Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Evolution Revolution

 Evolution in Schools


This past week, I was on conservative talk show host Jason Moore’s radio show (aka “Captain Watchdog”) during which he had a call in guest from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  The Fordham Institute is an east coast think tank that recently graded the science curricula of all fifty states.  They gave Texas’ standards a “C”. 

Aside from the fact that only 4 states got an A or B, and 36 states got a C like us, this Fordham rep finally admitted to Jason and me that we got a C because we did not mention the word “evolution” often enough in our K through 8 standards.  Now mind you, we got a 5 out of 7 for rigor, so our standards are sufficiently high, but we got downgraded to a C because we had the audacity to allow Texas schoolchildren to look at evolution as a theory instead of an indisputable fact.  She also said that teaching any other theory on the origin of man, i.e., creationism or intelligent design, would have resulted in us getting a failing grade. 
       
 So, while I don’t dispute that evolution should be taught to Texas schoolchildren, which our science curriculum apparently adequately does, I believe it is a theory, and nothing more than a theory.  And if we want to turn out thinking, analytical Texas graduates, they should be allowed to view evolution in the light of the strengths and weaknesses it possesses.  I say, let’s teach scientific theories, including evolution, let them stand on their own merit, and let our students make their own well-reasoned decisions as to what they believe to be the truth.  

184 comments:

  1. Theory. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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  2. Dear Mr Rowley,

    Instead of passing along your one-sentence anecdote about what was said by some unnamed person on the radio, I believe you should respect the intelligence of your readers enough to point them to the 5-page report that the Fordham Institute actually published; it is very clear and easy to read. Here is the URL:

    http://www.edexcellencemedia.net/publications/2012/2012-State-of-State-Science-Standards/2012-State-Science-Standards-Texas.pdf

    In the report, the Institute provides a detailed justification for awarding their C grade to Texas science studies, and in fact the issue of the teaching of evolution in the K-8 curriculum plays a very small role in the report, which covers all aspects of science education across the K-12 curriculum. It is a gross distortion (to put it mildly) to suggest as you do that the sole reason for the C grade was because the word "evolution" was not mentioned enough to K-8 students.

    What the report actually says in regard to this one small point is that evolution is not mentioned *at all* in the standard middle school materials — even you agree that evolution ought to be taught, but how is that even possible if it isn't even mentioned? Moreover, the report goes on to praise the teaching of high school biology in the state: "[T]he high school biology course is exemplary in its choice and presentation of topics, including its thorough consideration of biological evolution." The concern of the report, then, is that the absence of any mention of evolution in the middle school curriculum will not adequately prepare high school students for this course if "given the insufficient foundations offered prior to high school." That is a reasonable concern, is it not? Yet you falsely characterize this report as part of some shadowy "evolution agenda".

    It is alarming that, as a candidate for a school board position, you seem more concerned about scoring ideological points than doing the bit of research required to present the public with an accurate presentation of the facts. Ironically, is this not precisely the sort of thing that characterizes someone more concerned with an agenda that with the truth?

    A final point: No responsible science teacher would ever present evolution (or the Big Bang, or Newtonian mechanics, or any scientific theory) as an "indisputable fact". It is one of the crowning glories of science that it treats all theories as falsifiable in light of further evidence and further discoveries and it freely casts aside old theories when newer, better theories come along. Indeed, anyone who has spent any time at all studying the theory of evolution knows that the theory itself has undergone many revisions over the years and is constantly being modified in light of new information and new hypotheses.

    Thank you for your attention.

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    1. As someone who graduated only a few short years ago, I'd like to point out a tiny flaw here.

      "A final point: No responsible science teacher would ever present evolution (or the Big Bang, or Newtonian mechanics, or any scientific theory) as an "indisputable fact". It is one of the crowning glories of science that it treats all theories as falsifiable in light of further evidence and further discoveries and it freely casts aside old theories when newer, better theories come along. Indeed, anyone who has spent any time at all studying the theory of evolution knows that the theory itself has undergone many revisions over the years and is constantly being modified in light of new information and new hypotheses."

      Well, I'm not from Texas, but the theory of Evolution extends to just about every science class in the first world, so I feel I am still qualified to share my point.
      You say here that "no responsible science teacher would ever present evolution...as an 'indisputable fact.' " Well, TECHNICALLY, my teachers from, say, grade 10 science, DID mention that evolution is a theory, but then just about every other teacher proceeded to talk about, refer to, and explain things in the context of, evolution. AS IF it were indisputable, and consequently, it was considered as such by many of my fellow classmates. Also, we were shown and taught only things that helped PROVE evolution, but never did they point out any missing links or things that evolution has yet to explain.
      Now, something that I think is NOT a good thing, is how, here in British Columbia where I live, it is illegal for teachers to talk about religion in the classroom. Hence, intelligent design isn't brought up ever in the classroom. The only time I can remember anything even remotely related was during the reading of Shakespeare, when, in grade 11, my teacher showed us the religious undertones and themes and references in the text to help us to better understand the meaning of the play or scene.

      So, all that to say that you are not exactly correct when you assume that no responsible teacher would present evolution as indisputable. Even if they don't SAY it's absolutely true, they are most likely implying it by never presenting another option (ie., intelligent design) or only talking about things in the context of evolution. It becomes quite the double standard, I find, and both "sides" are equally to blame. (Perhaps one side more or less so, depending where specifically you are.)And like I said, I am not from Texas or even the USA, but I can assume that if it's happening in every school here, it most likely happens there too.
      Anyway, I think both "sides" need to calm down considerably, and, as Mr. Rowley said, teach all theories and let the students make informed decisions.
      After all, an UNinformed decision isn't really a decision, is it?

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    2. April J wrote: <<<< ... then just about every other teacher proceeded to talk about, refer to, and explain things in the context of, evolution. AS IF it were indisputable, and consequently, it was considered as such by many of my fellow classmates. Also, we were shown and taught only things that helped PROVE evolution, but never did they point out any missing links or things that evolution has yet to explain.>>>>

      Scientists have yet to discover many of the details about gravity. Should we teach the knowledge gaps about the theory of gravity in such a way as to question the basic premises of the theory of gravity or should we teach them in a way the stokes the interest of students that will fill in the details in the future.

      There are many details about the theory of evolution that are unknown or being argued. However, less than 0.15 percent of earth scientists (less that two in a thousand) reject the basic premise of the theory. That miniscule percentage that disagree base their objections on faith (religion), can only point to gaps in the details (not the basic premise) and have never presented any evidence that falsified the theory despite attempting to do so for more than 150 years. Do you know of any scientific theory widely accepted by the scientific community for over 150 years that has been falsfied?

      As far as accepting the basic premise of the theory, did you bother to read the previous posts citing the statements of the National Academies?
      National Academies Statements
      http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
      The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. ...
      Many scientific theories are so well-established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory),...
      Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.
      >>>>
      http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11876
      Recent advances in science and medicine, along with an abundance of observations and experiments over the past 150 years, have reinforced evolution's role as the central organizing principle of modern biology, said the committee that wrote the book.
      >>>

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  3. Dear Unknown,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog, though I wish you had shared your name so I would know whom to address in my response. None the less, I appreciate your comments and your obvious interest and knowledge of this subject matter.

    I had read and studied the entire Fordham report before I participated in the radio interview, so I knew that Texas had received a comparatively good score. What surprised me was when the Fordham representative expressly mentioned that any treatment of evolution as anything other than established fact would result in a downgrade for our curriculum. That was what I expressed in my blog.

    And to restate my point – I believe we ought to let our teachers teach and our kids learn both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution as a scientific theory. That’s just makes good sense if we are wanting to turn out solid graduates who can think on their own. Sounds like we agree there.

    Again thanks for your response.
    Marty

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  4. Dear Marty,

    Thanks for the cordial reply and, yes, there is no doubt common ground between us. I think, frankly, the Fordham representative was not very good at representing! The authors of the report were clearly well-educated in science (they caught some very subtle errors and their criticisms were clear and extremely well expressed) — I cannot imagine any of them misunderstanding the nature of science so fundamentally as to characterize any scientific theory as "indisputable" in the sense that its falsity can't even be reasonably considered possible. That said, just because all theories are subject to revision and even falsification, it doesn't follow that every theory is as *good* as every other. It is theoretically possible that my belief in my wife's faithfulness is in fact false, but that belief is so well-confirmed by the evidence, that it would be grossly unreasonable of me to doubt it. Likewise, many of our theories, though disputable in principle, are so well-confirmed by the available evidence that it would be unreasonable not to take them to be, in the main, *true*. The Big Bang is a good example; and the theory of special relativity is so well-confirmed in so many ways that there is not a scientist alive who doubts it. Likewise, over 99% of biologists accept evolution in some form — including Christian biologists like Francis Colins, head of the NIH and head of the team that cracked the human genome, who find no conflict whatsoever in the idea that God used the mechanism of evolution to create the biological world. But now I guess we're getting into philosophical questions — which is part of the problem with treating creationism and intelligent design as *natural* science. They are perfectly respectable *religious* views. But the goal of *natural* science is to seek *natural* explanations — explanations from *within* the natural world — of the wonders around us. When we seek explanations from outside the natural order, we're not longer doing science, we engaged in philosophy and/or religion. That is why nearly all biologists think intelligent design, while a perfectly fine topic for philosophy and religion classes, does not belong in the biology classroom. It is not because of some atheistic, evolutionary "agenda" — it is because of a commitment to one of the most fundamental methodological principles of natural science. Please, if I've made any impression upon you, please stop impugning the good will of people who do not share your views with having an "agenda". It is really a disrespectful and divisive word; it is simply an easy way to dismiss people we disagree with. There is no hope for us if we can't acknowledge that other people can have very different views without impugning their character or ascribing to them devious intentions.

    Well, thanks again for the reply. I would recommend to you Francis Collins' book _The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief_ for an interesting Christian take on evolution. It's not my cup of tea (too "metaphysical") but it shows that one can have a devout, religious perspective on evolution without having to deny fundamental scientific methodology.

    Regards,

    -johnny

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  5. As one who has followed attempts by creationists for over 30 years to inject their religious beliefs into the public school system I am particularly disappointed by your dishonest and disingenuous use of weasel words to get around your goal of teaching creationism in public schools. If you think creationism should be taught in the science classroom then at least be honest enough to say so directly rather than dance around the issue with phrases like "only a theory." And, please, don't try to parse Biblical literalism, creationism, scientific creationism and intelligent design creationism. We're not fooled, we know what these permutations mean and how they came about and why.

    "Only a theory," indeed, betrays you total ignorance of what is a scientific theory. The relatedness of all life on the planet along with the observation that life has and continues to evolve is an observed fact supported by genetics, comparative anatomy, geology, chemistry and all other branches of science that have been brought to bear on this subject. The modern theory of evolution is a complex set of ideas substantiated and validated by direct observation, laboratory experimentation and mathematical models that explains in great detail how evolution works. All data, all experiments and all observations, and I mean ALL DATA ever, fit neatly into the modern theory of evolution. All of it. The modern theory of evolution is the most substantiated theory in all of science.

    Weaknesses, you say? What weaknesses? Creationists are fond of pointing to "gaps in the fossil record" as a weakness but so what? A gap is a lack of knowledge, not a weakness. Furthermore, the theory of evolution can be supported by genetic analysis alone. Forget the fossil record; it's not needed.

    If you think you can get the votes you need by appealing to religion and ignorance, knock your self out. Go for it! But do it honestly and if you really want to be honest, spend some time learning what science is really about. You may even find that there are more votes to be had by people looking to the future, rather than turning the clocks back to the Middle Ages.

    Respectfully yours,
    Dr. Bill Farrell
    Houston, Texas

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    1. Bill,
      As someone who has no stake in this whatsoever, (I live in Canada and have just stumbled upon this thread and am finding it very interesting), I think that it may be worth pointing out that evolution has yet to be perfectly proven, and because of that, I think that at least telling this fact (the fact that there are still questions in the theory of evolution) to students and presenting them with the idea of creationism is a good idea. An uninformed decision isn't really a decision, so unless they have been adequately informed on both sides, they are making a decision based on lopsided evidence - regardless of which "side" or "angle" it comes from.

      Also, you may find this article interesting:
      http://www.ucg.org/science/prove-evolution-false-even-without-bible/

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    2. Every question raised in the article (the link you posted) has been answered on the web site www.talkorigins.org. The conclusions expounded in the article have been disproved on the same web site.

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  6. Rowley wrote: I believe it is a theory, and nothing more than a theory.
    National Academies Statements
    http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
    The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. ...
    Many scientific theories are so well-established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory),...
    Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.
    >>>>
    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11876
    Recent advances in science and medicine, along with an abundance of observations and experiments over the past 150 years, have reinforced evolution's role as the central organizing principle of modern biology, said the committee that wrote the book.
    >>>
    Rowley wrote: She also said that teaching any other theory on the origin of man, i.e., creationism or intelligent design, would have resulted in us getting a failing grade.
    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=11876
    Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, opponents have repeatedly tried to introduce nonscientific views into public school science classes through the teaching of various forms of creationism or intelligent design. In 2005, a federal judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, concluded that the teaching of intelligent design is unconstitutional because it is based on religious conviction, not science (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District). NAS and IOM strongly maintain that only scientifically based explanations and evidence for the diversity of life should be included in public school science courses. "Teaching creationist ideas in science class confuses students about what constitutes science and what does not," the committee stated.
    >>>>
    Creationism and Intelligent Design are not scientific theories because predictions base on these concepts (if there are any) cannot be tested for validation or falsification. These are simply beliefs.
    Sincerely,
    Ed Silha

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  7. Marty, your assessment is quite wrong. Fordham said evolution was presented "straightforwardly" in high school, but indeed was not mentioned at all in middle school. However, the C grade was earned by the average, mediocre quality of the Texas science standards overall as fully explained in the Fordham literature. Fordham said "the organization of the standards is confusing," had a "tendency across nearly all disciplines to [use] vague statement," and contained "material that's well below grade level." It is simply incorrect to state that only the lack of evolution in K-8 science standards was the reason for the low grade. In particular, your statement that "Texas had received a comparatively good score" is simply nonsense, unless one is comparing a C to the F that Texas has received in the past. A C grade is not "comparatively good" but average. As one of the wealthiest, most populous, and resource-rich states, Texas should do better.

    Fordham did not say a thing about Texas earning a C because evolution was presented as "a theory instead of an indisputable fact"--that's simply Marty's fantasy and misunderstanding. As the first commenter said, Marty, you do not understand what a scientific theory is. Would you be surprised to learn that, in science, gravity is a theory, atoms are a theory, and genes are a theory, just as evolution is a theory? Scientific theories do not mean the same thing as theory in popular language, such as a guess, idea, suggestion, or conjecture. Scientific theories are accepted as factual and uncontroversial by scientists because they have been tested and corroborated by numerous, repeated observations and experiments. The Texas TEKS says this about theories: "know scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well-established and highly reliable explanations..." So, in Texas, evolution is a "well-established and highly reliable explanation." In other words, in Texas evolution is as true and factual as anything humans can know about the universe.

    Marty, you do a disservice to education to so willfully misunderstand and misrepresent the nature of science. Students will indeed make their own decisions as to what they believe to be the truth, but good educators and education leaders should encourage students to learn how science truly works so they will accept what scientists have concluded about natural processes. Students need to learn and accept (i.e., believe) accurate and reliable scientific information to truly understand the world and be successful in their education and livelihood. If you had ever spent a day in a school classroom, Marty, you would know this and wouldn't waste your time derogating evolution rather than trying to solve the many educational problems Texas faces. No number of staged photographs or shallow slogans will compensate for a real comprehension of education.

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  8. Tracy emailed us and asked us to post the following to our blog comment section. It is a lengthy post and will be broken into 2 comment posts.
    Comments from Tracy
    :::START:::

    Dear Marty,

    Thank you for expressing your opinion. One way or the other, it helps people to decide how they wish to vote.

    Although I was baptized in a conservative Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Church while in my 30s, I was raised in and continue to be a member of a Wesleyan mainline denomination church. Our church does not believe in the inerrancy of scripture---nor do I after considerable personal study on the subject over many years and through the influence of a Southern Baptist Minister friend who left the SBC to join the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In addition to this, I have worked as a professional scientist for most of my career and have taken both undergraduate and graduate courses in primate and human evolution. I also have an extensive educational background in geology and invertebrate paleontology. These were not courses where you sit in a classroom like people sit in a pew at church and unquestioningly absorb some person's biased "doctrine." We were required to "get down and dirty with the fossil remains" and examine the logic, temporal relationships,! and change over time in the morpological characteristics.

    It has been my experience that nearly everyone who rejects evolution has never taken a serious college or graduate-level course in physical anthropology, geology, or paleontology. They operate on the assumption that Genesis 1 is literal history, literal science, and inerrant literal truth; therefore, all the evolutionary science must be incorrect. In fact, I dare say that these same people are afraid to take these college level courses because they will be forced to confront truthful realities that do not mesh well with their faith notions.

    Here is what I have learned---or perhaps where I have landed---unless the whole physical world around us is a contrived "stage set" with false relationships specifically designed to deceive humans. Because God is not one who practices deception, if I read my Bible correctly, I doubt that is the case. Clearly, and even the young Earth creationists shy away from this, the geology makes it obvious that the universe and the Earth are many billions of years old---much older than a literal Garden of Eden that dates back 6,000 to 10,000 years. Animal and plant death were massive and widespread before humans ever showed up on the Earth. The fossil record, particularly with regard to human evolution, shows a long track of gradual evolutionary change towards modern humans. In short, unless God is in the willful deception business, Genesis 1 is not and cannot be factually true.

