Author Topic: Public Charter Schools Teaching Creationism And Right-Wing Propaganda In Texas  (Read 14399 times)

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Offline Astreja

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That sounds rather suspicious in itself, as if the textbook was trying to placate creationists.  It's been many years since I read a biology textbook, so can someone with more current knowledge of school textbooks add insight here?

I just dug out my BIO 101 book from last semester.  It defines microevolution as change in allele frequencies in a population over generations.  Macroevolution is defined as large-scale evolutionary change, such as the formation of a new species.  The book never described it as micro vs macro, but rather that macroevolution is the result of microevolution's accumulation.  This comes from the 2013 McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc textbook.

Thanks for the info, Rev.  I wasn't sure if microevolution and macroevolution were indeed valid terms or just something the ID lobby made up.  Interesting that biology clearly recognizes that myriad small changes add up to big ones such as speciation, while many ID apologists and YECs expect speciation to happen in giant leaps with no intermediary stages.
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Offline shnozzola

Bible Student,
           I'd like us to take a step back and look at this debate objectively.   I was going to post a video from Bill Nye of CNN where he gave a scathing lecture to folks that ignore evolution.  Beyond scathing really.  I was surprised how tough he was, wondering if he is one of the regulars at this website.  :)  Anyway, I am wondering if your position has moved from the posts in this debate, the links, the videos, etc., or if your position is steadfast, no matter what we present?

It is an interesting thing to watch, wondering if and when we quietly change our opinions, all of us not liking to admit we are considering new possibilities.  I certainly have changed mine, but I was never afraid of not believing, maybe more afraid of not searching for truth.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Thanks for the info, Rev.  I wasn't sure if microevolution and macroevolution were indeed valid terms or just something the ID lobby made up.  Interesting that biology clearly recognizes that myriad small changes add up to big ones such as speciation, while many ID apologists and YECs expect speciation to happen in giant leaps with no intermediary stages.
It is, isn't it?  It's much like what BibleStudent is doing here, taking legitimate terms such as hypothesis and misapplying them to suit his biases (such as by using them on explanations which have a much higher level of certainty than the word hypothesis implies).  The main question in my mind is whether he's doing it intentionally or not.  If his biases are deep enough, he might not realize that he's doing it.

Offline Quesi

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This is just all so silly.  I'm sitting here trying to imagine the hoops that you need to jump through to support your scriptures in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Last night I was watching tv with my daughter.  They were talking about a star that is 6000 light years away.  I quizzed my 7 year old, and asked her if the scientists were seeing what was going on with that star right now.  She said "No!  They are seeing what happened to that star 6000 years ago!"  I asked her why, and she said that it took 6000 years for the light to travel to earth, so the scientists were actually seeing stuff that happened in the past.  I beamed. 

Of course 6 thousand light years is not very far.  Scientists can look back billions of years into the observable universe.

So what do monotheists need to do to maintain their faith, based on stories that were written by people who thought the earth was flat and who didn't even know that our sun was a star? 

Well, they basically fall into two camps.

The Young Earth Camp:

*  The scientists are lying because they hate god.
*  There is a global, multi-generational conspiracy of scientists who hate god who are trying to trick us.
*  The scientists are wrong and are not as smart as the believers are.
*  The devil is deceiving the scientists and making them think they see stuff that isn't real. 


The Science and Faith are Compatible Camp:

*  Look at how big and wonderful the universe is.  God sure is great, huh? [1]
*  It is a great mystery. 

Am I missing anything here?  Theists?  It seems like it is so much work to try and cling to these ancient myths.  And yet, theists have devised a whole bunch of strategies that allow them to do so. 
 1. God sure went to a lot of trouble to create a lot of stuff that we wouldn't find out about for a long time, didn't He?  What was his motivation?  And if he created this whole universe for us, why are we such a small, insignificant part of it?

Offline Quesi

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Oh.  And for the folks who fall into the Science and Faith are Compatible Camp, I have to re-post this wonderful video by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

If I believed in a god, he would be a lot like Dr. Tyson.  Really smart.  Passionate.  But able to take incredibly complex concepts, and present them in such a clear and simple way, enabling everyone to understand.

