If You Have To Legislatively Force Your Theory To Be Taught As Science, You’ve Lost

PZ Myers flags this legislation under consideration in the Missouri House.  It seems HB1227 would not only redefine “intelligent design creationism” as actual science, it would then require that textbooks and classes in Missouri schools be forced to teach it as acceptable science along with “scientific theory” evolution.

It’s bad enough that the bill attempts to redefine not just intelligent design but the process of science itself through legislation, but then the bill happily forces teachers to treat intelligent design and evolution as equals by radically re-categorizing what science actually means, which is a bit like saying every time you order your favorite meal at a restaurant, you must also be punched in the crotch, because both of them are equally satisfying according to the definition of “satisfying” placed in legislation by Republicans.  The practical upshot:  under this bill Missouri’s kids will eat their intelligent design and they will like it.  (Also, the bill specifically says teachers can’t call out either “theory” as crap, but must teach them as actual accepted science.)

And before you say “Well that’s going to make it hard to get into college when you graduate with a background in basic science that has built-in air quotes”, the law applies to universities and colleges in Missouri too, defined as “any introductory science course taught at any public institution of higher education in this state” having to meet criteria like this:

“If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course.”

In other words, college professors and instructors in biology have to teach intelligent design as serious science, and they have to like it. Full stop.  I’m thinking this bill will most likely die a slow and ignominious death in committee, but then again, anything involving Republicans and science always seems to end very badly for the country as a whole.  We’ll do your critical thinking for you, thanks.  You went to college to play football and drink anyway.

This makes me want to become a legislator, slap the definition of “douchebag” in a bill, then require that all Republicans be referred to as such in any official state capacity.  The bill may or may not involve crotch-punching.  I haven’t decided yet.






113 replies
  1. 1
    MikeJ says:

    (not really related to the actual thrust of the post)

    This makes me want to become a legislator, slap the definition of “douchebag” in a bill, then require that all Republicans be referred to as such in any official state capacity.

    One of our local gadflies got enough votes to have a referendum on having the state officially declare that a local schmo who introduces crackpot referenda that sadly often pass is a horses ass. Sadly the state supremes struck it down before it went to the voters, ignoring the fact that they aren’t supposed to rule on bills or referenda until they pass.

  2. 2
    c u n d gulag says:

    The proof that there’s no such thing as “Intelligent Design,” is that there are people who are stupid enough to believe that if there really were such a thing as “INTELLIGENT” design, that they would be here to make that argument.

    After all, what really “intelligent” superior being would ever have drawn up the blue-prints for such stupid people in the first place?
    HE/SHE/IT is supposedly intelligent, no?

    Only random chance can explain the fact that Conservative morons like this continue to live and breed.

  3. 3
    Samara Morgan says:

    and citizens wonder why America is world ranked 25th in science and 30th in math.
    lol.

  4. 4

    And we run headlong into the New Dark Ages. Very little in the way of actual knowledge. A whole lot in the way of blind faith.

  5. 5

    @Samara Morgan:

    Good morning, Samara. You’re an early bird today. Howya?

  6. 6
    WereBear says:

    But that is the escape hatch; conservatives would convince themselves that the feudal society, complete with witch dunking and Black Plague, their scorn of science would create; would be the best of all possible worlds.

  7. 7
    Samara Morgan says:

    @WereBear: oh plz.
    its protestant anti-intellectualism.
    70% of Americans “have doubts” about ToE. unparalleled anywhere in the worlds industrialized nations.
    Only the UK even comes relatively close.

  8. 8
    Yevgraf says:

    Pi is 3.2. I want a law declaring it.

  9. 9
    Michael2 says:

    I almost hope this bill makes it out of committee, so that it can be exposed to a wider audience. They are LEGISLATING WHAT A PERSON CAN TEACH! They are legislating what is “true” – as a college teacher, I really don’t know what I would do if I were in Missouri (though perhaps I will cross it off potential job sites).

    Although my first thought is to, in a totally elliptical fashion, show students how this is NOT unlike the fascist European states in the 30s. In fact, really quite similar. Way to go Republicans.

  10. 10
    geg6 says:

    So not only is science to be decimated by these fucktards, but academic freedom and the First Amendment should also go swirling down the drain.

    I hate these fuckers with the heat of a thousand suns.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    donnah says:

    Your move, Ohio.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    dmsilev says:

    Pfft. Pikers. I want to see a bill mandating the teaching of Last Tuesday-ism, the belief that the universe was created last Tuesday with all of our “memories” and “evidence” of the world two weeks ago included as part of that creation.

    The case for Last Tuesday-ism is every bit as strong as the case for Intelligent Design, so why the religious discrimination?

  15. 15
    ice weasel says:

    State’s rights for the win!