    Continue in next comment post…

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  9. :::Continue from Tracy’s Post:::

    I believe Genesis 1 and many of the other stories in the book of Genesis are fictional parables. As we know, Jesus was the great parable teacher, and it was his preferred method of teaching basic principles. If we embrace this in the four gospels, I do not see how we can forbid him to do it in Genesis. Some say that if the fall in Genesis never literally occurred, then there is nothing for Jesus to save us from---and his mission was hollow and futile. That is nonsense. Jesus himself tells us we are fallen, sinful, and in need of his salvation. His word alone is good enough for me. Unlike the local mountain hillbillies who live in my area, I and many other Christians do not need what they refer to as a "tight leedle seestum" to believe in Jesus. In fact, if you look at both the scripture and the science, it is pretty clear to me what Jesus came to save us from. He came to save us from the depraved animal excesses of the ancient common ancestor ape species that! begat fossil men, today's apes, humans. His perverse genes and protein-based tendencies still reside to some extent in each of us and cause us to do terrible things that we cannot easily help. The Apostle Paul called him "the old man," and he indeed is----a very old man. For now, we reside under grace for protection from him. When Jesus comes again, this old man will be purged from us for good as God himself conveys us to the next level of human evolution with a spiritual body that has no genetic remains of this ape common ancestor in it.

    I am opposed to your candidacy for the Texas SBOE and will be fighting to see that you are not elected. However, I applaud your interest in improving education in Texas and would hope that every Texan would be as interested as you and I are in improving education.

    Tracy

    :::END:::

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  10. :::Response to Tracy:::

    Dear Tracy,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and articulate response. It is apparent that you have studied intently for years and are obviously very intelligent. I too have spent many years examining the various approaches to Genesis 1, albeit more so from a theological perspective, while certainly not ignoring prevailing scientific thought.

    Where I have “landed” - as you use the term - is that Genesis is not a compilation of fictional parables, but rather a God- inspired account of what really happened when our Creator set about creating this magnificent world in which we live. Whether that approach can be reconciled with prevailing scientific theory is something I must wrestle with in the context of creating my own personal set of beliefs. In my study, however, I saw equally intellectual challenges with the theory of evolution, such as the original proposition that something came from nothing.

    Truth be told, intellectual people have disagreed on this issue for generations and I can respect your position, even if I personally arrived at a different conclusion.

    More relevant to our discussion, however, is that I want Texas schoolchildren to have the same opportunity that you and I have had to study and draw conclusions. While the current state of the law may not allow for that approach, and as an SBOE member I would respect that, in an ideal setting, I would like for students to be presented with the theory of evolution and the theory of intelligent design. I would hope they could examine the evidence for both and come to their own conclusions, just as you and I have done. And even though we might not have come to the same conclusions, we can certainly have a mutual respect for the study that we both have put into the subject, and can hopefully challenge the next generation to be critical thinkers as well.

    ~Marty

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  11. Marty, it is simply not true that Texas law does not allow Texas school children to study both sides of the origins question. There is no Texas law that forbids teaching Creationism outside the public schools. Students can study Creationism, including Intelligent Design Creationism, in their church and Sunday school and study evolution in public school biology class. Texas law affords them the opportunity to do both and then “come to their own conclusions.” No doubt, Marty, you would oppose a state mandate that evolution be taught alongside Creationism in church Sunday schools, as would I. But what you clearly desire is for Intelligent Design Creationism to be taught in public school biology classes alongside evolutionary biology, a situation that would be both illegal and a perversion of science education. I would object to your apparent willingness to use a position on the State Board of Education to advocate for such an unconstitutional and anti-science outcome.

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  12. Rowley wrote: In my study, however, I saw equally intellectual challenges with the theory of evolution, such as the original proposition that something came from nothing.

    Your assertion is either unclear or incorrect. The theory of evolution does no claim that something came from nothing. Life on Earth originated and then evolved from a universal common ancestor approximately 3.7 billion years ago. The theory of evolution does not address how life began.
    Abiogenesis (a separate theory) is the study of how biological life would arise from inorganic matter through natural processes. In particular, the term usually refers to the processes by which life on Earth is thought to have arisen.

    Rowley said: Truth be told, intellectual people have disagreed on this issue for generations …
    Those that claim there is controversy among scientists about the theory of evolution in an attempt to discredit the theory are disingenuous. Scientists may disagree about some of the details but overwhelming agree that the diversity of life is a result of evolution (http://www.people-press.org/2009/07/09/section-5-evolution-climate-change-and-other-issues/ - 97 percent of scientists accept this view). In my experience, people that have more knowledge about an issue are likely to have correct opinions on the issue. Note also (link above) that the more education people have, the more likely it is that they accept evolution (70% of college graduates versus 44% of those with HS or less).

    Rowley wrote: … I would like for students to be presented with the theory of evolution and the theory of intelligent design. I would hope they could examine the evidence for both …
    Again, let us be clear.
    A. Evolution is a scientific theory that is supported by vast amounts of observations and validated predictions.
    B. Intelligent Design is a belief based on religious tenets; there is no observed data (measurable quantities or qualities) to support the concept, and the concept provides no predictions that can be tested. Those who accept ID do so based only on faith (belief).

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  13. Marty wrote: In my study, however, I saw equally intellectual challenges with the theory of evolution, such as the original proposition that something came from nothing.

    Nonsense. Marty, I'm going to call BS on you. You haven't studied anything. You have no possible background in chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology or geology to make such a statement. I'm calling you out on this.

    Sorry, Marty, but you a 100 years behind in science. Something from nothing? You have no idea what "nothing" really is, otherwise you wouldn't make such an insipidly stupid statement.

    There is no reason to mince words. You are too undereducated and intellectually stunted to do any service other than a disservice to students in Texas. I really don't care about your opinion or your feelings or your beliefs. You are factually wrong. Wrong as in scientifically and demonstrably incorrect. Wrong.

    You want to worry about something, Marty? Well worry about manufacturing going to China. If you think that it's because of low wages then you are wrong, again, which seems to be your trend. No, it's because Chinese workers are more educated, more technical, more mathematically trained than our students. Thanks to you, that trend will continue. Wake up, Marty.

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  14. Bill,

    You're resorting to simplistic ad hominem attacks, and in a sense, arguing for the same type of close-minded stupidity that you are claiming to oppose.

    Questioning the scientific status quo is how scientific progress happens.

    How did something come from nothing? How did the inorganic become organic? These are questions that evolutionary cosmology has simply not sufficiently accounted for in any meaningful way. You really want to oppose the asking of those questions, and deny the search for better answers than we now have?

    You allow the "data" to interpret what you wanted to be true, and then called it fact. I'm afraid, you're view of the origins of the universe are every bit as faith-based as Marty's are. If you say otherwise, you lack intellectual integrity.

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    2. David R - evolutionary theory does not address how either the universe or life began. It does explain the processes that brought living organisms to where they are today.

      Criticizing evolutionary theory because it doesn't explain how the universe began, or how inorganic became organic, is like criticizing economics because it doesn't explain why grass is green.

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  15. David R,

    Please gather all your fellow creationists and learn what ad hominem means. I did not say that Marty was ignorant therefore his argument was wrong, a proper ad hominem. I said that Marty was ignorant and independent of that his argument was factually wrong. See the difference?

    Something from "nothing." Please look up Lawrence Krauss for a nice, general introduction. You would need several years of college and graduate physics and math to understand the details.

    Please look up the difference between inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. Your statement makes no sense.

    Evolutionary biology deals with the diversity and relatedness of life, not abiogenesis which is the origination of self-sustaining cyclic biochemical reactions which I guess is what you mean by "organic." Again, 50 years of detailed research is available for you if you want to dig into it.

    Your final paragraph is more wrong than insulting, although the wrong part is the most grievous failure of your education. Thank you, David, for being a poster child for why rational people in Texas are concerned about providing sound science education in Texas. Alas, our friend Marty seems bent on taking us down the road to ignorance and hopefully we can defeat him when the time comes.

    Good luck with your education, David, I'm not holding my breath.

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  16. David R wrote: Questioning the scientific status quo is how scientific progress happens.

    For a scientist that is a specialist in a field to question some detail of an existing theory is much different than a person (who seems to lack the basic knowledge to differentiate between the concepts of abiogenesis and evolution) questioning be basic validity of a scientific theory that has stood the test for 150 years with changes only to the details of the theory. Scientists do not question the basic validity of an entire scientific theory that has been tested and and validated for 150 years. I know of no case in with such a theory has been proven to be basically incorrect, do you?

    As Bill noted, neither you nor Rowley appear to have enough of a background in the science to recognize the difference between the concepts of abiogenesis and evolution.

    David R wrote: You allow the "data" to interpret what you wanted to be true, and then called it fact. I'm afraid, you're view of the origins of the universe are every bit as faith-based as Marty's are.

    Anyone with a basic understanding of the scientific method understands that scientists (specialists in a field) interpret data and construct a theory based on the observed data. The theory is then publishsed. Other scientists attempt to duplicate the results (replicate the observations) and determine whether their observations support the published theory, contradict it, or have a different explanation. Over time some theories (such as evolution) have been tested and validated so throughly that the basic theory is accepted as the best working assumption available. Scientists may still pursue evaluating the details of such a theory, but none waste their time challenging the basics of the theory because they have survived many challenges over time.

    Since the establishment of the scientific method (17th century), I know a no scientific theory (developed by this method and accepted by the vast majority of the science community) that has been shown to be basically incorrect.

    How do you justify supporting someone who claims a scientific theory is invalid when the theory is accepted by 97% of scientist and every major scientific body in the whole world (including the National Academies of all the developed nations)? Do you not feel that it is even more ludicrous that the person making the claim seems to be ignorant of the most basic facts in the specific field?

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  17. Mr. Rowley, I agree with you - let's teach scientific theories. Let's NOT teach unscientific theories such as creationism and intelligent design.

    Evolution may be "just" a theory to you, Mr. Rowley, but it's a scientific theory that has stood the rigors of scientific study and the test of time, which is way more than can be said about the current favored "alternatives" to evolutionary theory, which are nothing more than the Judeo-Christian Biblical creation myth.

    Mr. Rowley - if you consider creationism and intelligent design to be the intellectual equal of evolution, then you must also be in favor of teaching the Navajo creation myth, the Zulu creation myth, the Aztec creation myth, and all the others...

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  18. Marty,

    On the one hand, my hat is off to you for opening your blog up for comments - you had to know you were going to take some heat.

    On the other, and I hate to say it, willful ignorance is really unforgivable.

    There is a learning moment here that you are not apprising yourself of, and that's a tragedy. Even if at the end of the day you want to cling to a creationist mythology, there are some basic tenets that you need to pack into your mental toolbox.

    1. The word theory has two meanings: one is a the colloquial usage meaning guess or conjecture, and one is the scientific context which means a falsifiable framework that explains the observable data in the best possible way. If from this point forward you conflate those meanings, you are doing so willfully and to mislead. Aren't you glad you won't be making that (alas very common) mistake anymore? Learning is fun!

    2. Creationism/Intelligent design is not a theory in the scientific use of the word. A small example may help. What is the experiment someone could design that if the results came out positive, intelligent/design creationism could be safely discarded? That's right - there isn't one. It is not science for precisely that reason.

    3. Evolution is a fact. Things evolve, and we understand at a very deep level how that happens. The PROCESS by which descent with modification happens is described by the Theory of Evolution. I will go out on a twig and guess that you have spouted the famous canard that you believe in micro-evolution, but not macro-evolution (speciation). That is well-debunked nonsense, but I leave that exercise up to the reader (suggested reading below).

    4. Abiogenesis is the study of "life from non-life", i.e. how those first replicating cells got going. Evolution only deals with change over time in living organisms - it has nothing to say about abiogenesis, or the big bang theory (there's that pesky word again - remember the lesson above though!), or black hole formation, or a host of other topics.

    Up to this point, we'll forgive you for making some of these common errors when speaking on the subject. But I sincerely hope that you are a man of good character, and now that you are armed with a bit of knowledge about the terminology, you won't make some of the silly mistakes that internet trolls make when discussing this important topic. I'm not suggesting that I have pried a creation story out of your head, but at a minimum, you now know what the words mean.

    If I may be so bold, I would suggest beginning by reading Richard Dawkins' new book "The Magic of Reality". It is intended for middle-schoolers, but is an easy introduction to some of these topics for someone with little to no background in the science. After that, "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin is a very entertaining and non-polemic book that will knock your socks off.
    Enjoy!

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  19. The following comment was sent to our email and requested to be published on the blog.

    Dear Mr. Rowley,
    I tried to post this to your blog, but couldn't get it to accept for some reason. I hope this is helpful to you:

    The National Academies website referred to above by Ed_S defines evolution as simply "changes in the heritable traits of a population of organisms as successive generations replace one another." Well, if that is all that is meant by "evolution", then I'm an evolutionist, too! Obviously, there's more to evolution than this. Evolution has a big natural history component that has little to do with testable, repeatable science, and this is the cause of the creation/evolution controversy. I'm not against teaching the natural history component, it just needs to be taught in a different class, like a history or philosophy class. Here's a link to an blog post I wrote that might help you discern between natural history and testable, repeatable science: http://drshormann.com/2010/12/04/natural-history-is-not-science/

    Another worthwhile resource is The Mysterious Epigenome: http://www.amazon.com/Mysterious-Epigenome-What-Lies-Beyond/dp/0825441927

    Epigenetics is 21st Century science and something evolutionists seem more than happy to suppress discussion of. Epigenetics results in changes that may or may not be heritable, and if they are not heritable, that means a change occurred that is not defined by evolution! I would encourage you to get up to speed on epigenetics, proteomes, interactomes, and lateral gene transfer. Texas schoolchildren deserve biology curricula that read more like physics and chemistry, and less like something that's been dumbed-down by intellectual thugs in the evolutionism camp. I'll be praying for His will to be done with your campaign.
    Peace,
    David Shormann, PhD

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  20. http://drshormann.com/2010/12/04/natural-history-is-not-science/
    <<< ... have a huge problem believing the Earth is around 6,000 years old, even though both ages are based on written and physical evidence. One of the main reasons is that we confuse natural history with science. Real science has to do with observing God’s creation, asking questions and developing hypotheses, then performing experiments and analyzing and discussing the results. But wait, there’s more! Real science must verify the results, and this is IMPOSSIBLE to do when studying past events. >>>

    What a bunch of nonsense and assertions based on superstition while ignoring the overwhelming body of scientific facts that make the assertions seem to be taken out of some medieval superstitious material.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/natural+history
    <<< The study and description of living things and natural objects, especially their origins, evolution, and relationships to one another. Natural history includes the sciences of zoology, mineralogy, geology, and paleontology.>>>

    Seems that most people believe natural history is a science.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/natural-history
    By the end of the eighteenth century, experiment had a prominent place in natural history, matched only by ambitious and labor-intensive networks of communication that gave naturalists access to specimens from around the world.

    Yes, natural history uses the scientific method, observing facts, constructing a hypothesis, conducting experiments to verify or falsify the hypothesis. For example, the fact that sea shells can be used to date strata was based on the observation that the progression of species in different strata is the same all over the world. The only cases where the progression differs are in strata that have been shown to have experienced mixing or overturning.
    http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2011/07/board_of_ed_takes_its_cues_dir.php
    <<< Take, for example, an online lab activity where students compare hominid skulls. In identical language, the panel and Shormann note that, genetically, there's a 30-percent difference between humans and chimpanzees. The activity, they recommended, should thus be dropped. Between the lines, you'll find some of the classic bristling about "common ancestry" and insecurity about our place as God's special creatures.
    Here's the problem: They're flat-out wrong.
    Shormann misinterpreted a study in the journal Nature that found a 30 percent difference in "the makeup of the male-specific region of the Y chromosome." Overall, the genetic difference is less than one percent.>>>

    To read more about the nonsense that Shormann spouts see the following link -
    http://tfninsider.org/2011/07/21/creationists-target-publisher-in-texas-adoption/

    I don't know about "evolutionists" (I have never met one) but scientists understand the difference between genetic and epigenetic processes. The existence of the epigenetic processes does no disprove evolution based on genetic change.

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  21. Hi Ed,
    Yep, epigenetics doesn't disprove the fact that genetic change occurs. It doesn't do much to prove evolutionism, either.

    Regarding the monkey-to-man idea, I sure hope you don't still believe in "junk DNA", but if so, that will just tell me how behind the times you really are. For your reading pleasure, please consider: Jon Cohen, "Relative Differences: The Myth of 1%," Science, Vol. 316:1836 (June 29, 2007). That was published almost 5 years ago! Of course, even if it was 1%, that wouldn't prove common ancestry. But, if you want to believe you're a monkey's uncle, fine, just don't be dogmatic about it and demand that everyone else to believe your interpretation of history, too.

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  22. David Shormann is an aggressive and dogmatic Young Earth Creationist who makes his living writing math and science instructional materials for the home-schooled children of Fundamentalist Christian parents. He was appointed to the Biology supplemental instructional materials review panel last year by equally Young Earth Creationist and SBOE Chairman Barbara Cargill (who has endorsed Marty Rowley). For David's involvement in the Biology instructional materials controversy last year in which he was partially successful in his attempt to have changes made to materials in ways that damaged evolution content, see the heading "Texas Adoption of New Digital Supplemental Biology Instructional Materials is Still Fraught with Politicization" at http://texscience.org. It is really dispiriting that this sort of stuff still happens in Texas.

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  23. Hi Dr. Schafersman,
    Aww, come on now, this isn't dispiriting, it's fun! It's also funny, especially when secular fundamentalists try to turn this into a religious argument when real science doesn't match their beliefs about the past. This allows the public to see that the agenda of the liberal left is really not about promoting 21st Century science. I sure hope you don't still think the genome is one-dimensional, and that the human genome project answered all our questions about genetics, health, disease, etc? Times are changing, and it's time to put this creationism/evolutionism debate in a philosophy or religion class (at least in government schools anyways), and have biology textbooks read more like the chemistry and physics books read. Agreed?