I mean, if God presented his explanations this clearly, then there would be no reason to debate whether He wants us to kill homosexuals and disobedient children, or love them.  There would be no reason to have a Young Earth Camp and a Science and Faith are Compatible Camp. 




Why can't God be as clear as Dr. Tyson? 

Offline screwtape

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http://www.evolutionnews.org

whomever runs this website are horrible people.  Truly Evil.  Liars of the lowest order.
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Offline BibleStudent

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They're more than just mere hypotheses.  The word hypothesis implies, if not strongly implies, that it isn't backed by evidence, and those articles - found off of the first two pages of a Google search - are backed by a lot of evidence.  If I had been so inclined, I could have found dozens of articles instead of just three.  And that's what really matters in science, how much evidence backs a proposed explanation.  If there's a lot of evidence in favor of something, and I believe there is plenty when it comes to snakes descending from lizards, then it doesn't work to try to dismiss it as a mere hypothesis, as if it were nothing but the author's conclusions.

The reason the question of snake evolution isn't fully settled is not because scientists seriously doubt that snakes descended from lizards, but because we don't have enough information (yet) to fully trace the line which that descent took.  We face a similar problem in tracing the line of our own descent from the primate family, but that doesn't mean that scientists seriously doubt that humans descended from primates.  So trying to hammer a science textbook because it says that scientists know that snakes descended from lizards, when in fact scientists do know that snakes descended from lizards, doesn't exactly strike me as reasonable.  And trying to suggest that the question of snake origins isn't settled - implying that they aren't actually sure of whether snakes are descended from lizards, even though that's not what the actual articles are saying - doesn't strike me as reasonable either.

There's nothing wrong with being skeptical of information that you aren't sure of, but trying to present the information that you do have in a manner that makes it look like it supports your skepticism when it really doesn't tends to undercut your argument.  You don't look like someone who isn't sure but is looking for more information, you look like someone who is bound and determined to draw specific conclusions from the information you do have regardless of how much you have to...'massage' it to make it fit those conclusions.

Let me ask you a simple question. Do you consider it possible, for example, that a new discovery in the fossil record could reveal that snakes actually evolved from different ancestors? The pylogenetic tree undergoes changes on a regular basis and it wouldn’t be the first time that science had to amend a hypothesis to recognize previously unknown information.   

Offline BibleStudent

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Thanks for the info, Rev.  I wasn't sure if microevolution and macroevolution were indeed valid terms or just something the ID lobby made up.  Interesting that biology clearly recognizes that myriad small changes add up to big ones such as speciation, while many ID apologists and YECs expect speciation to happen in giant leaps with no intermediary stages.
It is, isn't it?  It's much like what BibleStudent is doing here, taking legitimate terms such as hypothesis and misapplying them to suit his biases (such as by using them on explanations which have a much higher level of certainty than the word hypothesis implies).  The main question in my mind is whether he's doing it intentionally or not.  If his biases are deep enough, he might not realize that he's doing it.

I could insert jaimehlers where Biblestudent appears in your comment and be just as suspicious of your bias.

Offline BibleStudent

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Bible Student,
           I'd like us to take a step back and look at this debate objectively.   I was going to post a video from Bill Nye of CNN where he gave a scathing lecture to folks that ignore evolution.  Beyond scathing really.  I was surprised how tough he was, wondering if he is one of the regulars at this website.  :)  Anyway, I am wondering if your position has moved from the posts in this debate, the links, the videos, etc., or if your position is steadfast, no matter what we present?

It is an interesting thing to watch, wondering if and when we quietly change our opinions, all of us not liking to admit we are considering new possibilities.  I certainly have changed mine, but I was never afraid of not believing, maybe more afraid of not searching for truth.

What exactly is it that you think I need to learn? Like others here, you seem to be taking the position that I am a denier of the entire ToE. Where does that come from?

Offline BibleStudent

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This is just all so silly.  I'm sitting here trying to imagine the hoops that you need to jump through to support your scriptures in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Have you ever even completed an undergraduate course in theology? I am not attempting to antagonize you by asking that question…..I am genuinely interested to know.

