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March 31, 2005

Creation Science Fair

At least one word in the phrase "creation science fair" is a contradiction in terms. While I think the entire enterprise is an exercise in faith rather than a demonstration of scientific reasoning it is impossible to dismiss the enthusiasm evident in Cassidy Turnbull's "My Uncle Is A Man Named Steve (Not A Monkey)".

Or an ape, which would better reflect the dispute at issue though this may be overly pedantic of me given the context. But as quotes go, this intervention on teaching biology in Pennsylvania sums up the problem neatly (via Chapel Perilous).

"We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture," he said, adding that the school board's declaration is just a first step.

More on a related theme at the Commissar (via INDC Journal).

Update: Here is something yet more deranged. So, if an undergrad does not like a religious studies prof's interpretation of Paul or an art history studies prof's description of, say, Fauvism they can sue? Or is this farcicle law only meant to intimidate professors of biology? How about this: if you would rather learn "Intelligent Design" than science you should pursue your education at an establishment willing to teach it and discover precisely how far your credentials will get you (via Harry Hutton).

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 31, 2005 06:23 AM

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Comments

This is just scary. Being intellegent and educated is at best merely a equivalent of understanding but is really becoming a put-down.

Posted by: Alan [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2005 08:57 AM

When you think about it, though, how different is it from this anti-educator mumbo jumbo from Cory Doctorow?

http://www.boingboing.net/2005/03/30/principal_bans_blogg.html

Posted by: Alan [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2005 09:07 AM

As someone who has sat on both sides of the aisle (so to speak), I'm never quite sure how to handle this issue. I have friends and enemies in both camps. When I look at it, I say to the science people: 1) There really is a lot we do not understand about genetics and inheretance - there is a recent Nature paper which shows that mutant gene sequences in pea plants can revert to the original form after several generations in the absence of any known mechanism. This makes one wonder about the absolute validity of Mendelian inheritance. I would really like to go to a talk where this work is presented, because to quote the Catherine Wheel, Sparks are gonna fly.

2) Cosmology is really Byzantine right now. I'm a physicist - albeit in optics and not gravitation nor astronomy, and the whole dark matter/dark energy hypothesis reeks of epicycles to me. I actually find this promising, since I believe there is a wonderfully bizaar explanation that will be discovered someday. In any case, string theory has gotten to the point where everytime I flap my arms, I create new universes and I am only exagerating a little.

In light of this, I am hesitant to force any dogma down anyone's throats. Do I think dinosaurs and people together is silly? Ues, but that really has little to do with day to day life.

This is ramblin on, so I'll stop, but when it comes down to it, I would treat them like the Amish - something people should be able to do if they want, but it's not something I would do nor something that I would instruct my kids in.

Posted by: Mike Beversluis [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 31, 2005 10:24 PM

Sorry to spoil the "fun", guys, but the site is obviously a parody, as some very basic sleuthing should convince you. It's quite likely put on by the same folks who did the Landover Baptist spoof (or at least inspired by them) though this time they are trying a little harder to fool people.

Posted by: Varenius [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 1, 2005 03:10 PM

I am going to be so disappointed if this is a spoof. Part of my heart was warmed by the Uncle Steve project.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 1, 2005 03:37 PM