    Thanks for listing my credentials and the free advertising! You're right, I believe God created the earth and all life, and He did it not so long ago, but I believe those things because I trust His word, not because I have some way to verify that with a science experiment. I understand that beliefs about past events are faith-based and outside the limits of the scientific method. And speaking of science, you forgot to mention that I was a co-author on a recently published paper about Texas Coastal Hypoxia. This research helped renew interest in Texas oceanographic research and served as a catalyst to bring in over $1M in funding for TAMU Oceanography. Please also include this information the next time you feel led to list my credentials ;)
    Cheers,
    David Shormann, PhD
    TAMU '96
    UT '89, '92

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  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  25. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Yep, epigenetics doesn't disprove the fact that genetic change occurs. It doesn't do much to prove evolutionism, either>>>>
    Actually it does when the epigenetic change occurs in germ cells.
    David Shormann wrote: <<< It's also funny, especially when secular fundamentalists try to turn this into a religious argument when real science doesn't match their beliefs about the past. >>>
    Calling those who believe differently than you names (“secular fundamentalist”) is a typical propaganda technique and as usual is a baseless and erroneous claim.
    http://www.pewforum.org/Science-and-Bioethics/Scientists-and-Belief.aspx
    33% of scientists believe in god and 18 percent believe in a universal spirit or higher power.
    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1399/religion-and-science
    87% of scientists accept evolution through natural processes.>>>
    It appears that most scientists that accept evolution also believe in god. Do you claim that a scientist that believe in god (including Evangelical Christians) are secular fundamentalists (DUH)?
    <<< RED HERRING ALERT >>>
    Dr. Schafersman wrote: <<< Times are changing, and it's time to put this creationism/evolutionism debate in a philosophy or religion class (at least in government schools anyways), and have biology textbooks read more like the chemistry and physics books read. Agreed?>>>>
    Creationism belongs in a philosophy or religion class (as stated by a US Federal judge). Evolution is the fundamental basis of the modern biological sciences. In 1973, evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky penned that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution", because it has brought to light the relations of what first seemed disjointed facts in natural history into a coherent explanatory body of knowledge that describes and predicts many observable facts about life on this planet. And more recently (reducing your credibility to zero) ---
    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1259/can-science-and-faith-be-reconciled
    Francis S. Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian
    <<< First of all, let me say the evidence for Darwin's theory of descent from a common ancestor by gradual change over long periods of time operated on by natural selection is absolutely overwhelming. It is not possible, I think, to look at that evidence accumulated, especially in the last few years on the basis of the study of DNA, and not come to the conclusion that Darwin was right -- right in ways that Darwin himself probably never could have imagined, not knowing about DNA, not knowing that we'd have a digital record of these events to study. ... Now looking at that, of course, that immediately suggests common ancestry for all three of these species -- not only suggests it, but, it seems to me, demands it because if you're going to try to argue that the human genome was somehow special, that God created us in a different way than these other organisms, you would also have to postulate that God intentionally put a defective gene in exactly the place where a common ancestry would say it should be. Does that sound like the action of a God of all truth? I could give other examples. But -- once you look at the details -- it is, I think, inescapable for somebody with an open mind to conclude that descent from a common ancestor is true and we're part of it. >>>>

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,
      Natural history is a mixed question, and requires inputs from other areas besides science. That is why it is called HISTORY, not science. A geologist that collects some rocks and analyzes each for elemental composition is acting like a scientist. When the same geologist speculates about historic events surrounding the rock's formation, he is now acting like a natural historian, not a scientist. In government schools, history should mainly be for history class, and science is for science class. Would you agree?

      If evolution means, as you say, genetic change, then fine, teach that in a government school science class, but make sure and include the fact that most genetic changes (mutations) are lethal. Take the highly speculative historic claims about evolutionism and put those in a philosophy, religion, or history class.

      I'm sorry you have to use a well-worn statement to support evolutionism with the goofy claim that, prior to 1973, nothing in biology made sense? Your one-dimensional understanding of DNA is equally outdated. And actually, Darwin thought cells were just little "bags of salts", and the more we learn, the more we see he was wrong in ways that he could have never imagined. So please, quit trying to turn this into an exclusively religious argument by speculating about how God may or may not have created things and using that as "proof" of evolutionism. Good grief! And besides, saying stuff like that just shows you're not that concerned about science, this is really a religious battle for you. Instead, I would encourage you to focus on what we can know by doing testable, repeatable science.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, '92

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    2. You did not answer my question.
      QUESTION:
      Do you claim that scientists who believe in god (including Evangelical Christian scientists) are secular fundamentalists as you claimed in your previous post?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Natural history is a mixed question, and requires inputs from other areas besides science. That is why it is called HISTORY, not science."

      Wikipedia definition: <<<< Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals.>>>>

      Your attempt to introduce confusion by creating your own unique definitions is another Red Herring. I prefer to rely on the definitions from the National Academies and encylopedias (all of which contradict you claims about evolution and the age of the earth).

      Your example of the geologist implies that we can only collect facts but not develop a theory that explains the facts. That is total nonsense. Scientific theories are not history.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< If evolution means, as you say, genetic change, then fine, teach that in a government school science class, but make sure and include the fact that most genetic changes (mutations) are lethal.>>>>

      That information is in every biology text I have ever consulted. Are you not aware that your request has already been satisfied?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Take the highly speculative historic claims about evolutionism ...>>>

      The claims are only speculative to those for whom the facts contradict their personal beliefs (which are not based on facts and logic).

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< goofy claim that, prior to 1973, nothing in biology made sense?>>>>

      That is not what the quote claimed. It appears that you deliberately misrepresent the quote. Theodosius Dobzhansky was simply stating the consensus of biologist that the theory of evolution unified the facts and concepts in field of biology.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Your one-dimensional understanding of DNA is equally outdated. >>>>
      I have made no statements about my knowledge of DNA. Your assertion is baseless.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< And actually, Darwin thought cells were just little "bags of salts", and the more we learn, the more we see he was wrong in ways that he could have never imagined. >>>

      It is clear that F. Collins (an Evangelical Christian) holds a much different opinion. Or do you claim he is a "secular fundamentalist"?

      http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1259/can-science-and-faith-be-reconciled
      Francis S. Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian
      <<< It is not possible, I think, to look at that evidence accumulated, especially in the last few years on the basis of the study of DNA, and not come to the conclusion that Darwin was right -- right in ways that Darwin himself probably never could have imagined, not knowing about DNA, not knowing that we'd have a digital record of these events to study >>>

      How would you answer F. Collins?
      Do you understand DNA better than he does?
      How would you answer 87% of scientists who accept evolution through natural processes, many of the Christians.

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    3. Hi Ed,
      Sorry I didn't answer your question, but you know, everyone's a little confused about what they believe, including you and me, so yeah, there are some Christians like Collins and Karl Giberson that act more like secular fundamentalists than Christians.

      When doing natural history research, you most certainly can develop a theory to INTERPRET the facts. And this is why it is helpful to have multiple working hypotheses going at the same time, working slowly and patiently to find the best interpretation of past events. Natural historians cannot verify their claims, but some theories interpret the facts better than others. For example, in secular geology, a lot of folks aren't satisfied with Plate Tectonics Theory, so some skeptics are starting to look at other things, like mantle plumes.

      Okay, now that I've answered all your questions about history and religion, let's discuss science. Your understanding of epigenetics seems a little weak, so permit me to enlighten you. Think of genetics as the ship, and epigenetics as the captain, steering and directing it where it needs to go. Another analogy is that of an orchestra (genetics), and a composer (epigenetics). Quite a beautiful combo they make, wouldn't you say? And a good thing for government school students to learn about too, don't you agree?
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, '92

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    4. David Shormann wrote: <<<< And this is why it is helpful to have multiple working hypotheses going at the same time, working slowly and patiently to find the best interpretation of past events.>>>

      There is a point where one theory becomes so much more useful in explaning the facts that other theories are discarded.
      http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
      <<<< However, scientists also use the term "fact" to refer to a scientific explanation that has been tested and confirmed so many times that there is no longer a compelling reason to keep testing it or looking for additional examples. In that respect, the past and continuing occurrence of evolution is a scientific fact. Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.>>>>
      http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/FAQ.html
      <<<< Acceptance of evolution is not the same as a religious belief. Scientists' confidence about the occurrence of evolution is based on an overwhelming amount of supporting evidence gathered from many aspects of the natural world. To be accepted, scientific knowledge has to withstand the scrutiny of testing, retesting, and experimentation. Evolution is accepted within the scientific community because the concept has withstood extensive testing by many thousands of scientists for more than a century. >>>>

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Natural historians cannot verify their claims, but some theories interpret the facts better than others. For example, in secular geology, a lot of folks aren't satisfied with Plate Tectonics Theory, so some skeptics are starting to look at other things, like mantle plumes. >>>>

      Any references for you assertion? The mantle plume hypothesis is not promoted as an alternative to plate tectonics and does not contradict the theory.

      Epigenetics is not a replacement for genetics but a refinement of genetic theory. A theory that has survived the intense and extended testing that is the normal means of building a scientific consensus to accept the theory is often refined or extended by the process (e.g., Einstein's relativity, a refinement to Newton's law of universal gravitation).

      Attempting to claim that epigenetics brings the theory of evolution into question is ludicrous.

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    5. Hi Ed,
      Attempting to claim that epigenetics brings the theory of evolution into question is only ludicrous if you are uninformed about epigenetics and other 21st Century cell science. I'm afraid you show your lack of understanding by saying nonsensical things like "epigenetics is not a replacement of genetics".

      The mantle plume hypothesis does contradict plate tectonics in many ways, but as far as I know, does not replace it. I never said it was a replacement, just that people are skeptical of Plate Tectonics Theory. Now seriously, do I need to have a reference for this? Why couldn't you look this up along with all the other links you keep posting? It seems like you can only handle one natural history theory at a time. Why is that? Have you lost your ability to be skeptical? If not, try "Plates vs. Plumes, A Geological Controversy" by Gillian R. Foulger.

      Epigenetics is just one of many things that bring the theory of evolution into question, and that should be okay with all real scientists. Science is not a means to an end, but a means to unlock mysteries and dive deeper and deeper into the natural world. Did you know some scientists are wondering if there are 3, not one genetic codes? Have you heard of the "C-nome?" Do you know what the central dogma of molecular biology is? Do you know there are things like pseudogenes, small RNA's, and regulating mRNA's that could not have obtained their genetic information from DNA via the central dogma? Maybe you don't know these things, but Texas schoolchildren sure need to know them, don't you agree?

      Evolution theory, like Plate Tectonics theory, doesn't explain everything, and we shouldn't expect them to. Goodness gracious, they aren't omniscient "gods" or something, they are ideas that imperfect men use to interpret nature and natural history, and sometimes they need to be replaced by better ideas. So what are some parts of evolutionary theory that you are skeptical of? If you want to keep discussing, then let's talk about science, and leave the history and religion arguments for another time.

      Delete
    6. David Shormann wrote: <<<< The mantle plume hypothesis does contradict plate tectonics in many ways, but as far as I know, does not replace it. I never said it was a replacement, just that people are skeptical of Plate Tectonics Theory. Now seriously, do I need to have a reference for this? >>>>

      You make a claim that many people are skeptical about Plate Tectonics Theory but provide not references. Is this a personal opinion based on faith rather than fact? Are the skeptics scientists or are they among the 18% of Americans that still believe the earth revolvs around the sun?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Why couldn't you look this up along with all the other links you keep posting? >>>>

      You made the claim so the burden of proof is yours.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< It seems like you can only handle one natural history theory at a time. Why is that? Have you lost your ability to be skeptical? >>>

      The use of ad hominem attacks (attacking the character of your opponent rather than his argument) is a typical propaganda technique and prohibited in rational or formal debates.

      This is a discussion about evolution, not geology. Your attempt to confuse the issue by interjecting other questions in the hope of raising doubts about other scientific theories is a distraction.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Epigenetics is just one of many things that bring the theory of evolution into question, and that should be okay with all real scientists. >>>>

      I have found no scientific papers supporting such an assertion. Is this another of your personal opinions based soley on faith? If no, please provide some references from reliable sources.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Have you heard of the "C-nome?">>>>

      Just another piece of propaganda manufactured by the Intelligent Design community to spread doubt about real science. Prove me wrong by providing a reference to a peer reviewed paper in a science journal.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... there are things like pseudogenes, small RNA's, and regulating mRNA's that could not have obtained their genetic information from DNA via the central dogma? Maybe you don't know these things, but Texas schoolchildren sure need to know them, don't you agree? >>>>

      These are college level concepts that require a significant foundation of knowledge to understand. Attempting to teach them at the elementary level would hamper learning, not improve it.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Evolution theory, like Plate Tectonics theory, doesn't explain everything, >>>>

      Another propaganda technique - "Poor us, we don't know everything so what we know is incomplete and cannot be believed." Total nonsense. You remember that this approach was used by the tobacco companies in an attempt to create doubt about the tobacco - cancer link.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< If you want to keep discussing, then let's talk about science, and leave the history and religion arguments for another time.>>>>

      I assume you mean science as defined by a consensus of the science community and the collection of papers published in peer reviewed journals. In the future, please provide references to support your claims as personal opinions are worthless in this type of discussion. If you meant the nonsense manufactured by the Intelligent Design community (which has been declared to be religion by the federal courts) that violates you request to discuss science, not religion.

      Delete
    7. Hi Ed,
      "Consensus" doesn't lead to truth, asking questions does.

      Here's a c-nome reference for you, and that's "c" as in "chromosome": http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7296/abs/nature08973.html

      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, '92

      Delete
    8. David Shormann wrote: <<<< "Consensus" doesn't lead to truth, asking questions does.
      Here's a c-nome reference for you, and that's "c" as in "chromosome": http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7296/abs/nature08973.html>>>>
      The title of the paper you reference is "A three-dimensional model of the yeast genome". As I am not subscribed to Nature, I only have access to the abstract which contains no hint of incompatibility with the theory of Evolution. It does not use the term "c-nome". The only place I found the term is a book titled "The Mysterious Epigenome: What Lies Beyond DNA" by Thomas Woodward and James Gills. Thomas E. Woodward is a research professor and department chair of the theology department at Trinity College of Florida/Dallas Theological Seminary (Tampa Bay Extension) and a prominent Christian apologist. He is hardly an expert on biology. He is just another Christian apologist attempting to defend Christian fundamentalist beliefs.
      There are no facts to support the idea of Intelligent Design. All the arguments for ID are that we don't know everything so evolution cannot be accepted and therefore ID must be. ID is not a scientific theory but a religious concept (as stated by the Federal Courts).
      I will not bother to list the facts supporting the Theory of Evolution becauses the supporting evidence is overwhelming as stated by Francis S. Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project and an evangelical Christian, and nearly all scientist, many of whom are Christians or men of faith.
      Although your opinions have support among the general public (mostly those associated with fundamentalist religions), they are in conflict with the opinions of nearly all scientists and accepted scientific theories. Science and religion are incompatible only when people cannot accept science facts that contradict their religious beliefs. There is no conflict between the theory of Evolution and many religious organizations because those organizations (e.g., the Catholic Church) accept scientific facts and do not consider the Bible to be a science book.

      Delete
    9. Hi Ed,
      Court rulings can be overturned......
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    10. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Attempting to claim that epigenetics brings the theory of evolution into question is only ludicrous if you are uninformed about epigenetics and other 21st Century cell science.>>>>

      You appear to be big on claims but absent with respect to supporting them. Can you explain how epigenetics contradicts the theory of evolution and provide references from reliable sources that support your explanation?

      If you cannot, I must assume you claim is baseless.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< I'm afraid you show your lack of understanding by saying nonsensical things like "epigenetics is not a replacement of genetics". >>>>

      Epigenetics does not contradict existing genetic theory. It expands it which my statement indicates. Please explain why you feel my statement was nonsensical.

      As far as the case being overturned, do not hold your breath. The ID people choose not to appeal and agreed to pay the plaintiffs lawyers $1, 000,000.00. A million dollars seems like a lot of motive to appeal if they believed they could win. They apparently believe they had lost. The “they” included the creators of the ID nonsense and those who they duped into accepting it with the result that it cost the school district a million dollars. That money does not come out of the pockets of the perpetrators but the tax payers and students in the school districe.

      Delete
  26. Hi David,

    On your website you say there is evidence for the age of the Earth being around 6000 years old.

    What is that evidence?

    Thanks,
    Doc Bill

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bill,
      We all have the same historical evidence, the differences come in the interpretations of it.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  27. Nice non-answer, David.

    Once again, on your website you say there is evidence for the age of the Earth being around 6000 years old.

    What is that evidence?

    Should be an easy answer since you have a PhD in geology.

    What is that evidence? I await.

    Doc Bill

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bill,
      No non-answers here, sorry! It's not a very good question, kind-of like me asking you what evidence is there for the earth not being 6,000 years old. There's evidence for both a young and old earth.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    2. David, that's what I asked you specifically. What is the evidence for a young earth? And as a bonus question why 6,000 years? Why not 60,000 or 600,000 years, both of which are young relative to 4.6 billion years.

      With a PhD in geology you should be able to rattle a couple of facts off the top of your head.

      Thanks.

      Delete
    3. Okay, Braum's law, Einstein's metrics, and dN/dt = -kN, and my PhD is in aquatic ecology, emphasizing biogeochemistry. Still wondering why you're so concerned about my historical beliefs, this blog post by Mr. Rowley addresses scientific theories.
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    4. I'm not interested in your beliefs one iota. The issue is that you stated that you have evidence that the earth is 6000 years old.

      What is the evidence? Bonus question: Why 6000 years and not 60,000 or 600,000?

      Sorry, dN/dt, radioactive decay doesn't help your case at all!
      Braum's Law - pray tell what is that? Einstein metrics? What do you have a word-salad generator?

      Delete
    5. Hi Bill,
      Yes, you are interested in my beliefs about history, and in fact, that's all you seem to care about. Neither one of us can verify our beliefs about how old the earth is, what we believe is a matter of faith. As Ed mentioned in another post, it is total nonsense to say "Gee, we do not know everything about this so we cannot believe it." I totally agree with that. I don't have a 100% complete body of evidence to support my belief in a young Earth and Universe, and you have more than a few unconformities and other things that you don't have answers for in your old-earth beliefs.

      Setting the history argument aside, let's talk about 21st Century Science. No scientific theory is perfect, including evolutionary theory. What about it are you skeptical of? What questions does it not answer?

      Delete
    6. I'm not interested in your belief about the age of the earth. I'm interested in what evidence you have to support your conclusion that the earth is 6,000 years old as you state on your website. Evidence is not an opinion. I didn't ask for 100% complete body of evidence, whatever that means. I asked you for the evidence you said you have.