Offline screwtape

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Let me ask you a simple question. Do you consider it possible, for example, that a new discovery in the fossil record could reveal that snakes actually evolved from different ancestors? The pylogenetic tree undergoes changes on a regular basis and it wouldn’t be the first time that science had to amend a hypothesis to recognize previously unknown information.

You are trying to disguise dishonesty as healthy skepticism.

Of course new information would change things.  That is the whole point.  But until that new tidbit of data appears, this is the best explanation we have. But rather than acknowledge that, you are trying to make that sound like what we know is so weak and so flimsey that it should not be taught. 

Try showing this level of skepticism for ID. That would be great.
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Offline screwtape

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just a bit on the 4 "predictions" of ID, from 2010.
http://nondiscovery.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/intelligent-design-does-not-make-predictions-and-is-not-science/

Quote
Recently, Casey Luskin wrote a post discussing how ID proponents test their theory in real world situations.  Luskin provides a short list of four items (is that the most he could come up with?) that are supposed predictions of ID.  Lets take them one at a time:
(continues)
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Offline BibleStudent

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You are trying to disguise dishonesty as healthy skepticism.

Of course new information would change things.  That is the whole point.  But until that new tidbit of data appears, this is the best explanation we have. But rather than acknowledge that, you are trying to make that sound like what we know is so weak and so flimsey that it should not be taught. 

Try showing this level of skepticism for ID. That would be great.

Then don’t you agree that those findings should be presented that way rather than as proof of something in a high school text book?

Offline shnozzola

What exactly is it that you think I need to learn? Like others here, you seem to be taking the position that I am a denier of the entire ToE. Where does that come from?

First, my question was just whether you were willing to change your position.  After posting here over time, my questions probably come across as more of a challenge than you like.  That's WWGHA.

Second, in your reference to snakes and lizards, and whichever way evolution changed species, you say -

Quote
This “story” (when examined carefully) claims that these alleged useless hind legs were present on this poor creature for anywhere from 4million to 22 million years !!!

Using the words "poor creature" and your quotation marks at the end of the sentence mean (to me) it seems you may be underestimating the time needed for evolution, that, like many creationists, you expect to see quick changes for evolution to make sense, or maybe more importantly for the idea of a creator to make sense.  Do you think god physically produced a lizard and a snake at one time during history?  I do not.

Here's a link with the top ten useless human body parts:
http://www.sciencechannel.com/life-earth-science/10-useless-organs.htm

This may not be as impressive as a species with useless or semi useless legs, but does give evidence for evolution.
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Offline screwtape

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Then don’t you agree that those findings should be presented that way rather than as proof of something in a high school text book?

I agree that many highschool text books suck.  A large part of the reason for that is because of the political nature of how they are written.  Unfortunately, people sympathetic to ID have a huge say in that.[1]  And in most cases, they err in the opposite direction. 

So I am not going to get too torqued up over a nit-picky detail where they said "proved" instead of "best explanation so far" when they are so often saying absolutley false and borderline crazy things instead. Your example is accurate, but silly and pedantic in the greater scheme of things.

 1. buttholes in texas, for example.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/education/texas-education-board-flags-biology-textbook-over-evolution-concerns.html?_r=0
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/how-texas-inflicts-bad-textbooks-on-us/?pagination=false
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Offline BibleStudent

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Do you think god physically produced a lizard and a snake at one time during history?

I do not know for certain how snakes and lizards came to be. They may have evolved just as the scientific literature indicates. That is a possibility.

Offline wheels5894

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Do you think god physically produced a lizard and a snake at one time during history?

I do not know for certain how snakes and lizards came to be. They may have evolved just as the scientific literature indicates. That is a possibility.

Right, but evolution provides with the best explanation we have now and until anything turns up that changes that we do at least have some explanation.
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Offline BibleStudent

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Your example is accurate, but silly and pedantic in the greater scheme of things.

I agree that an isolated incident of inaccuracy in a high school text book does not necessitate the need to upset an entire curriculum. I used it as example to counter the OP and point out that naturalists will bark up a storm about inaccuracies in curriculums when it is perceived to somehow threaten their beliefs.....but remain ignorant and silent when the naturalistic teachings contain inaccuracies. It's not only hypocritical but it is highly suggestive of a militant mentality that seeks to use science as a means to invalidate God. That is NOT what science is about.

