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Textbook revisions and the new world order

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  • #16
    Evolution is just a theory derived from years of diligent work by scientists of various disciplines around the world using the scientific method to the best of their abilities.

    Anyone who understands genetics well can pretty much accept the theory of evolution as being true. The driving factors are genetic mutation and natural selection.

    In fact natural selection has been directly observed in our lifetimes. Consider the industrial revolution when the smoke and soot from factories colored the surrounding trees darker. Lighter colored moths got picked off readily by birds whereas the darker colored moths survived. A great example of directly observable natural selection. Simply one phenotype being more adapted for the changed environment than the other. Over time, it would make sense that dark moths in that area will outnumber the light moths, if the light ones aren't consumed into extinction.

    Considering something more complex:
    The dark skinned people native to the African Savannah are better suited to that environment than pale skinned Scandanavians. Obviously, dark skin offers better protection from the sun than light skin. But the theory of natural selection can go on to logically explain how it came to be that people endogenous to a certain terrain have a certain skin color.

    It's pretty logical really.

    What does creationism say about that? God first put all the black people in Africa and all the white people in Europe?
    Perhaps it doesn't address such things at all. That wouldn't surprise me.

    If people actually understood science, I'm bold enough to say they would toss creationism out the window.

    I am a product of academic programs in biology and psychology at UCSD and I'm proud of it! :)
    \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
    Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview


    • #17
      Originally posted by Doc
      A few things...
      On a much more optimistic note, it makes me very happy to know that a fighter like Jer may soon be one that is helping public education fight back. I would certainly support him in the trenches of public school science. :D
      Thanks, Doc!
      \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
      Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview


      • #18
        At the risk of responding to what may really be baiting...

        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        Firstly, one cannot prove causation from correlation. Where humans are concerned there will never be anything other than correlational evidence supporting evolution, so it will always remain a theory. I was playing the Devil’s advocate and taking the side of how a creationist might confront the THEORY of evolution. Saying that it’s not a theory plays directly into their hands, as the language of the scientific method demands that it is a theory.
        First of all, you cannot prove anything with correlational evidence, but you can certainly suggest something relative to the strength, direction, and magnitude of a relationship. This is part of the logic of statistics. There is very little in the world, physical or social, that operates on a purely causal relationship, but things can have different degrees of significance. I won't die every time I jump off of a 20 floor building, but I know enough about probability to keep me from jumping.

        Second, no one suggested that evolution wasn't a theory. Most people who commented said that people didn't understand what a theory actually was. Most importantly, a theory is not a hypothetical.

        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        Frankly Doc you are wrong about academia not being a self feeding system. For instance, could the huge amount of papers that are out there survive in a free market. They could not, because most studies are pretty redundant as they ask and answer the same questions over and over and over. It has also been my experience that most social services operate out of a theory rather than a collection of studies. There is no market for the vast majority of stuff that the social sciences produce. Additionally, many of the stalwarts that you mention are fairly insignificant as the average person could not name them and it seems that people tend to revert to type. What is more important feminism or looking sexy? Few of these people have actually studied what people are. Mostly, they comment on what people should be, which is editorializing.
        I suggest you look at the logic of your own argument. The academic publishing market is, in fact, a free market, and it supports itself very well. I include social science journals, books, and textbooks in that market. Does that mean it has a wide popular market like a Dan Brown novel? Of course not. Few areas do.

        As for social science being redundant, you're simply not current. Spend one day on any social science index and you'll see how wrong you are. For that matter, look in any decent sized bookstore, college or not, and you'll see how wrong you are. I might see some of your point, however. Do I ask questions that are similar to other sociologists? Of course. Most academic questions are rooted in common disciplinary concerns. Finding parsimony with what others have already established is one way that knowledge grows. Admittedly there are some people who spend a lifetime researching the nuances of one particular issue, but that detail is part of the job of academia.

        Theory-based practice--
        Who do you think developed and verified these theories that people put into practice?

        Most importantly, to suggest that feminists and the "other stalwarts" I mentioned were relatively insignificant because most people don't know who they are demeans their contributions, including those of the person to whom this site is dedicated. To use an analogy from a different discipline, most people probably don't know Linus Pauling, but he is arguably the most influential scientist of the last 75 years. Moreover, to say that these people have not studied how people are, but instead deal with how people should be demonstrates your complete lack of familiarity with the work. First and foremost, these people have investigated the world as it is so they can even suggest how it could or should be.

        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        Although you singled out one phrase that I used to negate my argument, the secular study of religion would be a very valid pursuit. A simple question would be what is a connection between religious belief and violence. Also, a simple factor analysis could be done regard the general beliefs of the religious. My original point was that religious people are commenting on what academia has been afraid to comment on, so it�s time to address them and what they are concerned about.
        You can find all of this in most introduction to religious studies textbooks or any textbook on the sociology or anthropology of religion. Academia has addressed this head-on for years. In fact, my discipline has been addressing those very issues for well over a hundred years.