      If you don't have any evidence then say so! It is documented that your 6,000 year old earth estimate came from Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher in 1648. It is a broad estimate, to say the least, based on no primary sources whatsoever. Your belief is based on what Ussher estimated and nothing more.

      You can't point to any evidence of a young earth simply because there isn't any. You mentioned "Braum's law" earlier. I confess my ignorance about that. What is it and how does it support your point?

      The subject at hand here is unresolved. What is your evidence for a young earth? What observation leads you to that conclusion?

      If the earth is 6,000 years old as you say, then you should be able to take any feature on the planet and explain it in terms of 6,000 years: ice cores in Greenland, Williston Basin, paleomagnetic orientation in seafloor cores, formation of marble, geodes, genetic and morphological phylogenetic homology, limestone cave formation; in short, everything.

      Delete
  28. David Shormann wrote: <<<>>>

    There are numerous examples of a science/religion conflict in which science was proven correct and the religious position was proven incorrect (e.g., geocentric universe, imaginary numbers are evil, age of the earth). Can you identify any scientific theory that was widely accepted by scientists but opposed by some church in which the basic idea of the theory was invalid?.

    As for the age of the earth, the Religious Tolerance web site has numerous pages of young earth claims along with rebuttals that show the claims to be nonsense.

    There are some geologists (0.15 %) who are young earth believers (base on religious beliefs) but the remaining 99.85% dismiss the idea of a young earth as ludicrous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here's a few more references about the c-nome:


      Thomas Cremer & Marion Cremer, Chromosome Territories, Cold Spring
      Harbor Perspectives in Biology 2 (2010): a003889. Freely accessible
      at http://cshperspectives.cshlp.org/content/2/3/a003889.full.pdf+html

      Emanuela V. Volpi, Edith Chevret, Tania Jones, Radost Vatcheva, Jill
      Williamson, Stephan Beck, R. Duncan Campbell, Michelle Goldsworthy, Stephen H. Powis, Jiannis Ragoussis, John Trowsdale & Denise Sheer, Large-scale chromatin organization of the major histocompatibility complex and other regions of human chromosome chromosome 6 and its response to interferon in interphase nuclei, Journal of Cell Science 113 (2000): 1565­1576. Freely
      accessible at http://jcs.biologists.org/cgi/reprint/113/9/1565

      Li-Feng Zhang, Khanh D. Huynh & Jeannie T. Lee, Perinucleolar
      targeting of the inactive X during S phase: evidence for a role in the maintenance of silencing, Cell 129 (2007): 693­706.

      Christian Lanctôt, Thierry Cheutin, Marion Cremer, Giacomo Cavalli &
      Thomas Cremer, Dynamic genome architecture in the nuclear space: regulation of gene expression in three dimensions, Nature Reviews Genetics 8 (2007):104­115.

      Boris Joffe, Heinrich Leonhardt & Irina Solovei, Differentiation and
      large scale spatial organization of the genome, Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 20 (2010): 562­569.

      M. R. Hübner & D. L. Spector, Chromatin dynamics, Annual Review of
      Biophysics 39 (2010): 471­489.

      Hideki Tanizawa, Osamu Iwasaki, Atsunari Tanaka, Joseph R. Capizzi,
      Priyankara Wickramasinghe, Mihee Lee, Zhiyan Fu & Ken-ichi Noma, Mapping of long-range associations throughout the fission yeast genome reveals global genome organization linked to transcriptional regulation, Nucleic Acids Research 38 (2010): 8164­8177. Freely accessible at
      http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/content/38/22/8164.long

      Luis A. Parada, Philip G. McQueen & Tom Misteli, Tissue-specific
      spatial organization of genomes,² Genome Biology 5:7 (2004): R44. Freely accessible (2011) at
      http://genomebiology.com/content/pdf/gb-2004-5-7-r44.pdf

      Tom Sexton, Heiko Schober, Peter Fraser & Susan M. Gasser, Gene
      regulation through nuclear organization, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 14 (2007): 1049­1055.

      Delete
    2. Hi Ed,
      I see you're back to history and religion arguments, why is that? This blog post by Mr. Rowley states that he wants to promote teaching scientific theories, and I mentioned earlier that is what I want to discuss. Stephen Hawking defines a scientific theory as something that accurately describes a large class of observations, and makes definite predictions about the results of future observations. I like that definition! But evolution's predictive power about the future is zero, even Jerry Coyne attests to that in his book, Why Evolution is True.

      Evolution theory should be able to describe a large class of observations, based on their genetic mutations, because these mutations are the "engines" that drive evolution. Changes in the A's, T's, C's and G's are supposed to explain why a populations's offspring differ from their parents, but as scientists are learning more and more, genetic mutations aren't explaining "a large class of observation", and this is causing scientists to say things like "So far, no useful theoretical framework exists to help scientists conceptualize the genome and the genes as a developmental system. Dr. Lamm hopes to provide it." In other words, current evolutionary theory does not explain as large a class of observations as some may think. You can read more about this just about anywhere science news is reported. The above quote is from Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213133453.htm

      And no, the new things scientists are uncovering are not, as you foolishly stated "college level concepts that require a significant foundation of knowledge to understand." That is a rude, disrespectful thing to say about Texas' public school teachers' and their students. Their job is to teach, and that means take a complex subject and present it in a way that is easy to understand. I already gave you an analogy of how to compare genetics and epigenetics that a toddler could understand. K-12 students don't need to know everything about the new 21st Century science that contradicts evolutionary theory, but they can know some things. And speaking of the new science, here's some more references about the c-nome:



      Stephen M. Stack, David B. Brown & William C. Dewey, Visualization of interphase chromosomes, Journal of Cell Science 26 (1977): 281­299.

      Jenny A. Croft, Joanna M. Bridger, Shelagh Boyle, Paul Perry, Peter
      Teague & Wendy A. Bickmore, Differences in the Localization and Morphology of Chromosomes in the Human Nucleus, Journal of Cell Biology 145 (1999):1119­1131. Freely accessible at
      http://jcb.rupress.org/content/145/6/1119.full.pdf+html

      Heiner Albiez, Marion Cremer, Cinzia Tiberi, Lorella Vecchio, Lothar
      Schermelleh, Sandra Dittrich, Katrin Küpper, Boris Joffe, Tobias Thormeyer,Johann von Hase, Siwei Yang, Karl Rohr, Heinrich Leonhardt, Irina Solovei,Christoph Cremer, Stanislav Fakan & Thomas Cremer, Chromatin domains and the interchromatin compartment form structurally defined and functionally interacting nuclear networks, Chromosome Research 14 (2006): 707­733.

      Delete
    3. And here's 3 more references about the c-nome:

      Monya Baker, Genomes in Three Dimensions, Nature 470 (10 Feb. 2011).

      Erik Splinter and Wouter de Laat, The complex transcription regulatory landscape of our genome: control in three dimensions, The EMBO Journal 30 (2011).

      Kuljeet Singh Sandhu, Guoliang Li, Wing-Kin Sung, and Yijun Ruan, Chromatin Interaction Networks and Higher Order Architectures of Eukaryotic Genomes, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 112(2011).

      Delete
    4. David Shormann wrote: <<<< And here's a few more references about the c-nome: ... >>>

      You post references to articles about the "c-nome" (which appears to be a creationist term as I have not found it in any science papers). However, you simply claim that the papers raise questions about the theory of evolution but do not cite any claims in the papers that support your assertion. Do you assume we should accept your claims based on faith alone?

      The only references I have found that refer to the c-nome as a reason to doubt the theory of evolution are non-science papers written by creationists. Although many scientists still question details of the theory of evolution, I have found none that question the basic theory. Can you identify peer reviewed papers and the particular words in the papers used by the authors that clearly question the basic theory?

      If you cannot I must assume that you are using the references as a red herring. I have found nothing in those references that support your assertions.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<<
      But evolution's predictive power about the future is zero, even Jerry Coyne attests to that in his book, Why Evolution is True.>>>>

      Again a claim without proof. If you believe your assertion is true, please quote the passages in context so we can evaluate your claim. Otherwise, I will assume this is another red herring. See the following references for examples of the predictive power of the theory.
      1. Stanton Braude: The Predictive Power of Evolutionary Biology and the Discovery of Eusociality in the Naked Mole Rat
      2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_fact_and_theory#Predictive_power

      David Shormann wrote: <<<<
      Evolution theory should be able to describe a large class of observations,...">>>

      Another red herrings. None of your references support your claim that epigenetic processes raise questions about the foundations of the theory of evolution. The research does add details and provides a greater understanding of how genes function and their effects are modifed during the development and life of an organism.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120213133453.htm
      <<<< Lamm calls mechanisms that are involved in genomic changes "genomic epigenetic mechanisms" (GEMs) and highlights their importance for understanding the evolution of both genomes and organisms.>>>>

      It appears that Dr. Lamm fully accepts the foundations of the theory of evolution and continues to work on the details.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< K-12 students don't need to know everything about the new 21st Century science that contradicts evolutionary theory, but they can know some things. >>>>

      So far you have not cited any science the brings into question the foundations of the theory of evolution. You make claims but provide no reference to support the claims. The references you list do not support your claims. You uses the same propaganda technique that the tobacco industry used to raise doubts about links between its products and cancer. "Gee, we do not know everything about this so we cannot believe it." That is total nonsense.

      Delete
    5. Hi Ed,
      Sorry, but the references I list do support my claims. Denying this won't make them go away. And, you're right, it is total nonsense to say "Gee, we do not know everything about this so we cannot believe it." Glad I never said that!

      The Copernicans believed in the "bigness of stars", because they thought God could make big stars, in spite of what the instruments of their day revealed to them, and the objections of fellow scientists like Tycho Brahe et al. There was a time when the Copernicans were the minority, but it turns out, they were right!


      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    6. Hi Ed,
      You may be partly right about this "There are some geologists (0.15 %) who are young earth believers (base on religious beliefs) but the remaining 99.85% dismiss the idea of a young earth as ludicrous.", but what you forgot to mention is that the thinking portion of the 99.85% are skeptical, and don't just dismiss the idea of a young earth as ludicrous. You know, there was a time when it was thought that J. Harlen Bretz's ideas about rapid carving of the Channeled Scablands were ludicrous, but his interpretations made sense. His opposition was from dogmatic uniformitarians who wanted to silence anything that might hint at rapid formation, because then that might support the Scriptural account of a global cataclysm, heaven forbid!

      Now, virtually all geologists accept catastrophism. The important thing to understand with this though is that, just because "virtually all" geologists now accept catastrophism, that doesn't mean it's true. We can't verify exactly how the Channeled Scablands formed. There were no eyewitness accounts. The catastrophic interpretation seems to make more sense to most people though, but it is interesting that, for a time, most geologists refused to "believe" it, because they put their faith in "uniformitarianism alone", but as any reasonable natural historian would tell you today, the present is not always the key to the past. And this is why there is a creation/evolution battle. It's not really about forward-thinking science, it's a battle over beliefs about history, and battles like that are fine, just not in a government school science class. Would you agree?
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    7. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Sorry, but the references I list do support my claims. >>>>

      You state this as a fact.
      Is it a fact or your personal opinion?
      Does an overwhelming majority of earth scientists support your claim or does it disagree?

      Delete
    8. You have made many claims and expressed opinions but provided not proof to support either your claims or your opinions.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Sorry, but the references I list do support my claims.>>>>

      Am I supposed to take your statement on faith? You quoted no passages from the references to support your claim. You did not list any scientists that interpret the references as you do.

      Can you provide evidence to support your claim that these references raise questions about the foundations of evolution or do they question only the details and accept the the theory?

      Delete
    9. David Shormann wrote: <<<< You may be partly right about this "There are some geologists (0.15 %) who are young earth believers (base on religious beliefs) but the remaining 99.85% dismiss the idea of a young earth as ludicrous.", but what you forgot to mention is that the thinking portion of the 99.85% are skeptical, and don't just dismiss the idea of a young earth as ludicrous. >>>>

      Another ambiguous claim without evidence to support or interpret it. How big a percentage is the "thinking portion" of geologists do not dismiss a young earth?

      Are non-thinking geologists those with whom you disagree?

      The reference I quoted was not ambiguous about the claim I posted:

      http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/6219/are-only-700-out-of-480-000-life-scientists-creationists

      <<<< Of the scientists and engineers in the United States, only about 5% are creationists, according to a 1991 Gallup poll (Robinson 1995, Witham 1997). However, this number includes those working in fields not related to life origins (such as computer scientists, mechanical engineers, etc.). Taking into account only those working in the relevant fields of earth and life sciences, there are about 480,000 scientists, but only about 700 believe in "creation-science" or consider it a valid theory (Robinson 1995). This means that less than 0.15 percent of relevant scientists believe in creationism. And that is just in the United States, which has more creationists than any other industrialized country. In other countries, the number of relevant scientists who accept creationism drops to less than one tenth of 1 percent.>>>>

      When making extraordinary claims, a person must provide extraordinary and overwhelming evidence of high quality. Yet you provide no credible evidence to support your extrordinary claims.

      Are you up to answering my questions in this and my previous post?

      Delete
  29. As a Young Earth Creationist (YEC), it goes without saying that Dr. David Shormann doesn't understand science. For example, in a comment he tried to deceive readers into believing that historical geologists and paleontologists who study Earth's past rocks and life are not really scientists but rather "natural historians." This is a common YEC claim and is just bunk. I was actually compelled to write a blog column in 2008 to refute this ridiculous smear: . Scientific investigation of past Earth events is just as testible and repeatable as experiments and observations of modern events. So don't let him fool you.

    He writes equally absurd things about plate tectonics, such as "a lot of folks aren't satisfied with Plate Tectonics Theory, so some skeptics are starting to look at other things, like mantle plumes." This is nonsense. YECs hate plate tectonics because it easily explains things that they want to explain by Noah's Flood and because it operates slowly over tens of millions of years, not in 6,000 years. So those "folks who aren't satisfied with Plate Tectonics Theory" are truthfully David's YEC colleagues. They have written plenty of YEC papers against the theory which is completely accepted by all geologists today. There are no scientific "skeptics" of plate tectonics as David wrongly claims. Mantle plumes have been known as long as plate tectonics and plume theory is not a substitute or replacement for plate tectonic theory as he implies. David obviously has no understanding about the geologic issues since he apparently believes, as his remarks indicate, that plume theory somehow "does contradict plate tectonics in many ways." No it doesn't; the two theories are independent, and that was the problem. Mantle plumes are poorly explained by traditional plume theory and plate tectonics is today being used to explain them, although difficulties persist. Gillian Foulger's book is precisely about this controversial process to replace one scientific theory with a better one. Again, David is misrepresenting issues and grasping at straws to use examples that, in his mind, contradict or refute scientific theories he disagrees with, in this case plate tectonics rather than evolution.

    Next, David claims epigenetics "is just one of many things that bring the theory of evolution into question." False: epigenetics casts no doubt on the occurrence of evolution. It is just another process that affects inheritance and evolution. Again, this is a common Creationist claim since they try to use every subtle, complex, or poorly understood biological process to create doubt and confusion in the minds of non-biologists about evolutionary biology. This duplicitous effort is just shameful.

    I have just given readers of this blog three examples of how dangerous well-educated Young Earth Creationists are when they write for the public. They know just enough about real science to create doubt and confusion in the minds of ordinary citizens about legitimate, factual, and fully-accepted scientific theories that they want to discredit, in this case plate tectonics as well as evolution. Readers need someone like me to explain why you are potentially being duped by him. David's goal is to corrupt science education in the United States by misleading and confusing students about what real science teaches us about a few topics that religious extremists consider controversial and untrue (because, in their minds, they violate Biblical teachings). The antidote to "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" is to gain more knowledge and really strive to understand the issues. Those that do end up accepting modern science and abandoning their Sunday School-taught Creationist beliefs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steve,
      And so what exactly is the goal of modern science? From your words it sounds like the goal is to study history.

      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  30. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Sorry, but the references I list do support my claims. >>>>

    I have asked you repeatedly for quotations of the referenced papers that support your claim and your answer is "believe me they do" but offer no proof to support your assertion. We are supposed to accept your assertion on faith? Ridiculous!

    David Shormann wrote: <<<< There was a time when the Copernicans were the minority, but it turns out, they were right!>>>>

    Yes! The church had to cease its opposition and acknowledge the real science. The opposition was based on religious belief and it lost the argument as has happened over and over again.

    David Shormann wrote: <<<< And so what exactly is the goal of modern science? From your words it sounds like the goal is to study history.

    Your insistence on referring to the earth sciences as history is simply a ploy to mislead the public.
    Dictionary.com:
    History
    <<<< the record of past events and times, especially in connection with the human race.>>>>
    Natural History
    <<<< the sciences, as botany, mineralogy, or zoology, dealing with the study of all objects in nature: used especially in reference to the beginnings of these sciences in former times.>>>>

    So scientists contradict your assertions and dictionaries contradict your attempt to confuse the public by twisting the meaning of words. Seems your world continues to shrink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,
      Actually, there was a conflict among Christians over the correct philosophy of nature. Should it be Aristotle's "quality" or Galileo's "quantity?". There was no battle of "science versus religion", as the unenlightened like to say. Darwinism has brought us full circle back to "quality" as millions of years evolutionism has no math, just a make believe "time and chance".

      Aristotle's "quality" was not completely incorrect though, and did lead to many truths about nature. Francis Bacon's complaint about Aristotle was that it was overemphasized in universities of his day, and he even quit college at Cambridge because the teaching was so dogmatic towards Aristotle. There is a lesson there that would serve you well to contemplate.

      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    2. Still no evidence to backup your assertions. So I must assume you have none and your assertions are opinion based on faith (a belief not supported by evidence).

      Your last post is nothing more than a diversion to draw attention away from the fact that you cannot provide evidence to support your claims and are ignorant of the difference between history and natural history (or maybe you understand the difference but attempt to blur it because natural history contradicts your claims).

      Delete
    3. Hi Ed,
      I've given you plenty of evidence, you just choose to ignore it. And I still don't know what the big deal is to y'all about history. I apply the same constraints to myself and other creationists when discerning between real science research that can be tested and verified, and natural history research, which requires a time machine, crystal ball, or special palm-reading skills to verify. I'm not expecting anything from other natural history researchers than I would of myself.

