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New evolution spat in U.S. schools goes to court


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#1    __Kratos__

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 10:59 PM

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A new battle over teaching about man's origins in U.S. schools goes to court for the first time next week, pitting Christian conservatives against educators and scientists in a trial viewed as the biggest test of the issue since the late 1980s.

Eleven parents of students at a Pennsylvania high school are suing over the school district's decision to include "intelligent design" -- an alternative to evolution that involves a God-like creator -- in the curriculum of ninth-grade biology classes.

The parents and the     American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say the policy of the Dover Area School District in south-central Pennsylvania violates the constitutional separation of church and state, which forbids teaching religion in public schools.

They also argue that intelligent design is unscientific and has no place in a science curriculum.

Intelligent design holds that nature is so complex it must have been the work of an God-like creator rather than the result of natural selection, as argued by Charles Darwin in his 1859 Theory of Evolution.

The school board says there are "gaps" in evolution, which it emphasizes is a theory rather than established fact, and that students have a right to consider other views on the origins of life. In their camp is     President George W. Bush, who has said schools should teach evolution and intelligent design.

The Dover schools board says it does not teach intelligent design but simply makes students aware of its existence as an alternative to evolution. It denies intelligent design is "religion in disguise" and says it is a scientific theory.

The board is being represented by The Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit which says it uses litigation to promote "the religious freedom of Christians and time-honored family values."

The center did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The trial begins on Monday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is expected to last about five weeks.

"ORWELLIAN" EFFORTS

Dr. John West of the Discovery Institute, which sponsors research on intelligent design, said the case displayed the ACLU's "Orwellian" effort to stifle scientific discourse and objected to the issue being decided in court.

"It's a disturbing prospect that the outcome of this lawsuit could be that the court will try to tell scientists what is legitimate scientific inquiry and what is not," West said. "That is a flagrant assault on free speech."

Opponents including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Biology Teachers say intelligent design is an attempt by the Christian right to teach creationism -- the belief that God created the world -- into public schools under the guise of a theory that does not explicitly mention God. The Supreme Court banned the teaching of creationism in public schools in a 1987 ruling.

"Intelligent design is ultimately a science stopper," said Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Council for Science Education, a pro-evolution group backing the Dover parents.

"It's a political and religious movement that's trying to insinuate itself into the public schools," she said.

But the American public appears to back the school district.

At least 31 states are taking steps to teach alternatives to evolution. A CBS poll last November found 65 percent of Americans favor teaching creationism as well as evolution while 37 percent want creationism taught instead of evolution.

Fifty-five percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form, the poll found.

Earlier this month a top Roman Catholic cardinal critical of evolution branded scientific opponents of intelligent design intolerant and said there need not be a conflict between Darwin's and Christian views of life's origins.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, a top Church doctrinal expert and close associate of Pope Benedict, said Darwin's theory did not clash with a belief in God so long as scientists did not assert that pure chance accounted for everything from "the Big Bang to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony."
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Intelligent design is bullcrap for science. It holds no science just says a higher being is at work. Well can you tell me how you can prove that with facts? thumbsup.gif

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." ~Philip K. Dick

#2    Mekorig

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:22 PM

I agree whit you Kratos...again (weird isnt?)

What next? Teaching that Barney the Purple Dinosaur create the Universe? Its has the same scientific base than intelligent design.

Im an evil pinko UN slave liberal commie

I don't think any of these "The Vague Society of Nebulous Meanies are going to take over the world and light up a planet" theories worry too much about practical considerations like that. It's all about rousing ill-informed, paranoiac fear, not making sense.

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#3    artymoon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:24 PM

Evolution should not be the only theory that students are exposed to. Neither should intelligent design. They both should be given equal evaluation in the classroom along with other reasonable theories. And I do believe these two are reasonable. Let the students decide. I also think its kind of hard to teach someone a theory based on circumstantial evidence, in both cases. I personally believe the universe was intellectually designed or atleast kick started, and evolution is a just a natural progression of that event or events. But thats just my theory and I still have doubts sometimes. The truth is we may never know, but maybe thats a blessing in disguise.


#4    Talon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:28 PM

Oh my god, who are these lunatics? Science tells them a place will stay in the sky, the Earth orbits the Sun, and we indeed predict next weeks weather, and they beleive it. But tell them that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest a magical invisible fairy in the sky created the world, and rather all these bones and DNA suggest we are the rest of a billion years of mutations in animals, and they go insane.

And what is this obssession with 'theory not fact' rubbish! Gravity is a theory! The Earth being round is a theory! In fact humans being alive and wandering around rather than being brains in a vat being fed all our experiences through advanced technology it also a theory! Yet I don't many people saying any of these are not true. Theory is tyhe name given to any concept, EVEN those we beleive to absolutely true. Why? Because science, unlike religion, realises on evidence and reseach, and we leave don't label ANYTHING 'fact' in case there is new research and information to be added.
A far cry religion which takes for granted a 2000 year old book writen by cave people who thought thunder was an angry magical man in the sky rather than static electricity and ions.

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#5    Talon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:35 PM

Quote

Evolution should not be the only theory that students are exposed to. Neither should intelligent design. They both should be given equal evaluation in the classroom along with other reasonable theories. And I do believe these two are reasonable. Let the students decide. I also think its kind of hard to teach someone a theory based on circumstantial evidence, in both cases.


