Thursday, November 10

World

If At First You Don't Succeed

Change the rules.

The Kansas Board of "Education" has adopted the anti-evolutionary "science standards" they have been pushing for some time. The standards are not even complete, but the six-member dingbat wing of the board pushed them through over the objections of the four-member sane wing.

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.
This will come as a surprise to every scientist and science teacher on the planet. Science is the search for natural explanations of phenomena. That's the most fundamental definition of science; science explains natural events in terms of natural causes - i.e. other natural events.

That the Kansas Board of "Education" (or at least the dingbat wing thereof) would redefine science in this way can mean only one of two things: Either they are ignorant - and, since the facts of the matter have most certainly been presented to them, ineducable; or they are willingly participating in an act of fraud against the state's schoolchildren. I'm not sure Hanlon's Razor is sufficiently sharp for this one.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 08:45 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 I predict Kansans will evolve to higher intelligence and throw the school board out, thus dealing a double blow to ID.

Posted by: TallDave at Thursday, November 10 2005 04:58 PM (giBEj)

2 It's going to the supremes. let them worry about it, thass what they're paid for. Pixy, i'm reading this coolio new book--Quantum Evolution. between that and the approaching singularity, the IDists are going to have the top of their heads taken clean off. ;-)

Posted by: matoko-chan at Thursday, November 10 2005 10:56 PM (cxYaY)

3 Well, good news from Pennsylvania: All of the Dover school board members who were standing for re-election - which is 8 of the 9 - have been thrown out.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, November 10 2005 11:15 PM (AIaDY)

4 Including ALL of the idiot-wingers. Give it a few days and that stupid thing will be gone and buried.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Friday, November 11 2005 12:45 AM (KnWO3)

5 While I won't defend the Kansas Board of Education, that definition of science isn't right either. It should be: science is the search for useful explanations of natural phenomena. A theory that the motions of bodies are caused by the influence of angels would certainly not be a natural explanation -- but if somebody, in accordance with that theory, levitated himself by invoking the relevant angel's name, the scientific community could not just dismiss the theory on the ground that it appealed to supernatural causes. The reason why scientists are disinclined to consider the supernatural as an explanation for phenomena is, that appeals to the supernatural are seldom followed by otherwise inexplicable phenomena; not, as you seem to think, because science must exclude the supernatural a priori. If prayer were effective more often, scientists would have to study prayer.

Posted by: Michael Brazier at Saturday, November 12 2005 01:36 AM (8LTnv)

6 Michael - Sorry, but no. Science is only possible within the framework of metaphysical naturalism. If people could levitate themselves by evoking the name of an angel then we would be well-advised to study that. But it would not be science. Science requires that all natural (i.e. observable, measurable) events can be explained entirely in terms of natural (observable, measurable) causes. That whenever we can see something happen, it is caused by something we can also see (or otherwise detect and measure). Science does indeeed exclude the supernatural a priori; this is absolutely fundamental and yours is a dismayingly common misapprehension among non-scientists. Science does, as I note, have a very specific definition of "natural", and "supernatural" in terms of the philosophy of science is simply the obverse of that, and, according to science, an empty set.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, November 12 2005 04:05 AM (AIaDY)

7 1) By your definition of "science", no one who believes Christian doctrine can be a scientist;
2) Sir Isaac Newton believed Christian doctrine;
3) Therefore: you deny that Newton was a scientist. If people could levitate themselves by evoking the name of an angel then we would be well-advised to study that. But it would not be science. If people could levitate themselves by invoking the name of an angel, there could not be science as you define it, because metaphysical naturalism would be demonstrably false. But there would certainly be attempts to explain natural phenomena, which is science as I define it.

I wonder if you realize that, on the point I chose to argue, you agree with the Kansas Board of Education, and I don't? The "nutbars" in Kansas are as convinced as you are that every scientist must cleave to metaphysical naturalism. Where they differ from you is, they think metaphysical naturalism is false -- and they are no more prepared to let falsehood pass unchallenged in the schools than you are.

Posted by: Michael Brazier at Saturday, November 12 2005 06:52 PM (8LTnv)

8 1) By your definition of "science" It is not my definition of Science. It is the defintion of Science. There is only one Science, and it is as I have defined it here. no one who believes Christian doctrine can be a scientist; False. You can believe in Christian doctrine and still be a scientist, even a great scientist. You just have to keep the Christian doctrine out of your scientific research. That requires maintaining two different and contradictory metaphysical frameworks, but people are good at that. And this is a problem specifically with religious doctrine. Deism has no conflict with Science. 2) Sir Isaac Newton believed Christian doctrine; And many other strange things, yes. 3) Therefore: you deny that Newton was a scientist. No. Since your point 1 is entirely false, the syllogism fails. If people could levitate themselves by invoking the name of an angel, there could not be science as you define it, because metaphysical naturalism would be demonstrably false. But there would certainly be attempts to explain natural phenomena, which is science as I define it. Nobody cares how you define science, because you are wrong. Science as you define it has no value - see my post above for a detailed explanation of why. The "nutbars" in Kansas are as convinced as you are that every scientist must cleave to metaphysical naturalism. Baloney. They are trying to push Intelligent Design, which relies on supernatural forces, into the science classroom. ID is not science. They Kansas Board of Education doesn't give a damn about the nature of Science; they just want to push their ideas on students no matter what the facts say. Where they differ from you is, they think metaphysical naturalism is false The evidence they present for this belief - the ID concept of irreducible complexity - has been comprehensively refuted, so I don't really care what they think.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Saturday, November 12 2005 08:32 PM (QriEg)

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