  16. 16
    gnomedad says:

    Post title == best “shorter” on the topic EVAH.
    (Although “theory” needs scare quotes.)

  17. 17
    HelpThe99ers says:

    @Yefgraf

    So let it be written.

    Haven’t these people in Missouri heard about Kitzmiller v Dover?

  18. 18
    c u n d gulag says:

    @dmsilev:
    Sweet Jesus on an unevolved wooden cross!

    You ignorant Heathen – it was Last Monday!

    DIE! DIE! DIE!!!

  19. 19
    Ron says:

    I suspect if this actually got through you’d have biology faculty resigning, especially at the college level. This sort of thing is pretty frightening though.

  20. 20
    MattF says:

    There’s a quote that’s on the tip of my tongue here… Ahh:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eppur_si_muove

  21. 21
    henqiguai says:

    Well, long term, this will help the employment situation in the engineering and science fields, since the pool of available science-trained applicants will be shrunk by the total number of Missouri school graduates. As a technical professional always concerned about the job market, I count this as a positive (I mean, come on; ain’t none o’mine living or being “educated” in Missouri, or Kansas).

    Or does that attitude make me evil?

  22. 22

    @MattF:

    Oh, how nice. And yet it moves.

    The laws of physics are not impressed with politics. Or religion. Or you or me.

    Some things are because they are.

  23. 23
    Ron says:

    One thing I will say though is that I suspect ridiculous bills like this get introduced all over the place. Until it actually gets out of committee and is placed for a vote I am not too worried.

  24. 24
    themis says:

    @Ron: Its not just Bio faculty. Psych professors, particularly those who teach Intro, Development and the bio/genetic undergrad courses, will be gobsmacked by this (although, hopefully not in the crotch).

    I think the only faculty that will have any fun with this is the History of Science department. Lucky bastards.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    @HelpThe99ers: If Romney were to nominate a judge to take the place of one of the liberals, kiss that ruling goodbye. States rights and all…

  26. 26
    El Cid says:

    You see, God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and not a molecule moves without his desiring it, except for our own free will.

    This is why he allows us to choose to believe in Him, requiring us to use our “faith,” in which we must use our hearts and souls to know, love, and obey Him without forcing us to do so, and while His existence and work are revealed to us through our inner knowledge.

    However, He was also either really, really sloppy and forgetful or really, really doubting if we’d properly get the whole “faith” thing, so just in case, he left all sorts of clues and proof and evidence laying around that we couldn’t have gotten here without His magic.

    Sure, it seems like a dramatic contradiction, on the one hand insisting that we believe in Him without His divine revelation of Himself to us, and on the other hand so clearly leaving behind all these clear proofs of His existence observable to any motivated creationist, but that’s only because many of us refuse to see how He can reconcile anything.

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    I’m thinking this bill will most likely die a slow and ignominious death in committee,

    In Mizzou? That’s a bad bet.

    My father-in-law retired to a wide place in the road in rural southeastern Mizzou, the kind of place where even McDonald’s serves biscuits and gravy in the morning. Folks in places like that will love this.

  28. 28
    gelfling545 says:

    @themis: It would influence the way in which a large number of disciplines are taught. Students will have essentially no idea of scientific method and a distorted idea of terminology. I have found that, at least locally, students coming into public schools from christianist academies (literal Bible schools, though not the Catholic schools) or when they arrive in college tend to be virtually ignorant in science and struggle to catch up since these schools avoid the sciences. I think this is because on the whole once you start teaching any scientific discipline it’s hard to avoid the the issues it raises with their primitive “worldview”.

  29. 29
    HelpThe99ers says:

    @JPL: the case was tried at the district court level – it never reached the Supremes, and was never appealed, because the board members who supported teaching ID were all voted out. The judge who wrote the decision is a Republican who was appointed by Bush 43.

  30. 30
    Brutusettu says:

    Why do I get a cold after my co-workers do?

    Because my back isn’t aligned correctly.

    Teach the controversy about straight chiropractors!one!

  31. 31
    MonkeyBoy says:

    I wish legislation could introduce some sort of fine for vanity or crackpot bills. Every time a bill is introduced there it incurs a cost, both in the money required to make it official and the time for legislators to read and think about it.

    There are a vast number of bills introduced that range from the obviously unconstitutional to frivolous or crackpot which only exist because some “important” constituent (usually a campaign contributor) is nuts about the issue but there is zero chance of it becoming a law.

    By introducing a “nut bill” a legislator can reap contributions without having to consider the effects of the bill becoming law.

  32. 32
    johnnybegood says:

    Under these morons theory, students should be taught “intelligent design” in all physics classes. The science behind physics teaches that the universe was formed billions of years ago. No astronomy can be taught without mentioning their “intelligent design. Heck, if you accept the idea that everything happens because Jesus decided to make it so, then no science can be taught without also teaching “intelligent design.”

