Liberals Upset Over Virginia Bill Which Would Teach Alternatives To Climate Change And Evolution

Really upset

(Think Progress) A new bill, up for consideration this year in the Virginia General Assembly, would give Virginia’s public school teachers permission to teach about the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of “scientific theories” like evolution and global climate change. The bill is part of a national trend of legislative proposals, led by creationist organizations like the Discovery Institute and climate-change deniers such as the Heartland Institute.

Virginia State Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell (R) pre-filed House Bill 207 over the holidays for consideration by the House of Delegates when it reconvenes this week. His proposal would require Virginia elementary and secondary schools to teach about “scientific controversies” in science classes. It would require:

The Board [of Education] and each local school board, division superintendent, and school board employee shall create an environment in public elementary and secondary schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about scientific controversies in science classes..

My goodness, how awful to expose children to alternate points of view to make them think, to provide them with knowledge rather than indoctrination. If “climate change” and evolution are true, then they should be able to stand on their own.

More significantly, it creates a right for teachers to teach kids to be skeptical of “scientific theories” — even when overwhelming scientific consensus exists:

My goodness, isn’t that what science is all about, being skeptical? It’s surely not about consensus, which is not science.

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19 Comments

Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-09 18:02:44

I actually have a problem with this.

While AGW has been conclusively proven to be an invalid hypothesis, evolution has been separately and independently verified in at least a dozen different scientific disciplines, including genetics, botany, chemistry and geology, in addition to the various fields of biology and biochemistry.

More importantly is this: evolution does not have a political dimension. Whether you think evolution is valid or not, there is nothing the statists and Progs can use evolution for in pushing for their totalitarian agenda. Whether humans are of natural origin or of supernatural creation, we ARE special, as species go. Evolution happens naturally, and will continue to happen whether we attempt to do something or not.

AGW, by contrast, has a political dimension. If human actions create something, and ceasing action will cease the creation, then if you believe that something is bad you can justify calling for those actions to cease.

 
Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-09 18:15:22

And just to point out, the Discovery Institute, as I recall, was involved in the 2005 Kitzmiller v Dover Kansas State Supreme Court case where they being sued by parents for pushing this same agenda. They lost, in a courtroom presided over by a religious judge, because they could not demonstrate any separation between ID and creationism, and between those two and religion. The judge noted that whether ID/creationism are true or not is irrelevant, because what was at stake was what could be justly taught as SCIENCE, and science must and does reject out of hand all forms of supernatural causation, on the perfectly just grounds that supernatural causation is neither observable, testable, nor repeatable.

If you can’t observe it directly, test it directly, nor repeat it for testing purposes, it cannot be considered scientific. Even if miracles happen, God does not send miracles in response to human commands for repeatability, and so they cannot be proven.

Further, religious truths are supposed to be accepted on faith, and physical proof is not supposed to matter, as I recall. This is why while scientists will talk about the circumstances under which fundamental theories like evolution could be disproven (finding fossilized rabbits in Pre-Cambrian rock, for example), theists will not discuss circumstances under which they would cease to believe in God.

In order for something to be scientific, it’s “disproof condition” must be at least conceivable. If it is compatible with every potential state of affairs, as religious faith is supposed to be, it is outside the domain of science, and is not appropriate for a science classroom.

 
Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-09 18:23:39

And while I certainly agree that AGW fails to stand on its own, supported as it is by political action groups who have a vested interest in maintaining their taxpayer-supported revenue stream, evolution DOES stand alone, without political support. Robert Zubrin noted that conservative and religious groups who attack Progressives and statists do themselves no service trying to attack evolution, nor in tying evolution to the Progs, because it is impregnable. He noted further that the only place any part of Darwin’s work, to say nothing of later research, was vulnerable was when Darwin attempted to apply his work to the study of human civilizations in ‘The Descent of Man’, and that this was an invalid use of the theory in the first place, so attacking it undermines very little of the case for natural speciation.

Both agricultural engineering and pharmaceutical research spend huge amounts of time combating the results of evolution, just to point out two major examples. Insects continue to develop resistance to pesticides, as do weeds; this IS evolution in action. Bacteria develop resistances to anti-biotics; this too is evolution.

 
Comment by Thawed_Gumballs Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-09 18:40:30

Wow John, what a screed.
BTW, Evolution has not been proven as the theory only fills gaps that Evolution even cannot explain. Evolutionists try to use the theory to explain those gaps. But it has no proof other than the theory.

Evolution is the bastardization of adaptation. Adaptation is true and is observable.