      Natural history research most certainly is not the same thing as verifiable scientific research, and that's why there is a debate in the first place, because the claims made by either side are impossible to verify. There is no science vs. religion debate, but there is a debate over interpretations of historic events, and in government schools, that debate needs to be moved to a non-science course. Maybe someday you will understand this.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  31. David Shormann wrote: <<<< I've given you plenty of evidence, you just choose to ignore it.>>>>

    Not true. I found no statements in the references you listed that contain language that could be construed as questioning the foundations of the theory of evolution. I asked you repeatedly to post material from any of those references that explicitly question the theory and you have failed to do so because there are none in the references.

    You simply repeat your baseless claims hoping that by repeating them enough times they will become believeable.

    David Shormann wrote: <<<< And I still don't know what the big deal is to y'all about history. ... Natural history research most certainly is not the same thing as verifiable scientific research,
    >>>>

    Can you provide any references from credible sources that support your opinion about the natural sciences?
    I have posted references to web pages containing descriptions of the natural history sciences with examples of verified predictions, showing them to be true sciences). You did not object to my references nor did you contradict them even though they contradict your claims. Again, you make claims based on your personal opinion that are baseless.

    Your ploy would not stand up in a court nor in the science community.

    Don't you feel it is a bit arrogant to claim you know the truth and (depending on the topic) 87 to 99.85 percent of scientists world wide are wrong? No realty check?

    ReplyDelete
  32. David! I thought you went away since you haven't addressed my simple enquiry above.

    Once again you have stated that there is physical evidence that the earth is 6,000 years old. What is it? Can it be tested and verified?

    There's more! Lake Tanganyika is a inland, freshwater lake in Africa. I believe your specialty, limnology, studies such lakes. Lake T. is estimated by other limnologists and geologists to be between 9 - 12 million years old. How do you address that as a professional limnologist?

    And finally, I read your paper on Texas Coastal Hypoxia Linked to Brazos River Discharge and you conclude that your model is on trend even though you are missing data for the entire decade of the 1990's. How could you conclude that your model was valid without that data, or did you use a time machine, crystal ball or special palm-reading skills?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bill,
      The validity of a hypoxia model can be confirmed by comparing it to data collected over the next decade. No crystal ball is necessary, just patience.

      As a professional limnologist, I wouldn't waste much time worrying how old or young Lake T is, I would be more interested in water quality and what to do to insure future generations of human beings can get the most benefit from the lake without causing pollution problems. Interpretations of lake age might be an interesting natural history endeavor though.

      You see Bill, and Ed, and Dr. Schafersman, the problem y'all have is one of worldview, and it causes you to be almost incapable of focusing on the future. You are very good at focusing on the past and naval-gazing about your ancestry, and you know how to drum up some creationism hysteria in the here and now. You have made this abundantly clear with your multiple blog posts about natural history and "warnings" about creationists. But, just like evolutionary theory, you have no vision of the future, only a dogmatic view of the past and present. You must not realize what you're doing, but it is obvious to me and a lot of other people. Most people, and most families with schoolchildren, don't want leaders who have no vision of the future and who say nothing about how to advance science and learning. It's almost as if the future is too scary for y'all, so you ignore it.

      Your blog posts have added nothing to boost confidence in your positions, but they've done quite a bit to show people that a conservative Christian leader that wants children to think for themselves is the best candidate for the job.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    2. Dr. Shormann,

      Bravo! I have been following this whole blog comment thread and finally you hit the nail on the head. There are people who spend all their time arguing and trying to prove scientific theories and hypothesis about the origin of our earth and mankind, yet after thousands of years they have no definite outcome. Meanwhile others are focusing on the future and how to improve the quality of life for the next generations and they are the ones under fire from people who only live in the past.

      I am not a highly educated man, nor a man of science. I am a common man with common sense. Funny how some people that are so highly educated and scientific minded lack the very God given thing needed for seeing the world as it truly is...some common sense

      I applaud your comments Dr. Shormann and it's good to see that you posses both great intellectual knowledge and good old fashion common sense.

      Dan C.

      Delete
    3. More references:

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publia.htm
      These results show how difficult it is for people to maintain their beliefs in creationism in college.

      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA111.html
      Creationists frequently seize such expressions of healthy skepticism to imply that evolution is highly questionable. They fail to understand that the fact that evolution has withstood many years of such questioning really means it is about as certain as facts can get.

      Delete
    4. Dan C wrote <<<< There are people who spend all their time arguing and trying to prove scientific theories and hypothesis about the origin of our earth and mankind, yet after thousands of years they have no definite outcome. >>>>
      Incorrect. I am not trying to prove that the theory of evolution is valid. The fact that the theory is accepted as fact by nearly all biologists and earth scientists demonstrates its validity. It is also accepted as fact by 87% of all scientists (including those specializing in fields such as electronics, mechanical engineering, architecture, etc.). It is more readily accepted by younger people and people that have some college credit. Seniors are the most resistant to accepting the theory but as they are replaced by succeeding generations, the number of seniors accepting the theory continues to increase.
      Of course, nearly every scientist in the world could be wrong. However, can you identify any modern scientific theory that has existed for 150 years (which has be accepted as fact by almost all the scientists in the world) that has been proven incorrect?
      Dan C wrote <<<< Meanwhile others are focusing on the future and how to improve the quality of life for the next generations and they are the ones under fire from people who only live in the past. >>>>
      People that cling to the belief in creation as described in the Bible are the people living in the past (similar to those that cling to a geocentric universe).
      The honest people that believe in creation will admit that their belief is based solely on faith (religion) and was not arrived at by analyzing the facts because there are no facts that su

      Delete
    5. Hi Dan,
      Thanks for your kind words, and as you know, if I have any intellectual knowledge or common sense, that is by God's grace alone. And I agree, the lack of common sense by the liberal left is quite obvious. Some of them think popular opinion determines whether a thing is true. Keep up the good fight, Dan!
      Grace and peace,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    6. David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... the lack of common sense by the liberal left is quite obvious. Some of them think popular opinion determines whether a thing is true.>>>>

      You claim to be a scientist yet make such a statement? Acceptance of scientific theories (including evolution) are not based on popular opinion or even the opinion of scientists. Acceptance is based on demonstrating that the hypothesis makes predictions and designing experiments to test those predictions such that the experiments can be replicated by other scientists. It is only when the experiments have been successfully replicated by others and produce the same results that the hypothesis is accepted by the science community as a theory.

      Given the overwhelming acceptance of evolution by biologists, earth scientist, and scientists in general, do you believe they are all stupid?

      Do you feel your opinion is more valid that the opinions held by members of the National Academies, a long list of winners of the Nobel science prizes?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution
      The Discovery Institute, a pro–intelligent design lobby group located in the United States, also claims that because there is a significant lack of public support for evolution, that public schools should, as their campaign states, "Teach the Controversy". Nearly every scientific society, representing hundreds of thousands of scientists, has issued official statements disputing this claim[2] and a petition supporting the teaching of evolutionary biology was endorsed by 72 US Nobel Prize winners.[6] Additionally, US courts have ruled in favor of teaching evolution in science classrooms, and against teaching creationism, in numerous cases such as Edwards v. Aguillard, Hendren v. Campbell, McLean v. Arkansas and Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

      http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/06/17_townes.shtml
      <<<< Charles Hard Townes: Baptist preacher, Berkeley physicist, winner of the Noble Prize in Physics
      People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one.>>>>

      I don't know about the liberal left, but I find that popular opinion is frequently wrong. Over time, public opinion has been shown to be wrong about the geocentric universe, spontaneous generation, slavery, women's suffage, mixed marriage, evolution, and many other issues.

      Delete
    7. Hi Ed,
      To answer your question, no I definitely don't consider people I disagree with stupid, and like you I also find that history reveals popular opinion is often wrong. And court decisions are sometimes reversed, too. So what is your vision of the future? What contributions have you made to advance 21st Century Science?
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    8. David Shormann wrote: <<<< And court decisions are
      sometimes reversed, too. >>>>

      The following is a list of a few of the many judicial decisions that forbade the teaching of creation in place of or in addition to evolution, even requiring that evolution be taught.

      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/epperson-v-arkansas
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/mclean-v-arkansas
      1982 - decision gave a detailed definition of the term "science"; the court declared that "creation science" is not, in fact, science.
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/edwards-v-aguillard
      Court found that the provision of a comprehensive science education is undermined when it is forbidden to teach evolution
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/freiler-et-al-v-tangipahoa-parish-board-education-et-al
      1994 - invalidated school board decisions requiring teaches to read a disclaimer before discussing the subject of evolution.
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/levake-v-independent-school-district-656
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/peloza-v-capistrano-u
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/segraves-v-california
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/selman-v-cobb-county-textbook-disclaimer-case-0
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/webster-v-new-lenox
      http://ncse.com/creationism/legal/intelligent-design-trial-kitzmiller-v-dover

      There are more listed on the NCSE web site. The courts continue to tighten the prohibition of teaching religious based ideas in public schools and continue to strengthen the wall between religion and government action. Rather than reversing the decisions, it is likely that the courts will continue to tighten the prohibition of teaching anything that hints of the supernatural as science.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< To answer your question, no I definitely don't consider people I disagree with stupid, ... >>>

      Okay. Do you believe you are as intelligent as the Nobel winners that accept evolution (yes there is one that doesn’t but he is a tiny, tiny minority of the winners). Do you believe you are as intelligent and knowledgeable as the best scientists in the US (including those in the National Academies)? If you answer no, why should anyone believe your claims?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< So what is your vision of the future? What contributions have you made to advance 21st Century >>>>
      Not germane to the current discussion. Contact me on facebook (Edward Silha).

      Delete
    9. Hi Ed,
      Your vision of the future of government education is most certainly germane to this discussion, and I do not wish to have a private discussion about it with you. Let's keep this public.

      Lest you forget, this is a blog about public education. And I am not sure why you keep bringing up all these court cases, which can be overturned anyways. And besides, I'm not for teaching religious topics in a government school science class anyways, whether it's creationism or evolutionism. I'm for putting historical interpretations in a history, philosophy or religion class. I am for teaching 21st Century cell biology, which I hope you are too? Your comments so far have made it pretty clear you oppose it.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    10. David Shormann wrote: <<<< And I am not sure why you keep bringing up all these court cases, which can be overturned anyways. >>>>

      The decisions by the Supreme Court have been by large majorities and the dissents to the majority opinions have been on technicalities (e.g., the Louisiana Supreme Court had not done it job thoroghly). Court after court have stated that the theory of evolution is science (agreeing with the overwhelming numbers of scientists world wide). The courts have also state that creation science/Intelligent Design are not science but religious beliefs. Given the large majorities, the likelyhood that the decisions will be reversed is vanishing small.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< And besides, I'm not for teaching religious topics in a government school science class anyways, whether it's creationism or evolutionism. >>>>

      So you disagree not only with the overwhelming number of scientists that accept the theory of evolution as well founded science but also the highest courts in the land? For people that do not know me personally, my opinion is worthless, so I seldom post it. The one exception being that I believe the courts will continue the current trend to strentghen the wall of separation between church and state, including supporting evolution as science and declaring ID to be religion.

      I mostly post the statements of accepted authorities such as National Academies, organizations such as AAAS. I find it difficult to believe anyone who claims his opinion is correct and nearly all other authorities are misled or wrong, especially when the persons offers no proof to support his opinions.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< I'm for putting historical interpretations in a history, philosophy or religion class. >>>>

      Does that mean the field of genetics as it relates to relationships between species should be taught as religion?

      Delete
  33. Good grief, Shormann, I threw you a bone, your own paper, and you missed it totally. I'm convinced you have no idea what science is about and I'll do my best to keep both you and Marty far away from public education. You keep on churning out those critical thinkers from your Bible school.

    No, Shormann, you don't have to wait a few years to validate your hypoxia model. You already did it. It's in your paper! The data in the model are statistically valid even with the missing decade. You don't need a time machine, which was a joke that apparently literally went over your head. Literally. You don't even understand your own paper which I find quite astonishing.

    Second, how Lake Tanganyika, a rift lake, was formed has everything to do with its limnology. Yes, it has a direct bearing on the fauna and flora in and around that lake. I would have expected someone ignorant of the subject to make the comment you did, but not you! Color me surprised.

    Your comment about the future is totally laughable since what you call a "worldview" is wedded to a past that closed a thousand years ago. Good luck with that. Meanwhile, those of us who actually understand science and who actually know how to think critically will keep on making a nice, safe world in which you can continue to live out your fantasies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bill,
      Science works by asking questions, drawing conclusions, and then verifying those conclusions. Collecting more hypoxia data will be extremely helpful in verifying current conclusions regarding the Brazos River and its influence on Texas coastal hypoxia.

      So what scientific research are you involved in right now that is helping make a nice, safe world for us?
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  34. I see that Ed and Bill are defending science in our debate with YEC David Shormann and they are doing a great job. Thank you.

    I see that the URL to my essay refuting David's false claim about historical science being history, not science--The Disjunctive Duality of Science Distinction--was stripped by the blogging software. Just go the Texas Citizens for Science homepage (you can Google this) and use the Find command (Ctrl+F) in the Edit menu to search for the title. It will be linked.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Dr. Schafersman,
    I'm not sure why you can't post the link, so here it is: http://texscience.org/reviews/icr-duality-science.htm

    Myself and other natural history researchers prefer "natural history" to "historical sciences", to help distinguish what we are doing from the "hard sciences" like chemistry and physics and genetics. When scientists, like geologists for example, try to interpret the past, they are no longer acting like scientists, but natural historians. Natural history is a mixed question, and requires inputs outside of science, like from historians, philosophers, artists, etc.

    Real science is about asking questions. It is about testing all things, and holding on to what is good (I Thessalonians 5:21). And holding on to what is good means that morality is important, which means worldview is important, and if a human being rejects the idea that there is an absolute Source of morality, then that human being really has no morals. People like that can still be scientists, but they often lack common sense and their logic fails much more frequently. Thankfully, that lack of common sense about how the world really works can be overcome with a little patience and Providence.
    Cheers,
    David Shormann, PhD
    TAMU '96
    UT '89, 92

    ReplyDelete
  36. Dr. Shormann,

    Thank you for posting the link. I must have improved it a few months later when I posted it to my old blog. Here is the link I was trying to post (let's see if this works):
    http://www.texscience.org/blogs/disjunctive_duality_science_distinction_2008_7_28.htm

    You are repeating your earlier argument which is a false one. By your definition of science, most geologists, many biologists, all archaeologists, cosmologists, stellar and galactic astronomers, etc. would not be scientists but natural historians since they all deal with events that happened in the past. Mainstream scientists obviously don't agree with you and I explained why in my essay. Your distinction between "hard sciences" and historical sciences is nonsense. You mention genetics as a hard science. Would you be surprised to learn that genes, genomes, and genetic systems have histories and change through time, and that therefore genetics is a historical science just as are the other sciences I list? I guess you would!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dr. Schafersman,
      This is not an "either/or" kind of thing. One is not either a scientist or a natural historian. I am a husband, but I am also a father. Because of these different roles, I don't treat my wife like a child, and I don't expect my children to have the same responsibilities as my wife. I have different roles at different times. There is a time for me to be a husband, and a time for me to be a father, and there is a time for me to be a scientist and a time for me to be a natural historian. Yes "mainstream" scientists often have a different opinion than mine about natural history, but "mainstream" does not equal truth, and besides, stream channels change course over time :) Scientific research is about verification, natural history research is about interpretation. You know there's a difference here, and denying that there's a difference won't make this go away.

      That genetics has a historical component is no surprise, but real scientific research in genetics will deal with making predictions about future results that can be verified. Evolutionism uses scientific facts to make extrapolated, faith-based claims about the past, and has zero predictive powers. Creationism also makes faith-based claims about the past based on written testimony, followed by scientific facts, and predicts that in the future, cats will not be dogs, or something else, they will most certainly be cats.

      I would still be interested to know what your future vision for science and education is. How do you know your vision of the future is good, or the right one?
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I would request that in the future you leave your alleged degrees from UT out of your signature. Your ridiculous arguments disgrace the school.

    Besides, how do we know they are real....we weren't there to see you take the classes and complete the degree requirements?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greetings,
      My degrees from UT taught me how to think critically and look at all sides of an issue before making a decision. Sorry, my degrees taught me how to make reasonable arguments, not ridiculous ones.

      Speaking of degrees, where is yours from, and why didn't you use your real name?

      There are lots of ways to determine the veracity of my claims about UT degrees, including eyewitness testimony and historical documents, things that are useful tools for any kind of history research, including natural history research.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  39. I haven't seen a reasonable argument from you.

    I have a BS from UT. I don't use my real name on the intrawebs because there are too many crazy people out there.

    Anyone involved with the legal system could tell you that eyewitness testimony is the weakest of all evidence and historical documents can be faked. I have a book that says you never went to UT so it must be true.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hello,
    I have made plenty of reasonable arguments, but this ultimately isn't about reason, it's about truth. Aristotle reasoned that if you drop two objects of different weight, the heavier one would fall first. His reasoning did not lead to truth.

    Eyewitness testimony and historical documents can be faked, but they can also be true. Please let us know what book you are referencing that says I never went to UT :)
    Cheers,
    David Shormann, PhD
    TAMU '96
    UT '89, 92

    ReplyDelete
  41. Another non-sensical argument. The only path to truth is reason. Reason is why we now know that objects of different masses will accelerate at the same rate.

    My book says that you never went to UT. Everything in the book is true Ergo, you never went to UT. Any evidence that you did if either fabricated, or a wrong interpretation of the same evidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Aren't you a materialist? If so, how do you explain reason? Reason is immaterial. So is logic. Also, if reason was the only path to truth, then we would still be in the pre-Galileo days regarding science. This is a huge error in the way some folks view the world.

      Aristotle overemphasized quality, and, while Galileo understood its importance, he also considered quantity. Galileo understood the importance of observation and measurement. Aristotle did not. And so you see, there was never a battle between science and religion, but there was a battle between Christians over how best to study nature. Was it Aristotle's quality (what Catholic church leaders supported, more or less), or Galileo's quantity? The correct answer is that both are important.