Circumstantial edvidence? How on earth can you say millions of fossils are circumstantial evidence, let alone DNA which every single life form is made from?! My god, you're happy for DNA to provide evidence that some guy raped a girl, but if DNA says your a 60% related to a rat and you go insane.

The case for Evolution has been researched and perfected over the last 150 years, and that research is so detailed, its still going on today to increase what we know of it.
Creationism is a theory based on a 2000 book written by a caveman who didn't even have the intellegence to use a toaster. And not once in that 2000 years has any research or evidence appeared to support it, barring 'signs' such as Jesus' face in people's toast, which I'm sorry, to me looks more like Shawn Conery.

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#6    artymoon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:41 PM

maybe it wasn't intelligent design, maybe something farted out the universe and didn't know. But something started something it always has always will. This is an argument no one will ever win. So I say teach it all and let the smart,stupid,religous,atheist,agnostic,etc. students decide for themselves.


#7    Talon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:46 PM

Well if we're going to teachg things without needing evidence then I agree with Mekorig, lets teach about Barney the Purple Dinosaur, at least it'll make class amusing since education doesn't seem to matter now.

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#8    artymoon

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:48 PM

-talon
so evolution should be the only thing taught. case closed, lets move on.


#9    Fluffybunny

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 11:56 PM

I never understood why so many people are so willing to believe the church's opinion on science when their record is so dismal.

Not to long ago, one could get drawn and quartered for so much as implying that the earth was not the center of the universe... Or that the moon was anything other than a perfect sphere...or that the stars we not perfect points of light in a spere surrounding the earth...or that the earth was not the center of the solar system...or that the earth wasn't flat...or that the earth was anything older than 9000 years old...or that dinosaurs existed...or that witches didn't deserve to be burned at the stake...

...It just goes on and on...and on...and on...

Religion has had the worst record in such things, and yet they are willing to kill, torture and kick people out of their own country to prove that they are right for enturies past the point that science has proven them wrong time and time again...

So here years after the church has batted .000 time and time again, they are still pushing their point that is based on magic and psuedo-science that has no basis in true science.  Furthermore, the religous right is deciding to horn in on an actual science class (that has no reason to be mixed with magical psuedo-science), which is just rediculous; no more than an attempt to force their religion on people.

I don't have a problem with the creation theory being placed along with every other religions creation story in a comparative religion class, but no way should it ever be in a science class.

My tax dollars should not pay to teach my kids religous magical lies.

The religous right needs to get out of others business and leave science to the scientist.

Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.

People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.

#10    Stellar

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 02:38 AM

Quote


Evolution should not be the only theory that students are exposed to. Neither should intelligent design. They both should be given equal evaluation in the classroom along with other reasonable theories.


I have no problem with evolution being portrayed in science class along other reasonable theories. ID and creationism, however, arent scientific theories. ID and creationism belong in religion class, not science class.

Quote


But thats just my theory and I still have doubts sometimes.


Thats not a theory at all, that's a belief.


"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent."

----Seraphina

#11    Mekorig

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 11:26 AM

I agree whit you Stellar. IF they tech Creationism and ID in religion class, as part of the Cristianity theme, i wouldnt have problems, but they are out of the science class.

Im an evil pinko UN slave liberal commie

I don't think any of these "The Vague Society of Nebulous Meanies are going to take over the world and light up a planet" theories worry too much about practical considerations like that. It's all about rousing ill-informed, paranoiac fear, not making sense.

--Jaylemurph


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#12    Stellar

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 11:53 AM

Creationism and ID belong in science class just as much as evolution and non-intelligent design belongs in church.

"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent."

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#13    bathory

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 12:06 PM

intelligent design is like the most retarded attempt at trying to make a political position appear to be scientific.

"UH WELL UH YOU SEE SOMETHING, POSSIBLEY GOD CREATED THE UNIVERSE...POSSIBLEY!, EVIDENCE? WHATS THAT?"


#14    Talon

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 12:41 PM

Quote

so evolution should be the only thing taught. case closed, lets move on.


So long as evolution is the only case with any evidence behind it, yes.

It seriously worries me that the most powerful country in the world is honestly thinking about teaching children in schools when their at the gulible age to by it, the idea that the world was created by a invisible man who lives in the clouds. And the only evidence to support this theory is thats what the cavemen beleived and dispite all the technology and research done since which proves its all rubbish some humans can't seem to leave the caves. Most powerful country on earth?! This seems more like the kind of theory tribes in the Amazon still running around with speers would be teaching their children.

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#15    bathory

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Posted 27 September 2005 - 06:36 AM

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t seriously worries me that the most powerful country in the world is honestly thinking about teaching children in schools when their at the gulible age to by it, the idea that the world was created by a invisible man who lives in the clouds. And the only evidence to support this theory is thats what the cavemen beleived and dispite all the technology and research done since which proves its all rubbish some humans can't seem to leave the caves. Most powerful country on earth?! This seems more like the kind of theory tribes in the Amazon still running around with speers would be teaching their children.


isn't it all state based though? I don't see a significant portion of the population jumping on the bandwagon anytime soon





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