But, why do people like you fear observable science? Why do you fear people questioning even established science?

When I was studying math, my math teachers pushed and prodded me to attack and question its theorems and laws. They pushed us to validate and proof the basic foundations of mathematics.

What do climate scientists ask us to do? Believe without question.

What do Evolutionists ask us to do? Believe without question.

 
Comment by Blick
2014-01-09 22:32:51

I think evolutionists evolved from apes but Believers were created in the image and likeness of God. That’s why we think so differently!

Just levity, Just Levity Lighten up already.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2014-01-09 22:50:56

All Americans, not just liberals, should be concerned about teaching creationism or ID in schools. The Chinese do not teach religion in their science classes.

 
Comment by Steve G
2014-01-10 07:27:06

Move to China, probelm solved.

Of course in China nobody has any “God given” rights, because there is no God.
You only have rights given by the State.
The State giveth and the State taken away.
Are you starting to see the importance of God now?

 
Comment by Thawed_Gumballs Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-10 09:26:16

J, those who try and spread non-state religion are killed or imprisoned.

Also, many believe that Evolution is also a religion, much like the theory of CAGW.

Science was created to study what GOD had created. To try and make sense of his creation. Evolution was created to counter GOD as the source.

Science is used to test theories. If the theory of creation does not stand, then there is nothing to fear.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2014-01-10 10:29:59

gumballs,

We are so far apart on this issue we have little to discuss, but we have to learn to live together.

I have no problem with God believers (my wife of 40+ yrs is), but problems arise when God believers want their beliefs reflected in the secular world. Teaching Christian creation in public schools not just wrong, but unlawful. School sponsored prayer in public schools is wrong and unlawful.

Please describe your scientific theory of creation.

 
Comment by Thawed_Gumballs Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-10 12:05:52

please describe your religious cult beliefs on AGW and Evolution.
Please provide observable evidence that both are now occurring.

 
Comment by david7134
2014-01-10 14:54:05

I agree with John. Evolution is not a theory, but a principal and is used by science. There are not any “gaps” in the science. Furthermore, the only place that has an issue with evolution is the US. The rest of the world accepts the principal and thus we need to prepare our children to meet the world and compete. Teaching “science” based in religion is a prescription for failure. The reason is that it will force children to view religion and a scientific principle on the same level. All rules of debate will apply and the children’s base religion will then be challenged. This could turn more people away from religion. Thus, an unwanted consequence.

As to the climate crap, that should not be in schools at all as it has not been accepted.

 
Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-10 16:36:30

Please find me an evolutionary biologist who asks you to believe without question. Do so and I will concede the point.

15,000+ different scientific papers concerning evolution are submitted for peer review and pass every year. Fewer than 20 concerning ID are SUBMITTED in any given year since the term Intelligent Design was invented in 1987. Not reviewed and passed, SUBMITTED. You can’t talk about bias from the reviewers if ID supporters don’t actually do much research.

I’ve already made my opinion on AGW clear.

 
Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-10 16:41:15

Charles Darwin was a religious believer who had received training as a minister prior to pursuing science. Darwin remained a religious man to the end of his life, and as I recall, came to view evolution as the means by which God created Man, not as a challenge to it. So did a number of American pastors who sent him letters in his lifetime.

One said (quoting from memory) “You have shown us that God did not create the world. Instead, He did something even more wonderful: He made the world create itself.”

 
Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-10 17:07:59

Right now?

There was a long running evolutionary experiment regarding a certain variety of bacteria a few years ago conducted by Richard Lenski at Michigan State Uni.

They used a bacterium called Escherichia coli (aka E. coli), and divided it up into groups based on a certain gene that the bacterium had called Ara, which could occur as either + or -, so that they could use the difference as a later check on errors. They took samples from each of 12 separate groups (six each of +/-) and let the sample grow, and then took samples from the new group and grew them, and so on, keeping the older populations in deep freeze for later testing. They have done this every day since the experiment began twenty years ago, adding up to more than 7000 bacterial generations per flask lineage last I heard.

Over time the bacteria have become very well-adapted to their food source – glucose – , much better than the e.coli currently residing in your stomach I might add. Whats more, wholly new traits have been observed; one lineage developed the ability to digest citrate, which was included in their environment; e.coli did not previously possess this ability, and only the laboratory ones do at this time.