Offline shnozzola

   I agree, Bible Student, that is not what science is about.  Science is set up to not ever be closed minded like many human endeavors are.  I have no problem with a deist's type of being that set evolution up.  I disagree with the idea, but how would I know.  When it comes down to it, reality may have started the day before I was born, and god is spoon-feeding me everything like a computer game.  (Ridiculous, but...)

   Part of the computer game is my responses.  The response I have these days is despising the way atheists are treated - remember, most places on our little planet YOU have the numbers, and the death threats.  I've typed it a hundred times here - what really set me off is 9/11, and the danger theists are presenting to the world.  IMO, it makes the time spent here much more important than my wife can understand.  :)
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Offline jaimehlers

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Let me ask you a simple question. Do you consider it possible, for example, that a new discovery in the fossil record could reveal that snakes actually evolved from different ancestors? The pylogenetic tree undergoes changes on a regular basis and it wouldn’t be the first time that science had to amend a hypothesis to recognize previously unknown information.
Of course it's possible.  The question is not whether something's possible - meaning that you can quantify the chances of it happening as greater than 0%, no matter how minutely - but whether it's likely - meaning that the chances of it happening are meaningful.  For example, take a person being hit by a meteorite.  According to National Geographic, there is only one person in human history who's been confirmed to have been hit by a meteorite.  As Michael Reynolds, an astronomer cited in that article, says, "You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time."

So the question is not whether it's possible that someone might find evidence in the fossil record that shows that snakes evolved from a different ancestor, but just how likely it is that someone will.  However, that's not the reason you're bringing this up.  You're bringing it up so you can 'prove' that science textbooks are inaccurate, even though what you're referring to is pure semantics.  Your whole point was that the textbook said that scientists knew something was true, and to cast doubt on whether they knew it for sure.  That kind of anal retentive nitpicking doesn't really accomplish anything.

I could insert jaimehlers where Biblestudent appears in your comment and be just as suspicious of your bias.
No, you couldn't.  You know why?  Because there's a key difference between you and I.  You are not expressing this skepticism out of a genuine desire to improve science, at least as far as I can tell.  You are doing it so you can avoid having to seriously acknowledge that your beliefs - based on an ancient holy book written by people who knew a tiny fraction of what we know today - might not be correct.  I wouldn't be surprised if you gave lip service to that, but I don't think you've given it any real consideration.  In short, you're only interested in pointing out possible flaws so you can maintain the Biblical beliefs you were taught as a child with as little change as possible.  You have a vested interest in those Biblical beliefs being correct.

When I read something in science, I keep in mind that it's just the latest word.  Experiments or evidence next year, or next century, might show it to be wrong.  But until someone actually does show it to be wrong, there is no point in assuming it is.  That's why trying to insinuate that I'm just as biased as you isn't going to work - because I don't have a vested interest in a specific factoid of science being right.  Say someone were to find evidence that snakes weren't actually descended from lizards, sometime in the future.  If that happens, then as long as the evidence supports it, I'm okay with it.  It doesn't make the scientific process wrong, it just shows that we improved our knowledge.

For that matter, if someone were to come up with real evidence that showed that something came and tinkered with life on Earth in the past, designing it in some way, then as long as they have evidence, I'm okay with it.  But without the evidence, any such claim is nothing but speculation.  That's where intelligent design falls short and where it will continue to fall short - because it has no actual evidence of an intelligent designer.  We can't base knowledge on things that people would like to be true, or think might be true, or think might not be true - we have to stick to what the evidence actually shows is true.  So when we find additional evidence, we have to fit that in - and if it means coming up with new theories, so be it.