    Interestingly, these crackpots want to turn our schools and universities into venues where you can believe whatever you want. It’s similar to what FOX has done to news.

  33. 33
    greennotGreen says:

    In the U.S. most fundamentalists are Christians, and most of them completely ignore Jesus’ commandment, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.” That’s what this is about; showing everyone how righteous they are by forcing their beliefs on others.

    I’m a scientist, and I believe, based on my experience of life, that there is something beyond our physical reality, just like I believe that the multiverse theory is probably true. A) My belief system doesn’t need to be taught along with evolution because evolution is only concerned with our physical reality. B) Whatever does or does not exist beyond our physical reality will exist or not exist whether we teach about it or not. God doesn’t need our help in that respect. C) These legislators obviously don’t know jack shit about science, and they want to make sure subsequent generations in Missouri don’t know any more than they do.

  34. 34
    cmorenc says:

    Evolution IS the “intelligent design” of the creator of this universe. The alternative postulates are all derived directly from the Bible’s book of Genesis, which not only makes that mainstream variant of ID explicitly a teaching of “religion”, but the Bible was not written to be a science text, but rather one about the moral relationship between God and man. The Old Testament Bible paints God as exhibiting some perversely harsh “morals” being told, but IMHO this likely has to do with the perversely harsh nature of the priestly class directing and doing the writing that became components the Bible back in Bronze Age times.

  35. 35
    Gretchen says:

    We live in Kansas. My daughter is applying to grad schools on the coasts. My husband wants to know why she won’t take the cheaper option of living at home and going to KU. Because Kansas is making the rest of the country think we’re crazy?

  36. 36
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Yevgraf: Rounding Pi! That makes common sense.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @themis:

    I think the only faculty that will have any fun with this is the History of Science department. Lucky bastards.

    Yes. I’m hoping Tom Levenson will weigh in on this before the day is much older (once he tracks down the perfect pretentious douchey painting, of course).

  38. 38
    Samara Morgan says:

    @greennotGreen:

    In the U.S. most fundamentalists are Christians, and most of them completely ignore Jesus’ commandment, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.” That’s what this is about; showing everyone how righteous they are by forcing their beliefs on others.

    like Tim Tebow?

  39. 39
    Gin & Tonic says:

    How is the “proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology … verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation”? Please design an experiment to prove God. If you can’t, it sounds like you wouldn’t have to teach ID, right? If what you’re teaching is that there isn’t an “intelligence responsible for earth’s biology” then you’re OK.

  40. 40
    MTiffany says:

    And for their next amazing feat of legerdemain the Missouri state legislature will pass a bill repealing gravity, thereby eliminating that state’s obesity epidemic.

  41. 41
    RalfW says:

    The Asian economies don’t even have to bother kicking our asses any more. We’re doing it ourselves.

    Sweet jebus, these people are actively and aggressively in the process of turning ourselves back into ignorant rubes.

  42. 42
    Ecolog says:

    As someone who teaches evolution at the college level, I can tell you that it will be a cold day in hell before I say one thing that is even remotely approving of ID. Thankfully, I am not someone who teaches evolution at the college level in MO. If I were, I would defy the law or leave the state, probably in that order.

  43. 43
    greennotGreen says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Absence of proof is not proof of absence. I absolutely agree that, at least at the present, we have no experiment to test for God’s existence, and therefore God or an Intelligent Designer has no place in science education. Irreducible complexity, a central element of ID, is pretty easy to refute, but what if the Designer worked in a different way. “Oh, there’s a mutation I don’t like! I’ll kill that one with a volcano.” I’m not saying that happened; I’m just saying we have no way to test it.

  44. 44
    jrg says:

    Ahh, Republicans. Between howls of “Yew can’t truss any politiciun!!!”, and “Thuh gubbermunt can’t do nothing right!!”, they try to use the government to dictate an “alternative” to empirical study that completely lacks observable, repeatable results or any proof at all, really… Hell, not even a testable hypothesis.

    What a bunch of stupid assholes.

  45. 45
    MattF says:

    @greennotGreen:

    No, Intelligent Design is an unsatisfactory hypothesis for deeper reasons. Ask yourself– what’s the difference between “Intelligent Design” and “Magic”? I don’t see one.

  46. 46
    Sly says:

    We clearly need to repeal the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics so that we can free businesses seeking to expand into the market for perpetual motion machines from burdensome regulation.

  47. 47

    I can see how repealing the “Theory of Gravity” would be a solution to the obesity problem in Missouri … Makes perfect sense in ID World …

  48. 48
    greennotGreen says:

    @MattF: It doesn’t matter whether it’s unsatisfactory to you or anyone else as long as it’s untestable.