        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        Anyway, after years of college I can see that even the best colleges have turned into diploma mills or at best provide a grade getting game for anal students. There is a branch of Harvard at the local mall in Boston next to the GAP! Also, I know only a hand full of students that remember what they studied and that implies to me that they weren’t very interested in it to begin with. Academia is a self feeding business that provides the middle class with some position and sense of superiority.
        I won't disagree with all of this. Education has been increasingly linked to occupational structures, and many students and colleges are commodifying it. However, I say shame on you to the students who don't remember the general lessons that they learned. You wasted years of your own time. Also shame on their professors for passing them when they didn't learn.

        As for the last statement, academia can't be self-feeding if society keeps demanding college degrees. In that case society is feeding academia. As for the superiority, if people are trying to find superiority through degrees, I think they have broader issues, and should really check themselves. If that was a dig at those, like me, in academia, I'll respectfully say you obviously have no idea what academic life is really like. You must constantly prove you can surpass an increasingly rising bar. There's no room for feelings of superiority there. Also, the idea that some people have of professors who condescend to teach the masses from on high is, at best, an antiquated stereotype. Of course there are academics who are like that, but the state of the academy is far, far removed from that. The larger movement is for engagement, not seperation.

        Originally posted by TheAdlerian
        I have noticed a trend in these posts that you guys don’t want to admit that evolution is just a theory. This is like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Let’s pretend that the passionate religious people aren’t real and their opinions aren’t valid. Well, they don’t seem to mind commenting and challenging rational thought and politically correct positions, so who do you think will win?
        I'll say again- "just a theory" suggest real ignorance of what a theory is. Again-- Gravity is just a theory, but I'm not going to jump off of a building.

        No one is pretending that passionate religious people aren't real, nor that their opinions, though clearly disputed by the scientific community, are invalid. They are indeed mounting an assault on rational thought (I won't dignify "politically correct"). However, reason and rationality has the trump card in higher education. As long as those same people need degrees to do what they want in life, they need what we in higher education offer. They can change public schools and public school textbooks, but higher education is, at present, still a privlege, not a right. Who then wins? You underestimate the power of pragmatism.


        • #19
          Originally posted by Jerico
          That article is much less complex a read than what is found in actual scientific journals like JAMA or PNAS.
          That article was just a summary of the Nature article, which is in turn more complex.
          Still, it's not as heavyweight science as a lot of articles in the subject area. I can follow
          the details, having fortunately taken enough biology + molyboly at the undergraduate
          level, but I'm not an expert by any means.

          I'd like to encourage those interested in reading the "real thing" (as Henry James
          might have put it) to go to the journals Jerico mentioned.

          Originally posted by Jerico
          It is written for "the layman," but I'm willing to bet that 4 or more of any 10 random people you pull off the street will have difficulty reading it and understanding it.
          Absolutely it's for "the layman." As for your bet, no takers here. My suspicion is that
          your estimate of 40% is too high.

          Originally posted by Jerico
          It is no wonder to me that it's much more likely for people to say "God created the earth and all it's beauty," rather than "It's interesting how all the volcanic activity in the Ring of Fire is created by subduction zones."

          I like to think that it's because we are a young country and our k-12 schooling is sub par and has much room for improvement rather than thinking people are resistant to learning about science.
          My daughter attends a Catholic prep school. The Benedictine father who teaches her
          AP Biology class is a nice study in religion+science as a balancing act. He's got a Ph.D.
          in Biology. I spoke to him at length, and asked whether teaching this subject caused him
          any inner conflicts. He took it in stride, and said that he accepted the principles
          of evolution as they've been discovered by science. He thinks they're literally true.
          He finds no conflict, because he thinks the truth of Scripture is metaphorical, and in
          his opinion his supreme being used evolution as the tool for developing life on Earth.

          I spoke to him in greater detail, and he seemed a man of sense and perspective. I'm
          an ex-Catholic, but I wouldn't dream of questioning the basis of this man's belief.
          Whether I find it logically defensible or not is irrelevant. He's made his choices on
          what to believe and what to accept and it creates for him no inner contradiction.

          Originally posted by Jerico
          My thinking is not that of an intellectual elitist. At least I don't think so.
          I plan on becoming a highschool science teacher someday in the near future.
          If I could teach science in a way that every student will get something valuable out of it, I would love that.
          Jerico is a noble idealist. Why am I not surprised. Good luck, pal. I wish you success and
          no disappointment. Your goal is a tough one.