      Paths to truth include reason, experience, faith, hope and love, and most importantly, Christ in us.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
  42. Dr. David Shormann,
    I posted questions in two comments on Mar 7. The posts were added to a sub group of comments rather than the end of this blog. Care to answer the questions I posed?

    ReplyDelete
  43. That is a load of nonsense. It's not even a coherent thought. I would say that Galileo had more than a little bit of a battle with the Cathloic church becuase his observations contrictdied scripture. Let's make a deal....you don't make us pray in our public schools, and we won't make you think in your church.

    BTW, it's been my experience that anyone who addresses themselves as a "Dr." who doesn't pratice medicine is generally trying to put one over on the general public. For examples see Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, or Dr. Hovind.

    I have also noticed that you never answered the above question on what evidence suggests that the world is 6000 years old.

    I'll add this: Can you back up the following statement with examples: "Also, if reason was the only path to truth, then we would still be in the pre-Galileo days regarding science"

    Also, please tell me where in the world you came up with the idea that Chemistry and physics is a "hard" science and Biology and Geology are "Natural History" the requires the use of artists and philosophers to understand. Contrary to what much of the Right believes, you just can't make stuff up.

    I don't care how many degrees you have, if you can't answer these questions, your arguments have no merit.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hello,
    Sorry to disappoint you about Galileo, but it was Christians versus Christians in that discussion. And I use the same evidence as everyone else to determine the earth is 6,000 years old. I don't have a different set of facts than everyone else, but I do interpret the facts differently than some. Even creationists disagree on how the facts should be interpreted.

    Regarding Galileo, a University of Pisa professor in Galileo's day actually said "Anyone who thinks he can prove natural properties with mathematical arguments is simply demented." Can you imagine if someone said that today?! If we still focused on Aristotelian "quality" that would mean we would have rejected, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Euler, Bernoulli, etc., all of whom were Christians I might add. But that is the kind of dogmatism Galileo was up against.

    I never came up with an idea about Biology and Geology being natural history. It is not an either/or thing. There are times when a geologist wants to interpret past events (natural historian), and there are times when a geologist wants to verify some scientific research (scientist).

    And I don't care how many degrees someone has either, it doesn't take someone with a degree to see my arguments have merit. You may not see the merit in them now, but others will, and perhaps someday you will, too.
    Cheers,
    David Shormann, PhD
    TAMU '96
    UT '89, 92

    ReplyDelete
  45. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Sorry to disappoint you about Galileo, but it was Christians versus Christians in that discussion. >>>>

    Neat attempt to disguise the issue. The conflict was between a scientist that happened to be a Christian and the hierarchy of a Christian church (Catholic Church) attempting to impose church doctrine based solely on religious beliefs that happened to conflict with the natural world (i.e., science). We know the result of that argument.

    The same conflicts are happening today. Scientists (many of whom are Christian and even Evangelical Christians) assert that evolution is a fact. Some churches dispute the facts based solely on religious beliefs (i.e., creation as described in Genesis).

    Any answers to my previous posts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,

      Remember, this is a blog post about public education. What is your vision for public education?

      Yes, you are right, we do know the result of that argument. Galileo received a jail sentence for disagreeing with the Catholic leaders who agreed with Aristotle's views of nature. Later, the Roman Catholic denomination, and especially the Jesuits, repented of their dogmatism towards Aristotle and started using mathematics as a tool to study Creation. Did you know, the dogmatic teaching of Aristotle was so bad back in the day that Francis Bacon, founder of the modern scientific method, quit Trinity College at Cambridge because of this! Wow, that's bad.

      Today, we have come full-circle back to Aristotle's "quality" with Darwinism, which has no math. No mathematical formulas we can apply and confidently predict future outcomes, like a real scientific theory would give us. We are told that evolutionism works by "time and chance", a substitute phrase for "miracles". And then when folks like me try to equate chance with mathematical probability, and we learn that the mathematical probability of forming the proteins required for the simplest cell is 1 in 10 to the 119,879 power, the Darwinist cries "no fair"! Darwinism, like dogmatic teaching of Aristotle, overemphasizes quality at the expense of quantity. I think government school students deserve to know this, don't you Ed?
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Today,

      Delete
    2. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Today, we have come full-circle back to Aristotle's "quality" with Darwinism, which has no math." No mathematical formulas we can apply and confidently predict future outcomes, like a real scientific theory would give us.>>>>

      Another assertion without proof? If there is no science involved, how is it that a biologist can accurately predict the rate at which mutations occur?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< We are told that evolutionism works by "time and chance", a substitute phrase for "miracles". >>>>

      Random events are not miracles but extremely common occurences in the real world. Contrarily, a miracle is an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... we learn that the mathematical probability of forming the proteins required for the simplest cell is 1 in 10 to the 119,879 power, >>>>

      Any reference (other than creationist literature) for this claim?

      As I wrote previously, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. You claim evolution is not science, but 99.85% of biologist disagree and the courts have stated it is science. You offer no proof, just opinions.

      Still no answers to my previous (Mar 7) questions?

      Delete
    3. Hi Ed,
      Yes, spontaneous mutations do occur at a predictable rate, but why? There are models I could use to confidently predict the tides on this day, at any time in the future. There is no model to predict what humans will diversify into. You are confusing spontaneous mutation (quantity) with your version of the creation story (quality).

      I would really encourage you to try to have a discussion without appealing to authority. Appeals to authority are considered logical fallacies, and anyone with an understanding of middle-school logic will see right through your fallacious methods. Arguing this way doesn't help your side, it hurts it, and it certainly doesn't lead to truth, which is something I would hope you would think is important for Texas schoolchildren to discover. If your arguments from authority are also the way you want Texas school teachers to teach, then I would not want to be a student in your school! Think about what you're saying Ed.
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    4. David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... model to predict the tides on this day ... There is no model to predict what humans will diversify into. >>>>

      Astronomy cannot predict when a meteor will strike the earth, nor how bit it will be, nor how much damage it will do. Geology cannot predict when an earthquake will occur, how big it will be, or how much damage it will do. So neither astronomy nor geology can predict the exact future, only probabilities that some event will occur. That is exactly what the life sciences do with the theory of evolution.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< I would really encourage you to try to have a discussion without appealing to authority. Appeals to authority are considered logical fallacies, and anyone with an understanding of middle-school logic will see right through your fallacious methods. >>>>

      Are you asserting that if I get sick that I should not seek the advice of a medical doctor. Are you asserting that I should not take my car to a mechanic if it fails to start? Should I post a description of my problem on the web and believe anyone that responds? Utter nonsense.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Arguing this way ... it certainly doesn't lead to truth ... If your arguments from authority are also the way you want Texas school teachers to teach, then I would not want to be a student in your school! >>>>

      Accepted science in a given field is the result of a consensus of experts (authorities) in a field. Given that neither you nor I have sufficient expertise in all fields of science, the only rational approach the two of us can take in discussing this topic is to rely on the scientific consensus.

      Regarding teachers, would you not want a math teacher to be well grounded in mathematics (i.e., be an authority on the subject relative to students)? Would you not expect an oncologist in a teaching hospital to be an expert in the field of oncology?

      Would you want a mathematics teacher to ignore the accepted mathematics theory and teach some personal mathematics theory that had been rejected by an overwhelming portion of the mathematics community? Would you accept such utter nonsense?

      Delete
    5. Hi Ed,
      You have committed another logical fallacy called a straw man argument, by suggesting I am asserting something and then calling that assertion "utter nonsense". If you get sick, by all means go to the doctor and seek their expert advice, but don't be afraid to get a second opinion :)
      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    6. David Shormann wrote: <<<< You have committed another logical fallacy called a straw man argument, by suggesting I am asserting something and then calling that assertion "utter nonsense".>>>>

      In your prior post (Mar 9, 2012 09:04 AM you wrote <<<< I would really encourage you to try to have a discussion without appealing to authority. Appeals to authority are considered logical fallacies, and anyone with an understanding of middle-school logic will see right through your fallacious methods. >>>>

      Since you did not want me to reference authoritative statements (i.e., accepted science), I assumed that you believe I should not seek authoritative advice in other things. This was not a strawman argument. I simply extrapolated from your statement that people should not reference authoritative opinion (e.g., that of a physician).

      Your argument that appealing to authority is a logical fallacy is nonsense. I understand why you make this assertion; your opinions are contradicted by nearly all authorities (i.e., scientist / experts). Through out my education and work experience, seeking the advice of authorities was not only required but very effective given that I was never an authority on everything.

      As I stated previously, noting the position of an authority on an issue is more rational than stating my personal opinion and is a standard practice in debates given that the authority is vastly more informed on the issue than I could possibly be.

      You have gone from making claims without providing an ounce of proof to making absurd statements that defy logic.

      Are there any authorities you accept?

      Delete
  46. Here is an example of a straw-man argument:

    Aren't you a materialist? If so, how do you explain reason? Reason is immaterial. So is logic. Also, if reason was the only path to truth, then we would still be in the pre-Galileo days regarding science. This is a huge error in the way some folks view the world.

    ReplyDelete
  47. If you get sick, by all means go to the doctor and seek their expert advice, but don't be afraid to get a second opinion :)

    But don't get one from a plumber. And don't go to 99 other doctors until you find one who will prescribe you an unlimited supply of hydrocodone for a hangnail just because that's what you want.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. The first three sentences are not straw man arguments though. Any thoughts on them?

      Delete
    3. They are straw man arguments. First, you (mis)defined me as a "materialist.". Then you made clams as what a "materialist" believes.
      Also, your accusation of Ed of using an "appeal to authority" argument is mildly hilarious as you are the one who is attempting to bolster your less than weak arguments by calling yourself a "Doctor" and listing your degrees after every signature.

      Delete
  48. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Remember, this is a blog post about public education.>>>>

    More specifically, it is about the fitness of Mr. Rowley to serve on the Texas SBOE. Mr. Rowley would prefer to have his personal religious based view of the world taught in schools instead of science, science overwhelmingly accepted by scientists and federal courts..

    In my mind, that makes Rowley totally unfit to serve on the SBOE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,
      In my opinion, what would make Mr. Rowley unfit to serve is if he tries to politicize science and turn this into a battle over different religious interpretations of the creation story, using circular reasoning, straw man arguments, and ad hominen attacks in an effort to advance one creation story (evolutionism) over another (creationism). He would be unfit if he refused to discuss 21st Century science, deeming it "too difficult" for Texas schoolteachers to teach or students to learn. Mr. Rowley would be unfit if he thought for even a second that science advances by consensus, rather than remembering that science is a human endeavor, performed by imperfect people, and is a continuing search for truth.

      You and other liberal left posters have made it abundantly clear that you are against the advancement of science, but are instead only concerned about dogmatically promoting your version of the creation story (evolutionism). If Texas and other government schools fall behind in science education, I can promise you it will be because of folks like you. I really wish folks like you would stop and think for a little while about what you are doing. My point all along, which you don't seem to understand, at all, is that we need to teach more science in government school science classes.

      Delete
    2. Could you explain why you would only one of the creation myths to te exclusion to all others? There are creation myths from around the world, I counted over fifty just on a Wikipedia page. All of them have as much support scientifically as the one you would like to force Texas science teachers to impose on their students. I guess would could teach them all, of course that would probably take the entire year.

      Also, why do you think I am liberal? One can understand what is and what isn't science and be conservative.

      Delete
    3. David Shormann wrote <<<< ... turn this into a battle over different religious interpretations of the creation story, ... in an effort to advance one creation story (evolutionism) over another (creationism). >>>>

      Nice try, but your attempt to portray evolution as a religion is a common tactic among creationists. However, the overwhelming number of scientists and the US federal courts contradict your assertion. As I posted before, "Court after court have stated that the theory of evolution is science (agreeing with the overwhelming numbers of scientists world wide)."

      QUESTION (please answer): DO YOU DISMISS THE STATEMENTS OF "-ALL-" AUTHORITIES (including the federal courts)WITH WHOM YOU DISAGREE?
      Also see -

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionism
      <<<< Evolutionism: Since the overwhelming majority of scientists accept evolution, the term is seldom used in the scientific community; to say someone is a scientist implies acceptance of evolutionary views. In the creation-evolution controversy, creationists call those who accept the validity of the modern evolutionary synthesis "evolutionists" and the theory itself as "evolutionism." Some creationists and creationist organizations, such as the Institute of Creation Research, use these terms in an effort to make it appear that evolutionary biology is a form of secular religion. >>>>

      David Shormann wrote >>>> ... you are against the advancement of science, but are instead only concerned about dogmatically promoting your version of the creation story (evolutionism). >>>>

      Nonsense. Given that the heliocentric model of the solar system has been thoroughly tested for many years, it would be ultimately stupid to question the basic foundations of the model in the hopes of returning to the geocentric model it replaced. It would be a travesty for a teacher to seriously broach such an idea at any level of education. The same is true with evolution (tested repeatedly for 150 years).

      Rowley is not fit to serve on the SBOE given that he would promote the travesty of teaching religious opinion in a science class rather than science (as defined by the US courts – he would be attempting to skirt the law).

      Delete
  49. Also, explain why you wouldn't force History teachers to teach that the Holocaust never happened. The percentage of historians who are Holocaust deniers is roughly the same as the number of biologist who deny Evolution.

    Maybe they should "teach the controversy" also.

    ReplyDelete
  50. PS: Assigning what you deem unsavory labels to your opponents is an ad hominem attack. Is this something you feel is a valid approach to discussing a topic, especially when you have no facts to offer?

    ReplyDelete
  51. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Appeals to authority are considered logical fallacies, and anyone with an understanding of middle-school logic will see right through your fallacious methods.>>>>

    Your assertion is incorrect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
    The strength of this argument depends upon two factors:
    1. The authority is a legitimate expert on the subject.
    2. A consensus exists among legitimate experts on the matter under discussion.
    Fallacious arguments from authority often are the result of failing to meet at least one of the two conditions.

    None of my assertions based on references to authority were fallacious.

    QUESTION: Was it your intent to deliberately mislead the readers of this blog by asserting that [all] appeals to authority are fallacious or did you not understand the difference between valid appeals to authority and fallacious ones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,

      Here is a good description of the logical fallacy of appealing to authority: "Authority A believes P is true, therefore P is true." My point is this: if P is true, then who cares what authority A believes? P should be true regardless of A's supposed authority or lack thereof.

      This is the same mistake people made before Christians like Galileo, Francis Bacon, Johannes Kepler, etc., etc., came along. In those days "A" stood for Aristotle, and if Aristotle believed P was true, then P must be true! Some Catholic church leaders made the mistake of appealing to Aristotle as well. The problem with appealing to Aristotle's authority is that his ideas could be easily disproven with experiments, which is what Galileo did.

      Today, in many circles, "A" now stands for Darwin, and his ideas are also being disproven by experiments. Aristotle said "reason alone", Galileo said "show me the step-by-step process". So today we have people who say humans descended from monkeys because of the way things look (Aristotle's view), but when pressed to "show the steps", there is silence. There is no systematic, step-by-step, repeatable process showing how a monkey turned into a man. Evolutionism is a pre-scientific revolution belief, and no appeal to "A" will change that.

      So, still waiting for you to talk science with me. What are some 21st century science findings that Darwin's creation story doesn't explain very well? Should government schools teach these topics, or do you still think they are too "complex"? And speaking of Darwin's creation story, what do you think about teaching that in a history or philosophy class instead of a government school science class (where it shouldn't be), alongside other creation stories? Don't you think that would be fair and tolerant?

      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    2. David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... logical fallacy of appealing to authority: … >>>>

      Your assertion that the above example is a logical fallacy is absurd (a fallacy in itself). An appeal to an authority can be valid or it could be fallacious.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Today, in many circles, "A" now stands for Darwin, and his ideas are also being disproven by experiments. Aristotle said …>>>>

      None of the assertions of Aristotle were developed using the scientific method. The only conclusion of such a discussion is that beliefs based only on faith (no proofs, no experiments) may be fallacious where assertions based on the scientific method have been extremely reliable

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< So today we have people who say humans descended from monkeys >>>>

      Only creationists make such a statement (displaying ignorance of the theory of evolution). However, it makes good propaganda.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Today, in many circles, "A" now stands for Darwin ...>>>>

      Another creationist statement. The true statement is that "A" stands for 99.85 percent of biologists and earth scientists. Creationists have been disputing the theory of evolution for 150 years and the only progress they have made has been negative (i.e., they continue to loose ground in the argument as new evidence is developed)..

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< There is no systematic, step-by-step, repeatable process showing how a monkey turned into a man. >>>>

      No credible scientist would claim that humans evolved from monkeys.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Evolutionism is a pre-scientific revolution belief, and no appeal to "A" will change that. >>>>

      It appears that you are not only uninformed about science, but also history. The scientific method has been in use since the 17th century and Darwin did his work in the 19th century (DUH).

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< What are some 21st century science findings that Darwin's creation story doesn't explain very well? >>>>

      Never miss a chance to insert some propaganda do you? Darwin was unable to explain a lot of things and the current state of the science is still unable to explain much. However, the theory has been revised and expanded over the 150 years since its acceptance (among the scientific community). It now explains much that was not evident 150 years ago, including many things that creationist back then claimed could not be explained.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Should government schools teach these topics, or do you still think they are too "complex"?

      Curriculms must be age appropriate (e.g., calculus is not taught in 1st grade).

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... what do you think about teaching that in a history or philosophy class instead of a government school science class (where it shouldn't be), .... >>>>

      Almost every biologist in the "WORLD" along with all the national science academies and science organizations would consider your suggestion to be utter nonsense. Who am I to disagree with all those scientists that know more about the subject than I?

      Who are you to disagree with them?

      Are you more knowledgeable than they? Are you more intelligent than they?

      Delete
    3. Hi Ed,
      Just like you, I am more intelligent than "them" on some things and less intelligent on others. But I don't know why that really matters. "If A believes P is true, then P is true" is a logical fallacy anyways. I think you've made it abundantly clear hear that you think science works by consensus, which is totally false, so I'm not sure why you want to keep bringing that up over and over.

