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Author Topic:   Dover science teachers refuse to read ID disclaimer
Nic Tamzek
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 164 (174948)
01-08-2005 3:40 AM


Gotta love those science teachers. Spread this letter around!

NCSE news story

======================
To: Dr. Richard Nilsen

From: Bertha Spahr
Jennifer Miller
Robert Linker
Robert Eshbach
Leslie Prall
Brian Bahn
David Taylor
Vickie Davis

Date: January 6, 2005

Re: Reading Statement on Intelligent Design

We have individually reviewed the statement you presented yesterday for presentation to our students at the beginning of the Biology unit dealing with evolution. You have indicated that students may "opt-out" of this portion of the class and that they will be excused and monitored by an administrator. We respectfully exercise our right to "opt-out" of the statement portion of the class. We will relinquish the classroom to an administrator and we will monitor our own students. This request is based upon our considered opinion that reading the statement violates our responsibilities as professional educators as set forth in the Code of Professional Practice and Conduct for Educators promulgated by the Professional Standards and Practices Commission and found at 22 Pa. Code section 235.1 et.seq. As noted in the introductory paragraph of the Code, section 235.2 (a): "Generally, the responsibility for professional conduct rests with the individual professional educator." Further, the Code provides in section 235.2 (b): "This chapter makes explicit the values of the education profession. When individuals become educators in this Commonwealth, they make a moral commitment to uphold these values."

Central to the teaching act and our ethical obligation is the solemn responsibility to teach the truth. Section 235.10 (2) guides our relationships with students and provides that "The professional educator may not Knowingly and intentionally misrepresent subject matter or curriculum."

INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT SCIENCE. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT BIOLOGY. INTELLIGENT DESIGN IS NOT AN ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC THEORY.

I believe that if I as the classroom teacher read the required statement, my students will inevitably (and understandably) believe that Intelligent Design is a valid scientific theory, perhaps on par with the theory of evolution. That is not true. To refer the students to "Of Pandas and People" as if it is a scientific resource breaches my ethical obligation to provide them with scientific knowledge that is supported by recognized scientific proof or theory.

Reading the statement places us in violation of the following ethical obligations. Section 235.3 of the Code requires Professional educators to develop "sound educational policy" and obligates us "to implement that policy." Section 235.3 (b) makes it explicit that "Professional educators recognize their primary responsibility to the student and the development of the student's potential. Central to that development is the professional educator's valuing the pursuit of truth; devotion to excellence; acquisition of knowledge; and democratic principles." The same section goes on to provide: "Educators encourage and support the use of resources that best serve the interests and needs of students. Within the context of professional experience, the educator and the student together explore the challenge and the dignity of the human experience." Section 235.4 (b) (2) provides: "Professional educators shall be prepared, and legally certified, in their areas of assignment. Educators may not be assigned or willingly accept assignments they are not certified to fulfill." Section 235.5(b) (8) provides: "Professional educators shall be open-minded, knowledgeable and use appropriate judgement and communication skills when responding to an issue within the educational environment." Section 235.4 (b) (10) provides: "Professional educators shall exert reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions which interfere with learning or are harmful to the student's health and safety."
======================


Replies to this message:
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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 164 (174954)
01-08-2005 4:06 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18257
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 3 of 164 (175001)
01-08-2005 9:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Nic Tamzek
01-08-2005 3:40 AM


Perhaps the teachers should request equal time in Sunday School.

These science teachers are, quite simply, modern heros. The rules and regulations they cite seem strongly supportive of their position, but school district administrators have many ways of dealing with faculty they're unhappy with, and these teachers have put their jobs and security on the line.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Nic Tamzek, posted 01-08-2005 3:40 AM Nic Tamzek has not yet responded

    
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 3918 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 4 of 164 (175023)
01-08-2005 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Nic Tamzek
01-08-2005 3:40 AM


Go Teachers!
It's a pity these folks will probably lose their jobs for this. It might have been better to include why the statement by the Board was ludicrous. The statement is so easily shredded it wouldn't have taken much effort. Not that it would have made much difference in the final outcome, unfortunately, but at least they would have been on record.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Nic Tamzek, posted 01-08-2005 3:40 AM Nic Tamzek has not yet responded

  
Minnemooseus
Member
Posts: 3698
From: Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. (West end of Lake Superior)
Joined: 11-11-2001


Message 5 of 164 (175152)
01-09-2005 3:55 AM


Kenneth Miller author of Dover biology text
Kenneth Miller - Author of "Finding Darwin's God"

http://www.centredaily.com/mld/centredaily/living/10541558.htm

quote:
"People have an impatience about science," said Kenneth Miller, a Brown University biologist and author of the biology textbook used in Dover.

and

quote:
Miller, the Brown University biologist and textbook author, hopes the day it is taught in high school never arrives. "It's very clear that intelligent design has become a stalking horse," Miller said. "If these school boards had their druthers, they would teach Noah's flood and the 6,000-year-old design of the Earth.