    I once knew a smart, seemingly rational person who believed that actual magic existed. I personally have never seen any evidence of actual magic, and I know of no such evidence. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I think we should be humble about what we know and what we don’t know. There’s enough we don’t know about our physical world to keep us busy; we don’t need to worry about the metaphysical.

  49. 49
    MTiffany says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I’m not saying that happened; I’m just saying we have no way to test it.

    If it’s not testable, it’s not falsifiable; and if it’s not falsifiable, it’s not science. But don’t let that stop you from peddling one more variation of that “can’t prove a negative” nonsense.

  50. 50
    MattF says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I guess I’m a materialist– if you have a hypothesis that doesn’t employ a mechanism involving material objects, then, well, bon voyage and I hope you have a nice time, where ever it is you’re going to.

  51. 51
    Baud says:

    On the bright side, college should be a lot easier in 30-40 years when the answer to every exam question will be “STFU, that’s why!”

  52. 52
    Pongo says:

    (Cross-posted at Pharyngula) Is ‘intelligent design’ even definable as a single coherent concept? By using this term and demanding equal time, isn’t it possible that Missouri is creating a situation where any religious belief system that teaches a creation myth involving an intelligent creator can seek inclusion under the law? Clearly, the sponsors of the bill are referring to the Judeo-Christian creation myth, and specifically the Protestant, evangelical interpretation of it. But as written, the bill does not appear to specify which ‘intelligent design’ concept must be used (although I have not actually read the whole thing–just recovering from a stomach bug and couldn’t risk it). It just strikes me as yet another example of conservative overreach that will come back to bite them in the end. Would love to see Mormons and Scientologists use this bill to demand schools teach their unique creation ideologies to all students in Missouri. and it would definitely be instructive to have some of the Native population’s creation myths taught as viable alternatives to evolution, as well.

    This, coupled with the Times apparent difficulty grasping the definition of ‘fact’ vs. ‘shit politicians say,’ makes me believe we have culturally jumped the shark. When facts become a commodity determined by the whim of an ill-informed majority, you may as well hunker down and prepare to wait out the coming New Dark Ages.

  53. 53
    mellowjohn says:

    @AnotherBruce:
    It’s been a pet project of mine
    A new value for pi to assign.
    I’d put at 3
    ‘Cause that’s easier, you see,
    Than 3.14159.

    p.s. i was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. how fucking intelligent is that design?

  54. 54
    cmorenc says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I once knew a smart, seemingly rational person who believed that actual magic existed. I personally have never seen any evidence of actual magic, and I know of no such evidence. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    “Magic” has consistently proven over history to be nothing more than curiously interesting phenomena for which no valid empirical explanation yet exists. The ability to do “magic” is nothing more than mastery of a repeatable technique producing a curiously interesting, repeatable result without knowledge of how and why the technique actually works.

    Neither of the above definitions of magic imply whatsoever that valid, empirical physical explanations do not exist for things that seem magical under the contemporary state of knowledge for a given time and place. The history of science has consistently pushed the frontiers of magic and superstitious explanations of phenomena into retreat, even while revealing new frontiers of the unknown that enticingly invite investigation, and sometimes which reveal the limits of what is knowable (e.g. Heisenberg Uncertainty principle). But discovering the limits of the knowable is not at all the same as proving the existence of superstitious magical explanations for things, rather at most it simply means that certain dimensions of the universe are as inaccessible to investigation as the z-dimension is to creatures living in a two-dimensional xy universe.

  55. 55
    Baud says:

    Western Civilization was doomed from the moment we abandoned our belief that the moon was made of cheese.

    ETA: Bring back Cheesus to our public schools!

  56. 56
  57. 57
    the dude says:

    If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course.

    … I’m guessing this means that a teacher cannot say “Sure there is intelligent design, but it was the Flying Spaghetti Monster wot dun it“, lest it upsets the poor dears in the classroom.

    Why one can teach that magic exists absent observable and verifiable proof, but not on the magician behind it, is a mystery.

  58. 58
    greennotGreen says:

    @MTiffany: I’m *saying* it’s not science! Not testable means not science!

  59. 59
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @mellowjohn: Nice limerick, sad news. I’m very sorry to hear that and wish you well.

  60. 60
    greennotGreen says:

    @cmorenc:

    …discovering the limits of the knowable is not at all the same as proving the existence of superstitious magical explanations for things, rather at most it simply means that certain dimensions of the universe are as inaccessible to investigation as the z-dimension is to creatures living in a two-dimensional xy universe.

    Yes, I absolutely agree. Where I differ with some other commenters here is that I believe in the existence of that next dimension. Until we have evidence of it borne out by observation and experimentation, I don’t believe it should be taught in schools.

  61. 61
    General Stuck says:

    One day A black obelisk shows up, and Cro- Magnon uses the first weapon. It’s all downhill after that.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Samara Morgan:

    its protestant anti-intellectualism.