You might not consider bacteria very impressive, but it’s not chosen to be impressive; it’s chosen because it has a short gestation period. Evolution occurs across generations; attempting to observe human evolution directly is thus impossible because we don’t live long enough. Trying to directly observe the evolution of whales and elephants is even worse, given their longer gestation periods and single-offspring births. Hence the reliance on fossil evidence, both in the form of bone-turned-stone fossils found in the geologic column and in the junk-DNA form found in our genetic codes.

To give an example of the latter: the ability to produce ones own ascorbate (vitamin C) relies on a 5-gene sequence in all of the apes who can do this. Humans and other great apes such as chimpanzees cannot, of course, do this; but as it happens, we DO possess this five-gene sequence. However, one gene is broken and nonfunctional.

How and why it came to be that way is not something I’m familiar with, but it does beg the question: why, exactly, would an Intelligent Designer, or a creator deity for that matter, create us with BROKEN parts?

Creating us without the ability to produce our own ascorbate is easily explained away; in and of itself the lack of the ability proves nothing. The fact that a car can’t fly, for example, doesn’t mean it wasn’t intelligently designed; all it proves is that it wasn’t designed to fly. But what if you found a car that had BROKEN wings? Wing mounts and struts and wiring and all, but no wings. Obviously, this car MUST have been designed to fly, and the wings broke off.

This broken gene sequence requires that evolution has taken place at SOME point in human history; even if your explanation is that God created us with the ability and we subsequently lost it, you are still admitting that evolution happens, you’re only arguing about the extent to which it has occurred.

And as before, I denounce AGW as non-science driven by politics.

 
Comment by sciencegal57
2014-01-10 17:53:50

@John Pryce, You claim that “AGW has been conclusively proven to be an invalid hypothesis.” What in the world are you reading or smoking? You are absolutely wrong! Every major academic and scientific institution in the world supports the theory of AGW. Try reading the scientific literature instead of the denial blogs or media reports.

 
Comment by david7134
2014-01-10 18:17:26

sciencegal,
Every physician used to support the idea of leaches to adjust imbalances in bile. People used to think that high cholesterol was something that needed to be treated and many government programs were used to adjust the diet which had nothing to do with disease and only worsened the situation. The fact that most institutions ascribe to AGW means that they receive Federal funds. So, presents references to the science. The sites that I have visited do not have adequate supporting data. And I have been to the sites that people like you refer to.

 
Comment by John Pryce Subscribed to comments via email
2014-01-10 18:20:47

Really?

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

http://www.populartechnology.net/2013/05/97-study-falsely-classifies-scientists.html

I have and do read scientific literature. When I say that it is an invalid hypothesis, I mean in the sense that “the planet is warming, actions committed by Man have caused this warming (and it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t done what he did), and this will have catastrophic consequences for his future survival”.

That the planet is warming is not in dispute. It has been warming since the early 1800s, noticeably before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in America, and has continued apace on pretty much the same slope since then, despite ever growing levels of C02 in the atmosphere. The effects of this warming are not in dispute either: longer growing seasons, fewer cold-related deaths, lower heating costs, less road damage from freeze-pry, fewer and less violent storms, receding glaciers on Greenland (allowing it to be colonized again as it was during the Medieval Warm Period), and so on.

The principle effects of increasing C02 are also not in dispute: increased growth rates and maximum sizes for all land-based plant life.

So I apologize, I should have said “C AGW”, meaning “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.

 
Comment by Jeffery
2014-01-10 22:50:07

That physicians used to treat patients guided my superstition and unproven therapies doesn’t invalidate the theory of human-induced global warming.

Your claim that institutions that “ascribe to AGW” receive Federal funds is unsubstantiated, and even if true, would not invalidate the theory of human-induced global warming.

 
Comment by gitarcarver
2014-01-11 00:28:02

Your claim that institutions that “ascribe to AGW” receive Federal funds is unsubstantiated,……..

Really?

The White House reported to House Republicans that there are 18 federal agencies engaged in global warming activities in 2013, funding a wide range of programs, including scientific research, international climate assistance, incentivizing renewable energy technology and subsidies to renewable energy producers. Global warming spending is estimated to cost $22.2 billion this year, and $21.4 billion next year.

…….and even if true,……

There is no “if.” It is true.

……would not invalidate the theory of human-induced global warming.

It does, however, cast a negative light on the validity of the so called “research” when the money on slanted toward one outcome.

We already know that data has been fabricated, IPCC reports have been falisified, etc. so why keep ignoring the actual science absent the monetary incentives?

The fact is the the AGW crowd is not interested in science, but the money to protect and agenda.

 

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