      Evolutionism is a pre-scientific revolution belief because it underemphasizes the modern scientific method and its emphasis on quantity and overemphasizes Aristotle's "quality" argument. There is nothing wrong with Aristotle's "quality", you just don't want to overemphasize it.If you want to understand this more, I recommend Nancy Pearcy's books Saving Leonardo and Total Truth.

      You are right, curriculums should be age appropriate, but how do you define that? If I can explain cell complexity using a cell phone analogy, then an elementary student could understand some amazing things about cell complexity. And, by the way, parts of calculus can be taught in 1st grade.

      Delete
    4. David Shormann wrote: <<<< I think you've made it abundantly clear hear that you think science works by consensus, which is totally false, ... >>>>

      Not quite true. To be accepted as a theory, a hypothesis must be supported by evidence that can be reproduced independently by many scientists. In addition, the science community must agree (consensus) that the hypothsis is the best explanation of the system of relevant facts.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Evolutionism is a pre-scientific revolution belief ....>>>>

      More nonsense, personal opinion, and propaganda.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Just like you, I am more intelligent than "them" on some things and less intelligent on others. >>>>

      It seems terribly arrogant to suppose that either of us is more intelligent than the members of the national academies, especially when you consider the that the members often work in teams which combine the expertise of all the members.

      I have no interest in discussing this topic with someone who simply dismisses facts and accepted science when those facts contradict his views.

      Delete
    5. Hi Ed,
      Evolutionism is not based on reproducible results. No one has reproduced steps involved in the evolution of the genus Homo from a pre-Homo ancestor. Almost all that is used to "prove" evolution are qualitative arguments, not quantitative, step-by-step procedures that can be followed and repeated in multiple laboratories. Bacteria-to-biology-teacher evolution is no scientific fact, it is just one of many faith-based creation stories that exist in our world today, and it fits the facts worse with each passing day. And that is not propaganda, that's reality. You can choose to ignore it, or you can stop and think for a minute about how promoting 21st Century science might be a better way to help Texas schoolchildren who attend government schools. By all means, teach students about the various creation stories, but save them for a philosophy or history class, and teach science in the science classes. It is disappointing that folks like you don't seem interested in doing this. Oh well, others will though.

      Delete
  52. It is interesting that Mr. Rowley has not responded to the postings on this blog, neither to defend his position nor to defend his fitness to serve on the SBOE.

    ReplyDelete
  53. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Evolutionism is not based on reproducible results. >>>>

    More propaganda and personal opinion contrary to the position of nearly every biologist and earth scientist in the world.

    Authority "A" proposes a' is true.
    Authority "B" proposes b' is true.
    a' and b' are incompatible.
    Who do you believe? Need more detail?

    Authority "A"
    • represents 99.85% of the scientists in the field.
    • provides overwhelming evidence to support proposition a' (not my position but that of the National Academies, nearly all biologists, including many who are Evangelical Christians)

    Authority "B"
    • represents a miniscule portion of scientists in the field.
    • provides no evidence to support proposition b' because science does no accept supernatural causes which cannot be tested (only be accepted on faith).
    • attempts to raise doubts about proposition b'.
    • assumes others will accept that b' is true if questions can be raised about a' (a totally illogical position).

    Question:
    You visit 1000 physicians.
    15 who hold to religious tenets similar to yours tell you to go home ignore your symptoms.
    985 (including the best oncologists in the world) tell you that you have cancer and must start treatment immediately.
    Based on your standards (ignoring authority in favor of faith), you would go home and have a beer?

    David Shormann wrote: <<<< And that is not propaganda, that's reality. >>>>

    Because you say so? Your use of the term "evolutionism" is a dead give away. The term is not used in the field of science, only by creation advocates. You contine to claim that evolution is a religion even though nearly every biologist in the world and the federal courts contradict your claim. That is propaganda.

    David Shormann wrote: <<<< ... or you can stop and think for a minute about how promoting 21st Century science ... >>>>

    The vast majority of the scientific community would consider your position to be 4th century superstition, not science from any era.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,

      I thought you didn't want to discuss any more?

      Your A or B scenario shows that, even after all these blog posts, you still think the "controversy" is science vs. religion. It's not, and to answer your question, I would have a beer. But first, I would listen carefully and respectfully to the 985, because they are basing their conclusions on testable, repeatable science. I would do my homework though, and not just take their word for it, because majorities have been wrong before. Used to be that if you had a fever, doctors would "bleed" you to relieve the fever because you were warm and wet, and probably a little red. Since blood is red, warm and wet, you must have an excess of blood. That's the kind of medical aid Aristotle's thinking gave the world, and it used to be the consensus opinion. But Scripture says that we should test everything, and hold onto the good (I Thessalonians 5:21). That's good advice, and I'm glad there were some doctors willing to think outside the box on the whole bleeding thing, aren't you?

      Delete
    2. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Your A or B scenario shows that, even after all these blog posts, you still think the "controversy" is science vs. religion. It's not, .... >>>>

      In what world do you live?
      All the opposition to the theory of evolution is motivated by religious belief.
      Can you honestly say that your religion does not affect your estimate of evolution?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<<
      Used to be that if you had a fever, doctors would "bleed" you to relieve the fever because you were warm and wet, and probably a little red. >>>>

      You continue to come up with examples that are based on beliefs (including those of Aristotle), not the scientific method to prove that an overwhelming majority can be wrong.

      I asked this question previously but you did not answer it. -- Can you cite any scientific theory that has been accepted for decades but was subsequently proven to be fundamentally incorrect?

      Delete
    3. Hi Ed,
      First, let's define "scientific theory." I like Stephen Hawking's definition, which goes something like this: "An idea that accurately describes a large class of observations, and makes definite predictions about the results of future observations." Since evolutionism makes no predictions about future events, it is not a scientific theory, so I can't use it as an example.

      One example is spontaneous generation. Many scientists accepted this theory and did experiments to prove it. One guy even "proved" that mice spontaneously generated from dirty underwear! I can't remember his name, but you can watch the DVD "Evolution: The Grand Experiment" and learn more. But the theory was overturned with future experiments by folks like Francesco Redi and Louis Pasteur. Newton also came up with the idea of "ether", which was later overturned.

      Delete
    4. David Shormann wrote: <<<< First, let's define "scientific theory - "An idea that accurately describes a large class of observations, and makes definite predictions about the results of future observations." Since evolutionism makes no predictions about future events, it is not a scientific theory, so I can't use it as an example. >>>>

      More propaganda based on mischaracterizing the definition and the theory of evolution..

      http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
      The evolutionary biologists who discovered Tiktaalik predicted that they would find fossils intermediate between fish and limbed terrestrial animals in sediments that were about 375 million years old. Their discovery confirmed the prediction made on the basis of evolutionary theory. >>>>

      And there were many more predictions based on evolutionary theory that have been confirmed.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< One example is spontaneous generation. >>>>

      I asked you to provide evidence of a "scientific theory" (i.e., a theory developed using the scientific method) that was accepted by the vast majority of scientists for decades. And this is what you answer? More nonsense; more superstition formulated by Aristotle; no science; no theory,

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Newton also came up with the idea of "ether", which was later overturned. >>>>

      “IDEA” is correct. An idea is not a scientific theory. Many experiments were performed during the 19th 20th centuries to prove the existence of an "aether" but none produced results that could be interpreted to support the hypothesis. Although I would not classify this one as a superstition, it fails the first criteria of a theory (there must be some positive proof to support the theory).

      Is this the best you have to offer?

      Delete
    5. Hi Ed,

      Evolutionism is no scientific theory. If evolution=scientific theory, then humans are still evolving. What are we evolving into? Which genes are going to mutate and when? What new information can we look forward to with 95% confidence or better? There are no answers to these questions.

      I am not even sure what your point is about overturned scientific theories. Theories come and go. So what? And what does that have to do with teaching science in government school science classes?

      Delete
    6. We are evolving to adapt to changes in the environment. I can predict that humans who would go have a beer instead of seeking medical treatment will be selected against.

      Delete
    7. I would think that someone with an alleged phd could understand English. Ed is asking you to name another theory that has stood the test of time that has been completely overturned. hint.......it can't be done.......hint

      Delete
    8. BTW, this is one of the most one sided pwnings I have ever seen. "dr" Sherman should quit while he's behind.

      Delete
    9. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Evolutionism is no scientific theory. >>>>

      Restating your personal opinion without offering evidence that contradicts that overwhelming evidence that supports the theory of evolution will not influence anyone.
      http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html
      Because the evidence supporting it is so strong, scientists no longer question whether biological evolution has occurred and is continuing to occur. Instead, they investigate the mechanisms of evolution, how rapidly evolution can take place, and related questions.
      >>>>

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< If evolution=scientific theory, then humans are still evolving. ... Which genes are going to mutate and when? .... >>>>

      I am not sure if you are totally uniformed about the fundamentals of the theory or just writing nonsense in an attempt to confuse others.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< I am not even sure what your point is about overturned scientific theories. Theories come and go. >>>>

      More utter nonsense.

      I challenged you to identify scientific theories that have been proven incorrect and you responded with a claim about spontaneous generation (a superstition from Aristotle) and the aether hypothesis (an idea for which no supporting evidence was ever found inspite of a hundred years of effort to find such evidence). You are unable to provide one example to support your claim that theories come and go.

      Since the introduction of the scientific method, no accepted scientific theory (as defined by the National Academies) has been proven to be fundamentally incorrect. The theory of evolution has been tested for over 150 years and no data has been found that contradicts (falsifies) the theory.

      Your claims are baseless (not supported by facts) so you resort to propaganda methods and ad hominem attacks in an attempt to mislead.

      Delete
    10. Hi Ed,
      Actually, I did give you one theory (particle theory of light), that has been overturned. There are plenty of others, just search and ye shall find.

      So, back to public school science education. I want to encourage government schools to teach real science in science class, not faith-based claims about origins. I think government school biology should be more like chemistry and physics, and let students debate origins in a history or philosophy class. Would you agree? Does that sound like a good plan to you?

      Delete
    11. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Actually, I did give you one theory (particle theory of light), that has been overturned. >>>>

      You are mistaken again. Search this blog and you will find that your previous post (dated Mar 22, 2012 06:12 PM) is the only reference to the particle theory of light.

      You appear to be unaware (again) of the history of research on the characteristics of light.
      The science community did not settle on either the particle theory or the wave theory of light because some experimental results supported one (contradicting the other) and other experimental results did the opposite. Eventually both theories were combined and resulted in the refined theory of Wave–particle duality (which applies to light and atomic particles).

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< There are plenty of others, just search and ye shall find. >>>>

      I asked you to cite a scientific theory that was shown to be fundamentally incorrect. Your responses include spontaneous generation (a superstition), aether (a hypothesis never supported by an experimental results), and the various theories of light (none were fundamentally incorrect, only incomplete). You claim there are "plenty of other" theories that have been shown to be incorrect but you seem unable to cite just one. Another baseless assertion?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< So, back to public school science education. I want to encourage government schools to teach real science in science class, not faith-based claims about origins.>>>>

      Other than a miniscule number of scientists that believe in creation, scientists and the federal courts state that evolution is science and creationism and ID are religion.

      Are you proposing we violate the law? Do you not submit to the rule of law?

      Delete
    12. Hi Ed,
      I'm proposing we keep the law and teach science in science class and origins in history or philosophy class, which is where it belongs in a government school. Does that sound good to you?

      Cheers,
      David Shormann, PhD
      TAMU '96
      UT '89, 92

      Delete
    13. Evolution is science. And what is a "government school?" Never heard that phrase before, but then again, I don't watch Faux News or go to Tea Bagger rallies, so maybe I'm missing something.

      Delete
    14. David Shormann wrote: <<<< I'm proposing we keep the law and teach science in science class and origins in history or philosophy class, which is where it belongs in a government school.>>>>

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0482_0578_ZO.html
      393 U.S. at 103. Similarly, the Creationism Act is designed either to promote the theory of creation science which embodies a particular religious tenet by requiring that creation science be taught whenever evolution is taught or to prohibit the teaching of a scientific theory disfavored by certain religious sects by forbidding the teaching of evolution when creation science is not also taught. The Establishment Clause, however, "forbids alike the preference of a religious doctrine

      >>> or the prohibition of theory which is deemed antagonistic to a particular dogma." <<<

      Id. at 106-107 (emphasis added). Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment.
      >>>>

      So any law intended to undermine the teaching of a scientific theory because it conflicts with some religious beliefs violates the First Amendment. The federal courts have stated that the theory of evolution is science. Your proposal would lead to the waste of significant education funds to defend a patently unconstitutional policy.

      Note that the following decision by the courts identifies the motivation for opposition to the teaching of evolution.

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0393_0097_ZS.html
      Held: The statute violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces the First Amendment's prohibition of state laws respecting an establishment of religion. Pp. 102-109.
      (b) The sole reason for the Arkansas law is that a particular religious group considers the evolution theory to conflict with the account of the origin of man set forth in the Book of Genesis. Pp. 103, 107-109.>>>>

      If you are honest, you will admit that this is your sole motivation and the arguments about philosophy and history are red herrings to obscure the real motivation.

      Delete
  54. He can't. He defends creationism because that's how he makes a living.

    ReplyDelete
  55. To say that the theory of evolution makes no predictions is to be mis-informed or a complete preverication:

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/evo_science.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evolutionism makes no definite predictions about the future results of genetic changes. If it were a real scientific theory, it could do this. It can't do this, so it's not a real scientific theory, but a philosophical idea.

      Delete
    2. Please get informed.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

      Delete
    3. Your claim is that anything driven by random events (probabilities) is not science but philosophy? Wow. You really ought to contact the National Academies of Science and request they change their title to the National Academies of Philosophies given that all natural phenomena at some level are described as probabilities.

      Also notify the CDC that we cannot really know that bacteria are likely to become resistant to drugs.

      Nothing by nonsensical claims.

      Delete
    4. Hi folks,
      My claim is that evolutionism is, like creationism, a faith-based claim.

      Y'all do realize that the e-coli experiment shows e-coli turning into more e-coli? That experiment fits a biblical account of different kinds quite well. It also makes zero predictions about what these bacteria will be like in another 50,000 generations, which it should if evolutionism were true.

      Ed, of course we can know bacteria are likely to become resistant to drugs, but which drugs and when? And the only claim I am making is that anything that is not testable and repeatable using a step-by-step method is not science. If you need a time machine to verify your claims, or if your theory makes no predictions about future events, then that is not a scientific argument but a faith-based claim. Of course, there's nothing wrong with faith, or hope, or love for that matter, all of which can have a big part in how you do science and what your vision of the future is.

      Using a modern understanding of cells and cell complexity and the amazing feedback controls and DNA repair mechanisms we know exist, my prediction for the E-coli experiment you referenced is that there's a 100% chance that in another 50,000 generations, the bacteria will still be E-coli.

      Delete
    5. Your claim is not supported by facts. Therefore it has no merit.

      Delete
  56. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Light sometimes acts like particles and sometimes waves, and therefore never a "Particle Theory of Light" that has been overturned. Please stop making things up.

    ReplyDelete
  58. David Shormann wrote: <<<< My claim is that

    evolutionism is, like creationism, a faith-based claim. >>>>

    You can claim over and over again that pigs can fly but it will not give pigs the ability to fly.

    All you have posted are baseless claims that are contradicted by nearly every one of the most knowledgeable scientists in the United States and in the whole WORLD along with the federal courts. What you propose will lead to costly litigation which the State of Texas will loose in the end with the result that money needed for education will be wasted.

    David Shormann wrote: <<<< Ed, of course we can know bacteria are likely to become resistant to drugs, but which drugs and when? >>>>

    We cannot predict the exact time an place of volcanic erruptions or earthquakes so, according to your position, the science associated with these topic should be philosophy? Please try to use some common sense rather than posting nothing but nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We can predict the time and place of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes and tsunamis much better now than we could 100 years ago.

      Delete
    2. No we can't. All we can to is assign probabilities as to when and where they might occur. If it were a "true science" by your absurd definition, we would be able to predict the exact times and epicenters of future earthquakes.

      Delete
  59. Creationists have built up a resistance to facts and logic.

    "Dr." Shromman hasn't answered any of the questions I have posed.

    Again, why shoulndn't Holocaust denialism be taught in history classes and let the students decide for themselves which story is correct?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, back to the history questions! The holocaust can be verified by looking at historical documents. I'm not opposed to using historical documents as a tool to interpret past events, are you?

      Delete
    2. Documents can be forged, and most of the records were destroyed in the wake of the advancing Red Army. The percentage of historians who believe that the Holocaust never happened is about the same as the number of biologists who deny evolution. Interestingly, many of the methods that Holocaust deniers use mimic those of evolution deniers. Also, both are motivated primarily by a blind devotion to an ideology.

      So why not "teach the controversy?"

      Delete
    3. I'm not the only one who thinks so:

      http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2006/05/evolution-denial-holocaust-denial-same.html

      http://forknowledge.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/holocaust-denial-and-creationism/

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb2uB4_7CBY

      Delete
    4. I don't know, why not "teach the controversy?" There's a lot of historical events that have more than one interpretation. So what?

      I also find it interesting that a lot of the thoughts of Holocaust "causers" mimic those of evolution promoters.

      Delete
    5. So you are in favor of using class time to teach that the Holocaust never happened just to placate White Nationalists. Nice. And you should have any input in what is taught in "government schools" because?

      And the idea that Evolution had anything to do with the Nazis is pure rubbish. The ideas behind "Social Darwinism" are from Herbert Spencer, not Darwin and have nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

      It is more accurate to draw a line from the Luther than Darwin:

      From Luther:


      Moreover, they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch­thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security.

      ***
      INo, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants.
      ***
      ...but then eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God's anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!
      ***
      Over and above that we let them get rich on our sweat and blood, while we remain poor and they such the marrow from our bones.
      ***

      What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:
      First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly ­ and I myself was unaware of it ­ will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.
      Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.
      Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

      Delete
    6. David Shormann wrote: <<<< I don't know, why not "teach the controversy?" There's a lot of historical events that have more than one interpretation. >>>>

      18 percent of Americans believe the sun goes around the earth contrary to reality - teach the controversy?