    No.

  63. 63
    Walker says:

    Why the hell is everyone piling on greennotGreen? He is not advocating that this stuff should be taught as science. All he is talking about is the philosophical limitations of science. Which any good scientist understands and accepts (now, how best to teach that, when it can be warped and abused politically, is another question).

    This is the problem that I have with PZ Myers. He believes that if you reject metaphysical naturalism, even if you accept pragmatic naturalism, then you are the enemy.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @cmorenc: I don’t have a problem with people who believe that God or [insert deity of choice] set up the rules and kicked the ball into play. I mean, what caused the atoms to exist, etc., is sort of a freshman stoner question – fun perhaps to bat around, but not something that will hurt your test scores in bio-chem.

  65. 65
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @Gretchen:

    My husband wants to know why she won’t take the cheaper option of living at home and going to KU.

    Hey, please don’t harsh on KU and Lawrence. It really is an island of sanity in that otherwise god forsaken state.

  66. 66
    otto says:

    How about this- they pass it, a teacher challenges it by not teaching intelligent design creationism, case goe to supremes and…?

  67. 67
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I used to think about this at length as a biology major student. And while “evolution” is clearly true, it is at most simply a description of life, looking at the incredible complexity, beginning with the basic human cell, the how and why, science could not fully explain. Nor could it explain the beauty of human art , that I doubt was formed in the primordial ooze without assistance somewhere along the way, of I know not what, exactly.

  68. 68
    WereBear says:

    @Gretchen: More than likely because she wants to experience “life on another planet.” And then there’s the distance from the Parental Units :)

  69. 69
    Kola Noscopy says:

    @mellowjohn:

    p.s. i was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. how fucking intelligent is that design?

    I am sorry you’re going thru that, mellowjohn.

    However, that cancer has an awesomely high survival rate with treatment. Here’s to hoping all becomes well.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mellowjohn: Sorry to hear that.

  71. 71
    greennotGreen says:

    @Walker: Thank you. But “she”, not “he”.

  72. 72
    MTiffany says:

    @Walker:

    All he is talking about is the philosophical limitations of science.

    “Philosophical limitations of science?” Good Godwin, will the variants of his Law never cease?

    Which any good scientist understands and accepts

    Well there’s a subjective judgment if there ever was one. So, “good scientists” are, in your opinion, the ones who refuse to challenge the validity of any theories or explanations presented without any evidence to support them?

    Your degree of scientific literacy make you and gnG a matched pair.

  73. 73
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Well, this may not be an earth-shaking observation, but I think we might be seeing an injured and cornered beast (religious fundamentalism) lashing out. Rather than effectively courting new voters, the Republican party is trying to eliminate the votes of those who would go Dem. Relinquishing the status quo (when you’re the ones holding it by its metaphorical nuts) can’t be easy. Hey, that sounds like a good name for a college rock band: The Metaphorical Nuts!

    Best wishes for full recovery, mellowjohn. My wife’s uncle dealt with prostate cancer a few years ago. He seems to be his old self again.

  74. 74
    General Stuck says:

    Atheism is a belief system in itself, and not a war against religion.

  75. 75

    If this bill were to pass, how many milliseconds do you think it would take for a test case to appear in court? Given the long, long legal history of this sort of thing, I doubt even the existing judiciary would allow it to stand.

  76. 76
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Anyone remember the poem “Evolution” that begins: When you were a tadpole and I was a fish in the Paleozoic time, and side by side through the ebbing tide, we sprawled through the ooze and slime….

    I know scientists will tell us that love is just a series of amino acid reactions that take place in the brain (and perhaps they’re right), but it is romantic to think that we humans do have some more meaningful business in the universe. I suppose I must confess to being comfortably agnostic. I don’t feel the need “to reach irritably after facts” for a deity; nor do I feel diminished by imagining that we humans are simply the lucky recipients of one magnificent, self-aware life. If there is some sort of intelligent, loving supernatural deity, that’s fine. If life is just “one and done”, then we’re staggeringly, astronomically fortunate to be here, yes?

  77. 77
    MTiffany says:

    I’d love for this bill to pass if only to see if the regional accrediting bodies have the balls to revoke the accreditations of all the colleges and universities in Missouri.

  78. 78
    gwangung says:

    Folks, I hope you realize that the creationist attack plan is pretty much the model for all Republican activism for the last five decades.

    The fact that it survives and persistent in biology shows how useful it is in other, less objective areas.

  79. 79
    RSA says:

    This is my favorite part:

    “Scientific theory”, an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy.

    So according to this bill, transubstantiation, young-earth creationism, reincarnation, and pastafarianism are all scientific theories. Nice.

  80. 80
    Judas Escargot says:

    @RSA:

    So according to this bill, transubstantiation, young-earth creationism, reincarnation, and pastafarianism are all scientific theories. Nice.