Moose

This message has been edited by minnemooseus, 01-09-2005 03:56 AM


    
gengar
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 164 (175158)
01-09-2005 5:31 AM


Who writes this stuff?
I've been looking at the actual statement being read to students. Talk about screwed up English. My favorite paragraph:

Because Darwins Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

It looks like we have a 'he said','she said' situation here, where the first and last sentences were written by scientists, with the normal evilution bashing stuff inserted into the middle. Nice sugar coating, but it serves to make the whole completely incoherent. No wonder the teachers don't want to read it - it makes no sense!


Replies to this message:
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xevolutionist
Member (Idle past 4969 days)
Posts: 189
From: Salem, Oregon, US
Joined: 01-13-2005


Message 7 of 164 (176548)
01-13-2005 12:32 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by gengar
01-09-2005 5:31 AM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
Why is the truth "evilution" bashing? If evolution were a creditable theory why would "teachers" resist open dialogue that presented an opposing theory? That makes me wonder why evolution is still regarded as a theory, shouldn't it be relegated to the "unlkely hypothesis with no evidence" category?
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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 164 (176559)
01-13-2005 1:10 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by xevolutionist
01-13-2005 12:32 PM


If evolution were a creditable theory why would "teachers" resist open dialogue that presented an opposing theory?

Because the "opposing theory" isn't even a theory, and has no evidence in it's support? Because its presentation is not being suggested by persons with expertise in the sciences, but rather, by people with a religious axe to grind?

Were I a geography teacher, for instance, I'd resist attemts by an ideologically-driven school board to make me teach evidence that the Earth was flat, mostly because there is no such evidence, and that I would have enough in the curriculum as it is without wasting time on nonsense.

Intelligent design is nonsense. Literally. Teachers don't have enough time to cover legitimate science as it is; it's folly to expect them to clear out time to debunk intelligent design claptrap.

That makes me wonder why evolution is still regarded as a theory, shouldn't it be relegated to the "unlkely hypothesis with no evidence" category?

Since it's a theory supported by more evidence than the theory of relativity, and a theory we can observe and test in the lab, I see no reason why that should be the case.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18257
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 9 of 164 (176563)
01-13-2005 1:29 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by xevolutionist
01-13-2005 12:32 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
xevolutionist writes:

Why is the truth "evilution" bashing? If evolution were a creditable theory why would "teachers" resist open dialogue that presented an opposing theory?

Calling your side of the debate truth is why teachers resist any endorsement of Intelligent Design in science classrooms. Scientific theories do not represent truth. The theory of evolution is not truth. No scientific theory is truth. Scientific theories are tentatively held frameworks of understanding build around evidence, not truth.

The reason Intelligent Design is excluded from science classrooms is because it is not a scientific theory. That's not to say it can never become a scientific theory. All it need do is provide a tentative framework of understanding (in other words, a scientific theory, not truth) that interprets the evidence better than the theory of evolution.

The first step along the path to becoming a scientific theory is to identify some evidence that differentiates it from evolution. ID needs to devise an experiment, test or observation that would have outcome A if evolution were correct, and outcome B if ID were correct.
If outcome B then results, ID would have it's first supporting evidence.

But nothing like this has been done for ID so far, and the fact that most of its advocates are evangelical Christians rather than scientists (this is your cue to list Behe and Dembski in your response) is not a point in its favor. In most quarters ID is easily perceived for what it is: thinly disguised Biblical fundamentalism.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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xevolutionist
Member (Idle past 4969 days)
Posts: 189
From: Salem, Oregon, US
Joined: 01-13-2005


Message 10 of 164 (176585)
01-13-2005 3:01 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Percy
01-13-2005 1:29 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
As to the "truth" I was referring to the statement that evolution is not proven. Since any theory of evolution eventually boils down to the necessity of abiogenesis, which is impossible, there is only one credible theory left. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you eliminate the other possibilities the only one left must be the truth.

As to evolution being tested in a lab, I'd like to see those results. If there were any way of testing the accidental formation of everything theory, then it probably wouldn't be regarded as a theory, would it?