      12 to 18 percent of Americans either believe the holocaust did not occur or there are doubts as to whether it occurred - teach the controversy?

      17 percent of Americans deny climate change and another 23 percent who accept it deny that human activity is at least partly the cause - teach the controversy?

      42 percent of Americans reject the theory of evolution - teach the controversy?

      The common thread in these issues is that there is no controversy among those with expert knowledge on the issue (scientists and historians). Teaching the controversy to appease a groups with irrational beliefs would waste valuable classroom time and mislead students into believing there is doubt about issues for which there is no evidence to support the doubts.

      How far are you willing to go to appease the uniformed or ideological motivated people? How much damage will this policy do to education? Just more nonsense.

      Still no suggestion for a scientific theory that has been proven incorrect?

      Delete
  60. Just as a reality check for anybody else who might be lurking, remember who has a financial interest in maintaining his position, and who has not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And now to economics! So, why are you so interested in maintaining your position? What if it turns out your position is wrong?

      Delete
    2. Because I care about Texas and don't like people of you making it the laughingstock of the nation and the world. I also know that scientific literacy will be the determining factor in who succeeds and who fails.

      As far as my position being wrong, it is the one supported by all the evidence, so I'm not too worried about it.

      I know I can't change your mind, because there is no evidence that a creationist would accept that would change his mind. (On the other hand, dig up a T-Rex with a human in its stomach and Evolution would be thrown out the next day) That is why Evolution is science and Creationism isn't.

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    3. David Shormann wrote: <<<< What if it turns out your position is wrong? >>>>

      There are things of which I am unsure (e.g., for whom to vote, in what to invest my retirement saving). There are other things about which I do not worry (e.g., the fundamentals of the theory of gravity being incorrect such that I might float off into space, the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory such that I might be electrocuted when flipping a light switch, and the fundamentals of the theory of evolution being correct).

      Backspace Insert NumLock <<<< I know I can't change your mind, because there is no evidence that a creationist would accept that would change his mind. >>>>
      We might not be able to save a rock climber that has fallen but we might be able to save others on his team by releasing them from the bond that binds them to the falling climber.

      http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=240
      Humans and other living things

      Have evolved over time
      Portion Age
      63% 18-25
      57% 26-40
      47% 41-60
      42% 61+

      Have existed in their present form
      Portion Age
      33% 18-25
      39% 26-40
      46% 41-60
      45% 61+

      It seems that our educational system is having some success in cutting those bonds with opinion "evolving" such that creationists will go extinct.

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    4. You are unbelievably wrong. Scientific literacy will not be the succeeding factor in who succeeds and who fails. Truth will.

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    5. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Scientific literacy will not be the succeeding factor in who succeeds and who fails. Truth will. >>>>

      The tobacco executive seemed to have succeeded very well, even after they stated under oath before congress that cigarette smoking does not cause cancer.

      Santorum seems to be popular inspite of spreading the lie that global warming is a hoax involving a conspiracy of nearly every climate and earth scientist in the world.

      It would be nice if truth always won out, but it doesn't. On the other hand, the United States will be noncompetitive if the knowledge of our citizens becomes obsolete.

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    6. Hi Ed,
      We agree on something! Indeed, global warming is not a hoax. The earth warms and the earth cools, and right now we seem to be in a warming trend. What is a hoax is ACGW (anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming) where fossil fuel combustion is hyped as "the" cause. That's a futurology claim, not a scientific claim. Science shows that there are many, many factors causing climate change, and fossil fuel burning is one very small part of the bigger picture. Just as one example, warmer water holds less CO2, so if the water warms up, where does that extra CO2 go? It goes into the air. And don't forget that water vapor is a much, much bigger greenhouse gas than CO2, and last I checked, most of the earth is covered by seawater.

      I would also agree that the U.S. will be noncompetitive if the knowledge of our citizens becomes obsolete. And that is why I keep hammering away at teaching 21st century science, but you don't seem interested in discussing that at all. Why is that? You really need to read The Altenberg 16, a book by an evolutionist about evolution's failures.

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    7. David Shormann wrote: <<<< What is a hoax is ACGW (anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming) where fossil fuel combustion is hyped as "the" cause. >>>>

      It must be tough to live in a world where nearly all the scientists in the "WORLD" are in a conspiracy to contradict your beliefs.

      99.85% of biologists are in a conspiracy to mislead the public about evolution.

      97.5% of climatologists (representing every developed country in the world) who are actively researching climate change are in a grand conspiracy to put a hoax over on the rest of humanity? And 80 % of the other scientists in the world agree with them?

      Dictionary: Hoax: something intended to deceive or defraud

      By asserting that AGW is a hoax you are accusing those climatologists of deception and fraud. Are you also accusing the 80% of other scientists that agree or just accusing them of being so stupid as to not recognize the deception of the climatologists?

      More utter nonsense.

      Still no suggestion of a scientific theory that has been shown to be fundamentally incorrect even though you have had a long time to research the issue? Sounds like you were asserting that a pig can fly but have not been able to produce such a beast.

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    8. Hi Ed,
      Sorry, I haven't asserted that a pig can fly. It is interesting that you bring up the definition of hoax, which fits nicely with what Peter Gleick did to obtain documents from the Heartland Institute. And this is from the man who was Chair of the American Geophysical Union's taskforce on scientific ethics!

      No Ed, I'm not asserting anything here, I'm trying to help you and other readers discern what is and isn't a scientific pursuit. Can you test the hypothesis that humans impact climate? Yes,hypothesize away. Can you also test the hypothesis that there are multiple factors impacting climate, and that humans might be a very small part of that? Yes, hypothesize away. And hypothesize away about common descent, but also hypothesize about uncommon descent. However, the moment you say common descent "is", or ACGW "is", then you have stopped doing science and started preaching. I'm sorry you're having so much trouble discerning the difference.

      Speaking of those 99.85% of biologists are they also evolutionists? Do they think evolution "is", or do they think it is one of many possible hypotheses?

      Also, are they responsible for 47 of 53 published cancer experiments that couldn't be replicated(http://news.yahoo.com/cancer-science-many-discoveries-dont-hold-174216262.html)? Is this the kind of incompetent science we can expect by dogmatic evolutionists who suppress 21st century research if it might contradict with their religious beliefs about origins?

      Happy Atheist's Day! (April 1, 2012)

      Delete
    9. David Shormann wrote: <<<< It is interesting that you bring up the definition of hoax, which fits nicely with what Peter Gleick ...>>>>

      Doesn't change the science. You hope to paint all climate scientists as evil based on a momentary lapse of good sense by one scientist. More nonsense.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< No Ed, I'm not asserting anything here,>>>>

      Previously you wrote "What is a hoax is ACGW (anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming) where fossil fuel combustion is hyped as "the" cause."

      That is clearly an assertion that nearly every climate scientist in the world is deliberately attempting to deceive and defraud the public. Your denial is dishonest.

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    10. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Also, are they [the 99.85% of biologists that accept the theory of evolution as the explanation of species diversity] responsible for 47 of 53 published cancer experiments that couldn't be replicated .... >>>>

      More attempts to besmudge the reputation of scientists in general using guilt by association by some conjured idea that is totally baseless (i.e., dishonest).

      The article you cited does identify a problem with some publications (journals all have different acceptance criteria) but the retraction rate for the most prestigious journals is near zero.

      Publishing a paper that is later retracted or contradicted by a number of other scientists damages the reputation of the author, reducing his earning ability and influence (e.g., the cold fusion hypothesis damaged the reputations of the two scientists that publish it). The problem is self correcting.

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    11. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Is this the kind of incompetent science we can expect by dogmatic evolutionists who suppress 21st century research if it might contradict with their religious beliefs about origins? >>>>

      More claims about evil scientists without a grain of proof. Another dishonest tactic using propaganda.

      Still have not answered my question. You claim that many accepted scientific theories have been shown to be fundamentally incorrect (i.e., pigs can fly) but have not been able to identify a single instance (i.e., cannot produce the beast).

      Delete
    12. Hi Ed,

      Spontaneous generation, geocentrism, "bleeding", the particle theory of light, etc., were all "accepted scientific theories" in their day. Heck, Tycho Brahe had a budget the size of NASA's, and collected loads of data. It's not that his data didn't work at all in a geocentric model, it actually worked quite well.

      These outdated theories seem weird to us now because we have gathered more evidence, but that is the nature of scientific theories. 50 years ago, if you had an ulcer, a doctor would say it was "caused by stress". That was the accepted theory for stomach ulcers. Now, the accepted theory is that h. pylori causes stomach ulcers.

      Natural selection works sometimes, but it doesn't explain everything. It has been shown to be fundamentally incorrect in many ways. That's why I told you to read the Altenburg 16. Natural selection has to select something, so if there was no special creation by God at the beginning, then what happened at the beginning, when there was nothing to select? How did we get from "nothing to select" to "something to select"? And please, don't say spontaneous generation, you already said that was superstition, even though it really was an accepted scientific theory for a time. And don't say "aliens did it" either!

      Multicellular organisms have a "genetic toolkit". If this is malfunctioning, or removed, the organism cannot form. If natural selection were true, nature would need to "think ahead" to the future and randomly form this genetic toolkit inside a single-celled organism, in anticipation of future multicellular organisms. Obviously, nature can't "think ahead", which means natural selection can't explain this genetic toolkit. These are the kinds of things honest scientists (who are also often evolutionists) are pondering. I think Texas schoolchildren should ponder these things, too, don't you?

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    13. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Spontaneous generation, geocentrism, "bleeding", the particle theory of light, etc., were all "accepted scientific theories" in their day. >>>>

      You are either ignorant of what a "scientific theory" is or you are deliberately posting claims you know are false.

      National Academies: Scientific Theory
      The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence.

      We discussed these "phony claims that these were scientific theories. The particle theory of light was never fully accepted as a scientific theory because too many experiments produced results the hypothesis could not explain. Still, many of the concepts were correct and are included in the theory of Wave–particle duality. The theory was not shown to be fundamentally incorrect, just incomplete.

      The other hypotheses you cite were not developed using the scientific method. They were conjured up (philosophy - not science) before the scientific method came into use.

      It appears that you cannot identify any "scientific theory" that has been shown to be fundamentally incorrect (i.e., you have not shown us a pig that can fly).

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    14. David Shormann wrote: <<<< And please, don't say spontaneous generation, you already said that was superstition, even though it really was an accepted scientific theory for a time. >>>>

      Repeating false claims will not make them true and not convince anyone who uses a little bit of critical thinking. What a joke - theory indeed. Nonsense.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< I think Texas schoolchildren should ponder these things, too, don't you? >>>>

      Texas children need to be taught science, not superstition. Evolution is the only scientific theory that explains the diversity of species. All other hypotheses invoke supernatural forces (i.e., they are not science but religious beliefs).

      People have the right to believe what they wish (including creationism). However, I do object to those that use propaganda and misrepresent facts to support their beliefs.

      Delete
    15. Hi Ed,
      Evolution is a hypothesis regarding common descent. Likewise, you can have a hypothesis regarding uncommon descent. Both have a religious (faith-based) component, but if you focus on just the hypotheses, you can test that scientifically. However, if you exclude the presentation of one hypothesis in favor of the other, and present it as a "just so story", you run the risk of turning it into a faith-based argument and possibly violating the Establishment Clause.

      Have you read Altenburg 16 yet, written by evolutionist Suzan Mazur? From p. 34: "Basically I don't think anybody knows how evolution works."

      And from p. 83: "Darwinism and the neo-Darwinian synthesis, last dusted off 70 years ago, actually hinder discovery of the mechanism of evolution."

      And from p. 257: "She [Lynn Margulis] sees natural selection as 'neither the source of heritable novelty nor the entire evolutionary process' and has pronounced neo-Darwinism 'dead', since there's no adequate evidence in the literature that random mutations result in new species"

      Some people are thinking critically about these things, are you?

      Delete
    16. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Evolution is a hypothesis regarding common descent.>>>>

      Why should I believe your assertion when it is contradicted by nearly every biologist in the world, the national academies of each of the developed countries, and the US courts. You can repeat this false claim all you want and it will still be false.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Likewise, you can have a hypothesis regarding uncommon descent. Both have a religious (faith-based) component, >>>>

      Nonsense. The courts and nearly every biologist state that the theory of evolution is science and the others are religion. Again you repeat a claim but have no facts to support the claim.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< However, if you exclude the presentation of one hypothesis in favor of the other, >>>>

      There is one theory, the theory of evolution (defined as science by the courts). The other "hypotheses" are religious based, fact baseless, and outside the realm of science.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Have you read Altenburg 16 yet, ... Some people are thinking critically about these things, are you.>>>

      I do not need to read every book or article on a scientific theory, especially those that challenge settled science (be a waste of time like reading a article about why the geocentric theory is still viable - nonsense). I spend the time necessary to find rational answers and identify the claims like those you post as false and baseless.

      Delete
    17. Hi Ed,
      You are getting confused here. You don't disagree with my statement that evolution is a hypothesis regarding common descent, you agree with it! In science, hypotheses are tested by doing experiments. Therefore, what I am saying is evolution is testable, you can do experiments to test for common descent. That's what Lenski's E-coli experiment is about, for example.

      Sorry, but the claims I am posting are not false and baseless.

      Delete
    18. David Shormann wrote: <<<< You don't disagree with my statement that evolution is a hypothesis regarding common descent, >>>>

      Your statement is untrue. I have always referred to evolution as a "scientific theory" as defined by the National Academies of Science, as do the US courts, nearly every biologist and the vast majority of scientists world wide.

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< Sorry, but the claims I am posting are not false and baseless. >>>>

      Previously you wrote "What is a hoax is ACGW (anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming) where fossil fuel combustion is hyped as the cause."

      Hoax: something intended to deceive or defraud

      In this statement, you are claiming that nearly every climatologist in the world is lying with the intent to deceive the world. Your statement is patently false.

      Previously you wrote "Since evolutionism makes no predictions about future events, "
      This statement is false and baseless; see http://nationalacademies.org/evolution/TheoryOrFact.html

      You dismiss any statements by courts, scientific organizations, and the vast majority of scientists with which you disagree. You appear to be an authority unto yourself.

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    19. What a beat-down. Science and reason wins again! Nice job Ed.

      Remember, when religion ruled, we called it the "Dark Ages."

      Delete
    20. Hi Ed,
      A scientific theory is built on hypotheses that can be tested through experimentation.

      I am definitely not an authority unto myself. However, you have made it abundantly clear that you believe science advances by court cases and majority rule. Dream on.

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    21. David Shormann wrote: <<<< I am definitely not an authority unto myself. >>>>

      • You dismiss the decisions of the federal courts.
      • You dismiss the statements of the National Academies on the theory of evolution.
      • You dismiss the statements of nearly every biologist in the world.
      • You dismiss the statements of nearly every climatologist in the world.
      • You dismiss the statements of the National Academies on climate change.
      • You dismiss the statements of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
      • You dismiss the statements of the national academies of nearly every country in the world.
      • You dismiss the statements of the nearly scientific organization (e.g., American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society) in the world.
      • You dismiss the statements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

      In summary, you dismiss the statements of nearly every one of the most knowledgeable and prominent scientist and organizations in the world.

      If you are not an authority unto yourself, is there any authority that you do accept?

      I expect you will fail to answer this question as you have failed to provide rational answers to any of the questions I have posted.

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    22. No he doesn't. You aren't allowed to make things up.

      Again, I have provided an example of a discovery that would disprove Evolution.

      Why can't you provide one that would disprove Creationism?

      Delete
  61. Still haven't answered ANY of the questions posed? Why?

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  62. David Shormann wrote previously: <<<< What is a hoax is ACGW (anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming) where fossil fuel combustion is hyped as "the" cause." >>>>

    As I noted in a previous post: “That is clearly an assertion that nearly every climate scientist in the world is deliberately attempting to deceive and defraud the public. ”

    Your assertion that nearly every climatologist In the world is a liar is slanderous.
    Are you willing to use any means to support your ideology?
    Have you no sense of decency?

    As usual, I do not expect you to answer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ed,
      You defined a hoax as something intended to deceive or defraud, so, no, of course I don't think every climatologist in the world is a liar, but I do think a lot of them are deceived.

      And by the way, scientists don't "dismiss", they question. I'm not "dismissing" anything, but I am skeptical. Isn't it okay to be skeptical in your view?

      Delete
    2. David Shormann wrote: <<<< You defined a hoax as something intended to deceive or defraud,>>>>

      Unlike you, I do not define terms so they promote my ideology. The definition I posted came from dictionary.com and the following is from Merriam-Webster:
      to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< … so, no, of course I don't think every climatologist in the world is a liar, but I do think a lot of them are deceived. >>>>

      So you believe that the US National Academies scientists (the most knowledgeable and capable scientists in the country), nearly every climatologist in the world, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, national academies of nearly every country in the world, nearly every scientific organization (e.g., American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society) in the world, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the governments of nearly every country in the world have been deceived but you have not?

      David Shormann wrote: <<<< I'm not "dismissing" anything, but I am skeptical.”

      Previously David Shormann wrote: <<<< What is a hoax is ACGW (anthropogenic, catastrophic, global warming) where fossil fuel combustion is hyped as "the" cause. >>>>

      When you unconditionally assert that something is a fraud intended to deceive, you are dismissing the science behind AGW.

      Still no answer (as I expected) to whether you accept any authorities other than your own opinion.

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    3. Hi Ed,
      Of course I accept the opinion of other authorities. But what does that have to do with science? Science is about asking questions and being skeptical.

      Delete
    4. David Shormann wrote: <<<< Science is about asking questions and being skeptical. >>>>

      Being skeptical about new hypotheses is rational. Being skeptical about accepted science (e.g., that geocentric model of the universe is not compatible with known facts, that the earth is not flat) is irrational.

      Being skeptical about the consensus of the most knowledgeable and qualified scientists in a particular field is irrational unless your qualifications put you in the same class.

      How many papers have you had published in the fields of AGW and the theory of evolution?

      Why do you feel qualified to contradict the statements and findings of nearly every one of the most knowledgeable and qualified scientists in the world?

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