    I’d say that ‘Karl Popper is rolling in his grave’, but I’m pretty sure he was cremated.

  81. 81
    Palli says:

    @themis:
    There would be a world wide academic reaction
    in fact, some reaction should be now- perhaps the committee should sent quantities of children’s science books.

  82. 82
    Walker says:

    @MTiffany:

    Your degree of scientific literacy make you and gnG a matched pair.

    Look up the meaning of philosophical naturalism and get back to me on who is scientifically illiterate here.

  83. 83
    Joel says:

    Well, if this bill passes, Washington University might need to relocate across the river.

  84. 84
    Joel says:

    @greennotGreen: Unfortunately for believers in Intelligent Design, that line of argumentation could be applied to just about anything: shamanism, folk medicine, homeopathy, even more familiar western concepts like branding. Basically, all nonsense.

  85. 85
    Comrade Nimrod Humperdink says:

    @MTiffany: Oooh, that would be some real fun right there, wouldn’t it? Suddenly everyone that gets a Mizzou science degree post 2011 got it from a school without accreditation? Like a Bible college? Damn dude, that would sting every single member of that university with a mark that wouldn’t go away quickly. All because of a few jackholes in the legislature. Would NOT want to be faculty or a student there if that came to pass (though the popcorn at Columbia Repub town halls might be delicious).

  86. 86
    Pococurante says:

    @Samara Morgan: Understandable… >:-)

  87. 87
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    In Mizzou? That’s a bad bet. My father-in-law retired to a wide place in the road in rural southeastern Mizzou, the kind of place where even McDonald’s serves biscuits and gravy in the morning. Folks in places like that will love this.

    I live in the second reddest county in the state, located just east of the state capitol.

    This. The morans here will love this…until the realize that Taylor/Tyler/Tanner/Connor/Corby/Colby will have no chance of getting a job outta college. Oh wait, they have no chance now. Nevermind.

    It just reinforces how they’ll love it.

    Yup, good ole Misery, always striving to be #1 in the National Laboratory for Bad Government ranking.

    Bill would be vetoed by the governor, a centrist Republican, Democrat and the legislature couldn’t override it. Believe me, this another example of how the Repups play the long game and plan on wrecking the country not thru Congress or the Presidency but thru the courts and the state gubmints.

  88. 88
    greennotGreen says:

    @Joel: Certainly, homeopathy is testable: do these remedies work better than placebo? I believe the evidence for that is they don’t. Folk medicine is more complicated because some remedies are effective and based on actual results and some are based on superstition. These things are testable.

    Does life exist on other planets? I hope that one day we will be able to test for that, but at this point we’ve been limited to the moon and Mars. Moon’s unlikely, but Mars is still a possibility. Our lack of evidence of extraterrestrial life is not proof it doesn’t exist.

    I’m really kind of tired of talking about this.

  89. 89
    THE says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Anyone remember the poem “Evolution” that begins: When you were a tadpole and I was a fish in the Paleozoic time, and side by side through the ebbing tide, we sprawled through the ooze and slime…

    Yes it is Evolution by Langdon Smith

  90. 90
    cckids says:

    @Palli:

    perhaps the committee should sent quantities of children’s science books.

    Probably too advanced, requiring thinking skills. Perhaps some DVDs of “The Magic School Bus”?

  91. 91

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    Heh. I recently heard someone at a local Democratic Party meeting describe Governor Jay Nixon (D) as “the best republican governor we’ve ever had.”

    There’s a nice take down of the bill:

    “…this one rates pretty highly on the stupid density scale”

    Happy New Year. Have an ID Bill Missouri!

    The sponsor tried to defend the bill on his Facebook page. Some of the comments are priceless.

  92. 92
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    Pass the Poppercorn.

  93. 93
    jheartney says:

    Somebody already mentioned Washington University in St. Louis (my alma mater). It’s a very well-connected institution, with deep roots in both old and new GOP money, and its biggest asset is its reputation (without which it’d have to, among other things, stop charging stratospheric tuition).

    The dynamic here is some of the outstate hicks put together this joke of a bill. But the idea that the major poobahs who run this state would stand still and let the rednecks destroy something like Wash U with this stupidity completely misunderstands how the place works. This bill will be shut down faster than Newt Gingrich’s campaign, in in much the same manner.

  94. 94
    middlewest says:

    Evolution by natural selection isn’t about “primordial ooze” or abiogenesis, stop that idiocy.

    And evolution does explain love, beauty, “the meaning of life”, and all the other crap some of you are spewing, because those are concepts inside the human brain, which evolved just like the rest of you. You have those concepts because your brain evolved the way it did, not because a magic fairy put it there. Only by understanding that evolution can we understand ourselves.

