Texas science textbooks must really suck

From Slashdot | Mixed Outcome of Texas Textbook Vote

Re:not-so-good? (Score:4, Interesting)

by Garrett Fox (970174) on Monday March 30, @02:43AM (#27384985)
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It’d be great if a curriculum genuinely taught critical thinking and the scientific method, along with the reality check that real scientists have disputes, personal ambitions, and moments of stupidity. Unfortunately, this school decision and ones like it seem to be meant to single out evolution as “a theory in crisis.” In reality, even “proven” “laws” like gravity are the subject of ongoing study and debate.

If you’re looking at science only long enough to hear about evolution, you might get the mistaken impression that evolution is the only area where there’s still any uncertainty. It does kids little good to imply that there’s Solid Science and that evolution is on some lower tier of reliability. And even less good to write curriculum language like this, and then use it as an excuse to pick on the one theory that most directly contradicts your specific religious beliefs. Note from the Discovery Institute’s “Wedge Document” [wikipedia.org] that those guys are gunning for evolution specifically because it’s so central to the scientific, rational understanding of reality. Eliminate evolution as an accepted theory, and reality looks more like an incomprehensible chaos where reason is helpless and only mystical insight is trustworthy. Put out the brightest light, and there’s more darkness to sneak around in.

Re:not-so-good? (Score:5, Interesting)

by Alsee (515537) on Monday March 30, @08:52AM (#27386857)
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So, where do you suppose the “Earth as a solid surfaced planet covered with water” came from?

There is no scientific explanation for the origin of matter.

Notice that the field of science you are fundamentally attacking there is chemistry, not biology.

Most people accept God and science.
This anti-evolution nonsense is fundamentally anti-science. It’s impossible to “just” deny evolution and/or the age of the earth. Virtually every field of science from geology to chemistry to radioactivity to physics to genetics and on and on, it all ties in and they all confirm that the earth is billions of years old and that evolution is accurate. They “just” want to deny evolution, and oh by the way they have to deny carbon dating, and deny all radioactive dating, and oh by the way ALL of geology is completely wrong, and oh gee erosion is all wrong, and oh yeah lets toss chemistry on the trash heap too because chemical weathering and other slow chemistry doesn’t work either, and the global record of billions of years of meteor impacts, and the geomagnetic record, and hell all of astronomy is wrong too because there’s all sorts of 10,000+ year and 100,000+ year astronomical cycles recorded in the earth, just throw out Relativity and Quantum Mechanics when they too show a billions-year old earth and they confirm the sequence and timeline of biological evolution.

t’s really simple. The activists on one side is deceiving people with misinformation.

The National Academy of Science for virtually every major nation on earth has a public position statement affirming evolution and that there is indeed overwhelming evidence conclusively supporting it. Every national or international science body with a public statement on evolution says the same thing. Out of about a half million degreed biologists, 100% agree evolution is established by the evidence. If you want to go to decimal points, it’s 99.9%. Out of a half million biologists, there are about 700 denialists. 99.9% vs 0.1%. In absolutely any field, you can find at least 0.1% who are just plain crackpots.

Most people accept God and accept science.

This whole thing is just a replay of the Church-vs-Galileo fiasco. Some people decided they knew how God did things, and they had the dogmatic hubris to tell God how He was and was not permitted to run His universe. Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5, 1 Chronicles 16:30, and more all say “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved” and more, and in their presumption of self-perfection in religion and in their understanding of the Bible and their knowledge of God, they forbid God to have made a moving earth. They declared Galileo equal to atheism. They declared Darwin equal to atheism.

Psalm 19
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

The heavens and the earth uttereth speech and sheweth knowledge. All the earth is writ old, and all the evidence testifies to evolution. Galileo was right, the earth moves. Darwin was right, life evolved.

A spinning moving earth is the “how” for creating day and night and the seasons. The science of optics is the “how” for creating rainbows. And evolution is the how” for the diversity of life. God does not need to manually insert rainbows, He does not need to hand-craft each snowflake.

Re:not-so-good? (Score:5, Insightful)

by Walkingshark (711886) on Monday March 30, @01:31AM (#27384651)
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I agree but having a litmus test to see who is qualified to talk about what subject isn’t a good idea. While I think the evangelical movement is disturbing I don’t think their views should be silenced. It is by argumentation and refutation that the public’s understanding of scientific and philosophical matters is expanded.

This isn’t about discussion between rational adults. This is about what we teach children. Children will believe something if the teacher says it, to the point where if one of the other students attempts to correct the teacher when they are wrong, the other children will shout that person down. I’m sure many of you have seen or experienced this directly.

This is a primary vector that allows mythology memes like Christianity to survive: indoctrinating children.

The religious memes wish to use the school vectors that they see having such massive effectiveness to spread themselves. Of course, I’m anthromorphizing a bit, but please allow me some poetic license, the metaphor holds.

These conflicts are entirely about preventing the government from indoctrinating children with false beliefs while at the same time creating mental structures that make them resistant to being educated with actual facts and reality based thought constructs.

The fact that people feel the need to lie, repeatedly and often, shows that they know, deep down, that their mythology is not true. If they truly believed their supernatural being of choice was omnipotent and all knowing, they would not feel the need to lie to further the belief and worship of it.

But of course, the whole point of evangelism for most (if not all) of these people, and the whole point of public proclamations of faith, is to desperately prove to one self that one really, truly believes.

Of course, the sad part is that the only ones who really, truly believe are the mentally damaged and insane. The rest of them are all faking it, because they know that if they stop the people who are still faking it will shun them from the herd. The cycle continues until enough people loudly proclaim their disbelief. This is why athiests are considered enemy number one to all religions.

Maybe we’ll get lucky. Maybe athiests will finally reach critical mass and blow this mind cancer/meme virus out of the minds of humanity once and for all.

Looking at the sheer number of infected, though, I often doubt it.

Its sad. Humans could be something really special.

Re:not-so-good? (Score:4, Interesting)

by xaxa (988988) on Monday March 30, @06:44AM (#27386059)

I am happy for schools to teach creationism. But I want equal time given to the wiccan beliefs. And I want witches to oversee the wiccan corriculum.

I’d like to see a question like this on a religious studies exam:
“Compare the attitudes towards the creation of the universe and the origin of life from the point of view of followers of two major religions.”

I remember my religion teacher doing this when I was 15/16, and IMO it made a complete mockery of any “facts” religions claimed. Great, Judeo-Christians believe the world was made by their god etc, but I have a whole book of creation stories and some of them are much cooler.

I can’t remember if there were questions like that on my exam. The sample exams I can find online don’t seem to have questions like that, they’re a lot easier, like “Pick one from ‘Describe Christian attitudes to war’, ‘Describe Jewish attitudes to war'” etc.

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