Before you respond, consider how actual genetic engineers work.  They take organisms that have desired traits and use something, usually tailored viruses, to transplant the gene for that trait into another, completely unrelated organism.  More to the point, it isn't a gradual change that occurs over hundreds or thousands of generations, the way evolution works.  That's the kind of thing I'd expect to see from an intelligent designer - making significant changes over a very short period of time (from one generation to the next), and continuing to make changes as needed over subsequent generations, as well as acting to conserve those changes so that subsequent generations aren't likely to wipe them out.  Yet in our own fossil history, we see nothing like that.  Instead, we see exactly what we'd expect of natural selection as predicted by evolution.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 02:10:02 PM by jaimehlers »

Offline Willie

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Then don’t you agree that those findings should be presented that way rather than as proof of something in a high school text book?

I agree that many highschool text books suck.  A large part of the reason for that is because of the political nature of how they are written.  Unfortunately, people sympathetic to ID have a huge say in that.[1]  And in most cases, they err in the opposite direction. 

So I am not going to get too torqued up over a nit-picky detail where they said "proved" instead of "best explanation so far" when they are so often saying absolutley false and borderline crazy things instead. Your example is accurate, but silly and pedantic in the greater scheme of things.
 1. buttholes in texas, for example.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/education/texas-education-board-flags-biology-textbook-over-evolution-concerns.html?_r=0
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/jun/21/how-texas-inflicts-bad-textbooks-on-us/?pagination=false

They didn't say "proved". They said "know", which is not exactly the same thing.

Offline Boots

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So now you see why we teach science in schools and not creationism of its other name of Intelligent Desing - because they have no evidence to present.

That is your opinion and you are entitled to it....but there are many others who would disagree with you and until it can be demonstrated with 100% certainty that a Creator does not exist, no one has a right to exclude that possibility from a school's curriculum.

Yes there is.  Because there is no evidence to support one.  If you honestly believe that any hypothesis with any possibility whatsoever should be taught in the schools, then you should also be advocating for the teaching of the hypothesis of alien life seeding earth (among many others).

Are you?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Intelligent Design theory does not posit a specific God or creator so your "book" criticism is out of place.
Intentionally so, given that the people who crafted it all believe in a specific creator-god.  So let's drop the pretense, shall we?

Quote from: BibleStudent
That is your opinion and you are entitled to it....but there are many others who would disagree with you and until it can be demonstrated with 100% certainty that a Creator does not exist, no one has a right to exclude that possibility from a school's curriculum.
And since it just so happens that science can't demonstrate anything with 100% certainty - as I'm sure you were quite aware when you posted this - it's clear that you think that we should include the 'possibility' of a 'creator' in a school's curriculum.  However, this opinion of yours demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of science.  It is not about presenting things that are merely possible, because there are many, many things that are possible - including, I'm sure, any number of things that you would find utterly unpalatable[1].  It's about presenting things that have actual evidence to support them, which intelligent design "theory" does not.
 1. I can't help but wonder how you would react if American Hindus insisted that students should be taught about polytheistic 'creators', for example.

Offline Boots

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Are you suggesting that the addition of religious doctrine into science aids scientific discovery?
No, I am not suggesting that. However, Intelligent Design Theory examines the biological machine work of living organisms so it certainly has scientific applications. It is a science after all.

this is such complete and utter bull-caca that I formally accuse you of lying.

One critical aspect of a scientific theory is falisifiabilty.  ID is not falsifiable.  It is NOT SCIENCE.
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Offline Truth OT

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There is simply no reason to fully dismiss the possibility of a Creator.

I won't totally disagree with this conclusion. There is a possibility of not only a creator maker, but multiple makers. The issues with this possibility if one wishes to postulate a deity are as follows:

a. it's only a possibility
b. we have no way of identifying what the maker or makers are (were).
c. the maker may not be a who as opposed to some whats
d. the makers need not be sentient
e. the 'making' could very well have been an unintended or accidental consequence
f. we have no reason to invoke intelligent design and assume a purpose

To simplify it, if we make the assumption that there were makers or a maker, there is no reason to equate that substance or entity with any specific god that's ever been proposed.

Offline wheels5894

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Yes but Biblestudent was supposed to be showing how it was science. Eventually he came up with 3 predictions that it makes but all three were arrived, by the look of, by looking to the science already done and saying their data predicted it. Except the flagellum of course, which we all know has been soundly shown to be a false idea.

