Friday, February 1, 2013
GOP Anti-Science State Legislators Are At It Again!
In their never-ending battle to insert religion into science class, various GOP state legislators apparently believe the most pressing problem their constituents face is not getting enough religion in their lives, so they're trying, by stealth, to slip it into public school science classes. Not content with the freedom to instruct their children in their religious beliefs in their homes and places of worships, these anti-Constitution GOPers believe that introducing this bound-to-fail legislation will somehow win the day, and no one will notice that it is unlawful. A perfect definition of idiocy--doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
"Fresh legislation has been put forward in Colorado, Missouri and Montana. In Oklahoma, there are two bills before the state legislature that include potentially creationist language. And Arizona as well, is encouraging the teaching of religion in science classes.
A watchdog group, the National Center for Science Education, said that the proposed laws were framed around the concept of “academic freedom”. It argues that religious motives are disguised by the language of encouraging more open debate in school classrooms. However, the areas of the curriculum highlighted in the bills tend to center on the teaching of evolution or other areas of science that clash with traditionally religious interpretations of the world.
Montana Rep. Clayton Fiscus, R-Billings, said evolution isn’t settled science and called it a “monumental leap” to believe it is true. His bill would allow teachers – if they want – to address perceived weaknesses in evolution studies in the classroom. “This is just a bill to instruct what we have presently in the science on the origins of life,” Fiscus said. “We should teach what we do know. We should also teach what we don’t know.”
To answer Rep. Fiscus, R-Billings:
Is evolution "just a theory?"
In detective novels, a "theory" is little more than an educated guess, often based on a few circumstantial facts. In science, the word "theory" means much more. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world.
The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
Is there "evidence against" contemporary evolutionary theory?
No. There are still many puzzles in biology about the particular pathways of the evolutionary process and how various species are related to one another. However, these puzzles neither invalidate nor challenge Darwin's basic theory of "descent with modification" nor the theory's present form that incorporates and is supported by the genetic sciences. Contemporary evolutionary theory provides the conceptual framework in which these puzzles can be addressed and points toward ways to solve them.
Is there a growing body of scientists who doubt that evolution happened?
No. The consensus among scientists in many fields, and especially those who study the subject, is that contemporary evolutionary theory provides a robust, well-tested explanation for the history of life on earth and for the similarity within the diversity of existing organisms. Very few scientists doubt that evolution happened, although there is lively ongoing inquiry about the details of how it happened. Of the few scientists who criticize contemporary evolutionary theory, most do no research in the field, and so their opinions have little significance for scientists who do.
Why do these people waste their time and their states' monies in pursuing this idiocy?