    It’s funny, magic fairy hypothesis really doesn’t explain anything. We were made by a magic fairy so… what? How does that give life meaning? How does that make us love? How does that make art beautiful? It’s utter meaningless nonsense.

  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @greennotGreen:

    I once knew a smart, seemingly rational person who believed that actual magic existed. I personally have never seen any evidence of actual magic, and I know of no such evidence. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Yeah, it does.

    Every claim of magic, of psychic BS, of ghostly visits, has been shown to be false, delusional, a trick or a fraud.

    I suppose you can hold out some pocket of hopefulness, but it is not a particularly meaningful proposition.

    @Comrade Nimrod Humperdink:

    Suddenly everyone that gets a Mizzou science degree post 2011 got it from a school without accreditation? Like a Bible college? Damn dude, that would sting every single member of that university with a mark that wouldn’t go away quickly.

    Ironically enough, this would satisfy the Ron Paul libertarian boneheads, who believe that accreditation is an infringement on liberty.

    @johnnybegood:

    Under these morons theory, students should be taught “intelligent design” in all physics classes.

    And someone might require that the efficacy of miracles be taught in biology classes and in medical schools.

  96. 96
    PIGL says:

    @General Stuck: Uh, no, it really isn’t. Many idiots like to say so, perhaps it makes them feel like their beliefs would somehow be substantiated by the atheist position were that position itself a belief. The “not requiring a specific hypothesis” is not a itself a form of hypothesis.

  97. 97
    Brachiator says:

    It seems HB1227 would not only redefine “intelligent design creationism” as actual science, it would then require that textbooks and classes in Missouri schools be forced to teach it as acceptable science along with “scientific theory” evolution.

    By the way, this attempt to impose stupidity on textbooks has me really curious about Apple’s little education related presentation this coming Thursday.

  98. 98
    MTiffany says:

    @Walker:

    Look up the meaning of philosophical naturalism and get back to me on who is scientifically illiterate here.

    You mean ‘philosophical naturalism’ as the concept that the Universe is governed by a set of rational laws acting upon matter in quantifiable ways, apprehendable by falsifiable theory, experiment and reproducible empirical evidence? That idea of naturalism? It rejects the supernatural completely, and yet gnG trotted out the fallacious notion that ‘just because science can’t prove that there is no creator diety, that it does not mean one does not exist;’ and then you came along and defended it as within the realm of ‘philosophical naturalism’ because ‘goood scientists’ ‘understand and accept’ the ‘philosophical limitations of science.’

    It would be better if philosophers would ‘understand and accept’ the real limitations of philosophical bullshit: Zeno of Elea proved (Proved with logic and an arrow no less! Woo-hoo!) that no motion of any sort can occur. And yet everywhere we look in the Universe everything we look at is in motion. But it must be the Universe that got it wrong becase Zeno’s logic is airtight. It just doesn’t withstand testable observation.

    Philosophical limitations of science my wide white middle-aged ass.

    Scientifically illiterate? Still you and gnG.

  99. 99
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Middlewest: “primordial ooze” were Langdon Smith’s words in his poem. I suspect he was using the forum of poetry to actually suggest that there is, indeed, true beauty in evolution (and other hard sciences). He used poetic licence. Would you stop him and other poets and artists from doing the same? When you talk about “all that crap”, are you referring to “love, beauty and the meaning of life”? Do you want a world without “all that crap”? Doesn’t art address concepts with which pure science sometimes stumbles? Or are you saying, instead, that religion, spirituality and philosophy have no place in our lives? If you have no use for those lines of inquiry (inadequate and silly as they often are), that’s fine, but telling everybody else to “stop the idiocy” seems a bit rude. No, my “fee-fees” aren’t especially hurt. I have no personal interest in organized religion and philosophy often leaves me feeling a little numb and bored or even annoyed. Yes, religous explanation for things seems laughable most of the time (to me). Perhaps we’re all evolving individually as far as a use for religion, philosophy, etc. go.

  100. 100
    General Stuck says:

    @PIGL:

    Idiots? Atheism is simply the BElIEF there is no living or dead God that explains the universe, all of it. And it most certainly is a hypothesis where science and closed minds cannot explain something like the twinkle in Mona Lisa’s eyes, yet there it is.

    And since you nor I can think of a test for it, let alone explain it, the field is wide open for folks to speculate. So you are free to think it comes from dumb luck, and no where else, but you cross the line from a true atheistic belief system into the very thing you hate most about religion, busy bodying others that you have THE answer, when you don’t. Just another form of fundamentalism

  101. 101
    Brachiator says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.):

    Doesn’t art address concepts with which pure science sometimes stumbles?

    Not really.

    Or are you saying, instead, that religion, spirituality and philosophy have no place in our lives?

    If you want to make the claim that religion or spirituality or philosophy explains in any way how the physical world operates, then I would have to say, yeah, they have no place in our lives.