This message has been edited by xevolutionist, 01-13-2005 15:07 AM


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Replies to this message:
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CK
Member (Idle past 2173 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 11 of 164 (176588)
01-13-2005 3:10 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by xevolutionist
01-13-2005 3:01 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
quote:
Since any theory of evolution eventually boils down to the necessity of abiogenesis, which is impossible, there is only one credible theory left.

Really? That's a bit of a staggering leap - they do teach basic science where you are from?

quote:
If there were any way of testing the accidental formation of everything theory, then it probably wouldn't be regarded as a theory, would it?

Oh dear, they clearly DON'T teach science where you are from. If someone is not regarded as a theory - what does it become?

quote:
To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you eliminate the other possibilities the only one left must be the truth.

no he never said that at all, Holmes said "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

So have we elimated the impossible? most of the stuff in the bible is impossible so to a christian, the atheist position (which they find improbable) must be correct.

This message has been edited by Charles Knight, 01-13-2005 15:14 AM

This message has been edited by Charles Knight, 01-13-2005 15:15 AM


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 18257
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


Message 12 of 164 (176592)
01-13-2005 3:15 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by xevolutionist
01-13-2005 3:01 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
xevolutionist writes:

As to the "truth" I was referring to the statement that evolution is not proven.

Yes, this is true, the theory of evolution has not been proven. It shares this property with all other scientific theories. No scientific theory has every been proven. Scientific theories are never proven. They are tentative and open to change and falsification.

What instead happens is that scientific theories become accepted when they are able to successfully explain and interpret a body of evidence. Atomic theory, the theory of relativity and quantum theory do this in physics, the thermodynamic laws do this in chemistry, plate tectonic theory does this in geology, and the theory of evolution does this in biology. So if you reject evolution because it isn't proven, then you must reject all other scientific theories by the same criteria.

Since any theory of evolution eventually boils down to the necessity of abiogenesis, which is impossible, there is only one credible theory left.

The argument that abiogenesis is impossible should be taken up in another thread. If you go to the Origin of Life forum you'll find threads where this is being discussed.

The reason the theory of evolution is taught in science classrooms is because it is an accepted scientific theory. The reason intelligent design is not taught is because it isn't an accepted scientific theory, and in fact isn't a scientific theory at all.

If you'd like to discuss the validity of intelligent design, then you can go to the Intelligent Design forum and find threads where this is being discussed.

Sorry to keep referencing you off to other forums, but this forum's focus is on education.

--Percy


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xevolutionist
Member (Idle past 4969 days)
Posts: 189
From: Salem, Oregon, US
Joined: 01-13-2005


Message 13 of 164 (176595)
01-13-2005 3:23 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by CK
01-13-2005 3:10 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
If evolution were in fact testable and there actually was evidence of it then it would become a fact. Since I've never seen any evidence of it, regardless of what the evolutionary faithful claim, I choose to regard it as a misguided hypothesis.

If not abiogenesis, then how did life begin without a creator? Are you advancing yet another variation of the evolutionary faith? I fail to see how evolution could proceed without a beginning.


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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 164 (176596)
01-13-2005 3:25 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by xevolutionist
01-13-2005 3:01 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
quote:
Since any theory of evolution eventually boils down to the necessity of abiogenesis, which is impossible, there is only one credible theory left.

Evolution starts with the first life. Evolution describes how life changed, not how life came about. Remember that Darwin wrote "Origin of Species" not "Origin of Life". For all intents and purposes, aliens could have planted the first bacteria on earth from which all life eventually sprang. Also, nothing has ever been discovered that would prevent abiogenesis to begin with, other than fiery sermons from a pulpit.

quote:
To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you eliminate the other possibilities the only one left must be the truth.

Science uses evidence to infer, not to deduce. Holmes' technique is not used in the sciences. In science, all positive claims must be supported by positive evidence, not negative evidence.

quote:
As to evolution being tested in a lab, I'd like to see those results.

It is tested every time two species genomes are compared. It is tested every time a fossil is dated. It is tested every time the characteristics of a fossil are meaured. It is tested every time a new species is found. It is tested every time a new allele is created through mutation. Evolution is tested in an ongoing and continual manner.


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CK
Member (Idle past 2173 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 15 of 164 (176597)
01-13-2005 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by xevolutionist
01-13-2005 3:23 PM


Re: Who writes this stuff?
now now don't be a dodger - you answer my question and I will then answer your question.

You stated:

quote:
If there were any way of testing the accidental formation of everything theory, then it probably wouldn't be regarded as a theory, would it?

This suggests that if you test a theory and you can prove it, it becomes........

So you answer my question and I'll then tackle your.

This message has been edited by Charles Knight, 01-13-2005 15:28 AM


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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