So, Biblestudent, here's the thing. You say

Quote
No, I am not suggesting that. However, Intelligent Design Theory examines the biological machine work of living organisms so it certainly has scientific applications. It is a science after all.
which is true to the extent that biology does just the same. What your statement does not explain is why we need ID to do what biology already does? That only makes sense if you are saying that ID should be allowed to pretend to make scientific pronouncements on the the basis of what it calls science. Of course, then, it has gone too far.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline BibleStudent

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Of course it's possible.  The question is not whether something's possible - meaning that you can quantify the chances of it happening as greater than 0%, no matter how minutely - but whether it's likely - meaning that the chances of it happening are meaningful.  For example, take a person being hit by a meteorite.  According to National Geographic, there is only one person in human history who's been confirmed to have been hit by a meteorite.  As Michael Reynolds, an astronomer cited in that article, says, "You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time."
So the question is not whether it's possible that someone might find evidence in the fossil record that shows that snakes evolved from a different ancestor, but just how likely it is that someone will.  However, that's not the reason you're bringing this up.  You're bringing it up so you can 'prove' that science textbooks are inaccurate, even though what you're referring to is pure semantics.  Your whole point was that the textbook said that scientists knew something was true, and to cast doubt on whether they knew it for sure.  That kind of anal retentive nitpicking doesn't really accomplish anything.

No. Science is not open to the kind of ambiguity you’re defending. Words have meanings and when arranged in a sentence they collectively convey a thought, an opinion, a fact, etc. One word out of place can have consequences and they are not open to personal meaning and interpretation. And, frankly, of all the places for someone to be advocating anything less than fully supported claims that have been accurately articulated, you should know that this forum tolerates very little of that….at least for us theists who participate here. I have experienced firsthand how one word or a short string of words can be turned against the person writing them because they were taken at face value.

You take the example I gave and add four, five, or six more instances of inaccurate claims made in the same textbook and what are the potential consequences? What occurs is that a student (or students) will begin to mentally develop an overall impression of the validity of the theory based on how all of the dots seem so well connected. Is that what you support? Feeding junior high, senior high, and college aged students lessons that contain proven claims that are really based on “close-to-being-true” findings? If so, that is rather disturbing.

I had asked my daughter to explain how she interpreted the snake-from-lizards claims in the book. She indicated that she took it to mean that science had proven snakes came from lizards. That’s just wrong. No one KNOWS how snakes came into being. I have read numerous articles and papers over the last several years that described how science had to radically alter its previous findings based on new discoveries and information….not specifically with regards to snakes but in other areas.

It is completely appropriate to indicate that science believes it has a strong case for snakes-from-lizards but to take it to the extreme that science KNOWS that snakes evolved from lizards is unverifiable with the information we have and thus it becomes a false claim. Period.

You can try and defend your position until the sun burns up but, frankly, I find it rather telling that you would condone errors and inaccuracies in a science text the way you are. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the scientific community to have people such as yourself promoting what many might label as deceptive and irresponsible.

Lastly, if you feel I am taking an isolated incident and blowing it way out of proportion then please do a Google search using combinations of the following words: “evolution” “textbook” “fraud” “science” and “lies.

Offline BibleStudent

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So now you see why we teach science in schools and not creationism of its other name of Intelligent Desing - because they have no evidence to present.

That is your opinion and you are entitled to it....but there are many others who would disagree with you and until it can be demonstrated with 100% certainty that a Creator does not exist, no one has a right to exclude that possibility from a school's curriculum.

Yes there is.  Because there is no evidence to support one.  If you honestly believe that any hypothesis with any possibility whatsoever should be taught in the schools, then you should also be advocating for the teaching of the hypothesis of alien life seeding earth (among many others).

Are you?

No evidence? There is a ton of evidence that a ton of people have determined makes a reasonable argument for a Creator.

If you can provide evidence compelling enough to make a reasonable argument for alien seeds the please share it.

Abiogenesis is being taught as the likely origin-of-life hypothesis. Where is the evidence for that?

Offline BibleStudent

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One critical aspect of a scientific theory is falisifiabilty.  ID is not falsifiable.  It is NOT SCIENCE.

Yes it is.