How many DNA pairs are in the human genome?
- How many of those human DNA pairs differ from those of a chimp?
- How long would it take for a human to evolve from a chimp, assuming the necessary DNA mutations take place in exactly the right sequence, without any mistakes, and at the rate that is survivable.
Still not a single response!
Maybe you missed the first part of what you are quoting? The part that said "Evolution is such a theory, well supported by evidence..." [emphasis added]
A quick test for evolutionary religious zealots:
*** How much do they support compulsory government schooling?
*** Do they agree that behind every compulsory government schooling law stands armed police ready to enforce that law?
** Are they willing to use the threat of armed police action to impose their worldview on other people’s children by means of police threat?
** Do they accept that it is impossible to have a neutral education and that the teaching of evolution ( or not teaching it) has religious, cultural, and political consequences that are NOT neutral?
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