    I don’t even understand why people bring up art or philosophy or even religion when the issue is the utter stupidity and foolishness of trying impose creationism and intelligent design on science curricula.

    It’s kinda like a person going to the doctor and saying that she had a pain in her arm, and the doctor replying, “OK. Let me sing you a song.”

  102. 102
    scav says:

    But could we just keep Mona’s twinkle and the wondrous musings it inspires out of the instruction manual for power plants and elevator design if you don’t mind? Or is miz going to allow the interpolation of a canonical exegesis of the phylum chordata midst all the begats as fair play? Insist that the Upanishad Creation myth appear between Genesis and Exodus and be made readily available in the back of all pews and hotel desks.

  103. 103
    Brachiator says:

    Atheism is simply the BElIEF there is no living or dead God that explains the universe, all of it.

    Not quite. Atheism is generally the assertion that there is no deity. And the advantage goes to the atheists in that no deity has popped up to refute them.

    But to those interested in the general topic, Andy Ihnatko, tech columnist for the Chicago Tribune, has an absolutely delightful podcast in which he discusses Penn Gillette’s book about magic, life and atheism, God, No!

    The podcast is also available on iTunes. Look for “Ihnatko Almanac.”

    Now, here’s the thing. Even though Ihnatko admires Gillette and agrees with some of his points, he absolutely (but gently and deftly) skewers him on the narrowness of his atheistic perspective when it comes to why other people may be religious or (like me) agnostic.

    There is also some cool stuff about being naked in zero gravity.

  104. 104
    Gretchen says:

    @Kola Noscopy:
    I’m not harshing on KU or Lawrence. Two of my kids graduated from KU and loved it. I just wish people in other places didn’t only hear of Kansas and Missouri from articles about Kris Kobach and ignorant, racist legislators. And yes, I’m sure daughter’s main motivation is to see new places and have some adventures.
    I’ve lived here so long I’d forgotten that they don’t serve biscuits and gravy everywhere for breakfast. Is that still true?

  105. 105
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Brachiator: “Not really”….

    That’s it? Are you saying that science, indeed, addresses everything, every aspect of human life, every emotion, every act of heroism or cowardice, every hope and joy and sorrow? What use do art and philosophy and (for lack of a better term) spirituality have?

  106. 106
    General Stuck says:

    @scav:

    Oh, I’m just musing about religion and its opponents in general. Creative Design and Intelligent design are no more than religious fundies trying to weasel into science, a poison pill of faux comparison, to ultimately discredit it with the fairy tales of Genesis, and other biblical belief. It has no business in a science classroom, though I am not against it being taught as philosophy of a sort.

  107. 107
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    I gotta but out of the conversation for a while. For reasons I cannot explain entirely with science, loved ones wish to celebrate my birthday.

  108. 108
    scav says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Well, to be slightly snarky, placebos springs to mind. To be fair, placebos seem to work, for some unknown reason, even in instances where not much else seems to help. I’m rather fond of them, all in all. But just because pharmacology hasn’t cured all disease don’t means its utterly useless and the efficacy of placebos in certain cases don’t mean we should dump the rest of the medicine cabinet and suck on nothing but sugar pills.

  109. 109
  110. 110
    scav says:

    @General Stuck: ‘Bout the same here, Everything thrown into the pot, but that means the Upanishad as well as Genesis, and Confucius as well as the Moasaic 10 Commandments a Day vitamin pack.

  111. 111
    Brachiator says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): RE: “Not really”….

    That’s it? Are you saying that science, indeed, addresses everything, every aspect of human life, every emotion, every act of heroism or cowardice, every hope and joy and sorrow? What use do art and philosophy and (for lack of a better term) spirituality have?

    Not at all. This is one of the reasons why I recommended that people listen to the Ihnatko Almanac podcast.

    Because the discussion here is too narrow, people are getting defensive, and it is pointless to try to assert, imply, waggle or inveigh some binary opposition between art and science. Art shouldn’t even be dragged into the discussion when talking about the utter stupidity of creationism. Gives Art a bad name. And a bad reputation. It’s like walking Art down into a seedy part of town.

    When I hop into my car to visit a hot babe, every hope, joy and sorrow I have during my heroic journey is dependent upon physics and mechanical engineering in making that car go.

    I’ll leave it to you to untangle the art and the science.

  112. 112
    The Crafty Trilobite says:

    This makes me want to become a legislator, slap the definition of “douchebag” in a bill, then require that all Republicans be referred to as such in any official state capacity.

    Heh. Here in Washington State, one of our cartoonists tried to get a referendum on the ballot declaring Tim Eymann (a very wealthy, very right-wing serial referendum-maker) a horse’s ass. The Court killed it, alas. :)

  113. 113

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