          • #20
            Originally posted by TheAdlerian
            I don’t want to keep going back and forth but the idea of gravity is a theory. No one knows what it is. Is it a way or an emission from particles or what? You can see its effects but you can’t say what causes it.
            I take it you find the geometry of space-time argument as adumbrated in GTR
            insufficent? Asking waves versus particles begs the question of why you think
            there's a difference. Why not set up a matter-energy dichotomy? It makes about
            as much sense. :roll:

            Originally posted by TheAdlerian
            Atoms and their particles are theories as well.
            With all due respect, this is getting sillier the farther you stray from your areas of expertise,
            and is starting to sound like a troll. I don't think you intend it that way, but there are
            better, more efficent ways to get educated on a subject than arguing outside one's
            knowledge base.

            Your depiction of the subject is overly simplistic. It's reminscent of setting up a strawman
            and knocking it down.

            From the way you portray the physics of gravity, I suspect you've never had a lot of
            physics, because your reduction of the argument sounds rather like the things I
            read in popular science books from around 1970.

            There's been a lot of advance in the topic since then, not the least being the project
            at CalTech on measuring and detecting gravity waves.

            There's too much material evidence here that needs to be recapitulated to make this a
            fruitful line of discussion. I don't think you want to read a mini-lecture by me on the
            subject. Unlike the case with genetics and biology, I'm academically qualifed to provide
            one here.

            So perhaps you should go back to your original thread of argument, because this
            byway weakens your debating position quite a bit.



            • #21
              The problem with people trying to disprove evolution, is that in most cases, they don't even really understand what evolution is. What they normally do, is disprove a form of evolution where there is a set path that says old creatures must die off and be replace by new ones. The funny thing is, their version of evolution is actually a hybrid of evolition and creationism. Real evolution is not disproved by the existance of animals once thought extinct. Actually, the evidence that evolution does happen is so overwhelming, that creationist should not be arguing that it doesn't happen, but that it's not responsible for the creation of all the species on Earth.


              • #22
                Wow, Kit! I am pleased to hear such a thing from you
                \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview


                • #23
                  Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg

                  Jerico is a noble idealist. Why am I not surprised. Good luck, pal. I wish you success and
                  no disappointment. Your goal is a tough one.

                  \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                  Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview


                  • #24
                    You shouldn't be surprised. I've never expressed an oppinion one way or the other when it comes to evolution. It's a a common mistake to try to assume that a person who is conservative on certian issues believes in everything a party or candidate does. I even voted against the stupid anti gay marrige amendment.
                    Originally posted by Jerico
                    Wow, Kit! I am pleased to hear such a thing from you


                    • #25
                      It's bureaucrats that decide school policies, so to the highest bidder goes the decisions :?:

                      Teachers? They carry out the policies, no input allowed!
                      \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                      Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview


                      • #26
                        More Godly pseudo-science (on the public purse)...

                        Can Prayers Heal? Critics Say Studies Go Past Science's Reach
                        By BENEDICT CAREY
                        Published: October 10, 2004

                        In 2001, two researchers and a Columbia University fertility expert published a startling finding in a respected medical journal: women undergoing fertility treatment who had been prayed for by Christian groups were twice as likely to have a successful pregnancy as those who had not.

                        Three years later, after one of the researchers pleaded guilty to conspiracy in an unrelated business fraud, Columbia is investigating the study and the journal reportedly pulled the paper from its Web site.

                        No evidence of manipulation has yet surfaced, and the study's authors stand behind their data.

                        But the doubts about the study have added to the debate over a deeply controversial area of research: whether prayer can heal illness.

                        Critics express outrage that the federal government, which has contributed $2.3 million in financing over the last four years for prayer research, would spend taxpayer money to study something they say has nothing to do with science.

                        "Intercessory prayer presupposes some supernatural intervention that is by definition beyond the reach of science," said Dr. Richard J. McNally, a psychologist at Harvard. "It is just a nonstarter, in my opinion, a total waste of time and money."

                        Matt. 4:7 " And Jesus said, "it is also written; "Do not put the Lord your God to the test."
                        \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell


                        • #27
                          This thread

                          Doc about correctness: you need to do your homework. I have read a lot of texts from the 1800s and the same issues are being discussed. Schopenhauer, Goethe, and Nietzsche talked about almost all the things that we talk about today. Tacitus talked about the clash between cultural values and blah, blah, blah. What’s a current issue? Frankly, I think that the info is in, now what? Well there will never be a “now what� because that is not part of the machine.

                          Doc I would love to know what the bar is in the humanities? Is it to publish more and more papers that no one will read in order to keep a position? The superiority and elitist attitude lives at universities! If I said Yale would your association be McDonald’s? If I said community college would your association be private jets? Hi I’m a fellow at Harvard have you seen the toy that comes with my Happy Meal. I bet this sentence has never been said before.
                          This thread is locked due to personal attack.

                          This thread is not deleted due to community action: all denouncements of personal attacks are to be preserved.

                          The account from which the post originated will have it's access to the forum limited in the event of a reoccurance.

                          The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is The Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.