March 22, 2007

Ben, thanks for dropping by. Since you dared to disagree and did so relatively politely, I will be happy to engage in some dialogue with you. However, I am not a scientist or a philosopher so please bear with me.

What Helphinstine did was not about “teaching controversy” or “critical thinking.” What he did is the same line of BS that has been handed down by the Creationism/Intelligent Design school for a long time. There is nothing wrong with students being exposed to such things, and I am not about to deny the Bible has a number of good lessons. But they are not scientific lessons.

And the line of BS is what? We can presuppose all day long on his motivation but what he has stated is that he was “trying to expose bias”. How is that a bad thing? Bias exists. You are biased against Creationism/Intelligent Design and I am biased against evolution. Which of us is evil and deserves banishment and public humiliation?

Science is completely scientific? All the time? Until it’s proven to be otherwise by those taught to think for themselves and question the status quo. Right? Isn’t that how we discovered the world is round? Theories like evolution are required to be questioned in order for them to ever attain the status of Scientific Law (like Newton’s Law). In fact, according to basic scientific logic, evolution fails as a theory and must remain in the realm of supported hypothesis. How? Theory requires 2 things.

1) Theory must be falsifiable & testable (evolution cannot be proven or tested. Any attempts to make a dramatic interspecies jump as would be required to get from primate to early man have failed. Miserably.

2) Theory must make predictions — it must tell you how something will occur. Evolution proponents cannot tell you how something will be constructed in the future. Rather it is most often used as a means of trying to solve a mystery which has already passed. A hypothesis is not a theory. It is simply a hypothesis. An educated guess.

I am not writing this as a defense of Intelligent Design at this time. What I am pointing out is that both are faith based belief systems which require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. I will say this. One system is continually finding more evidence to support it and one is not. I’ll let you do your own research.

Critical analysis of science is a difficult thing to teach at the high school level — it requires a level of experience in a given field beyond introductory work. But science as a process is accessible to high schoolers (observation, question, experiment).

Critical analysis of anything is difficult at any level. It appears to me Mr. Helphinstine was doing exactly that. 1) Observing a correlation between several types of behavior 2) Questioning the validity of that observation 3) Attempting to tie them together to determine if, indeed, his observation held true.

Now, his students can too. They can 1) Observe offering a differing opinion which challenges the status quo is costly 2) Question the validity of said status quo 3) Experiment by developing their own concepts and ideas. Unless of course, seeing adults go after each other like piranhas after a school of little fish intimidates them to the point they don’t even start the “scientific method” in the first place.

Unless Helphinstine was demonstrating how utterly unscientific the Creationists’ logic is (although I’m not sure “logic” is the right word), he was doing the students a disservice by giving them a false impression of what science is.

Science: The process for evaluating empirical knowledge. Empirical: Based on experiment and observation, or based entirely on practical experience. Logic: the use of critical thinking, particularly binary yes/no thinking and inductive/deductive reasoning, as a means of testing ideas and debate.

How is evolution even more “scientific” than Creationism? How is evolution based on empirical data? How is contemplating and presenting an opposing idea anything but “Logical”?

According to what I’m seeing here, he would be doing a disservice by presenting, as fact, the hypothesis of evolution and the Holy and Inspired words of Darwin. At least he was showing a complete and logical progression of thought when he dared to compare evolution/eugenics (The study of improving a species by artificial selection; usually refers to the selective breeding of humans) with the behavior of Nazi’s (who did do this) and Planned Parenthood (which is doing this today). He met the standard there. To add insult to injury, apparently, he also offered them the opportunity to examine additional information in HISTORICAL texts which would have enabled them to develop their OWN opinions rather simply regurgitate the glop they are spoon fed from Head start to Grad school.

But, I could be completely mistaken and we should be glad a teacher was reamed. A teacher who dared take a great risk in an effort to challenge the young minds put into his care. A teacher who actually cared enough about the “scientific process” to supplement his teaching with additional information. That’ll teach those kids to ever disagree. It’s 2007 isn’t it? Feels more like 1984.

By the way, if evolution is solid and logical why do it’s proponents work so diligently to eliminate reasoned and intelligent dissension? Why is debate in an EDUCATIONAL setting forbidden? Why do it’s proponents reduce themselves to name calling, insinuation and character assassination when confronted with it’s inconsistencies? To be fair, I can name a couple diehards who are completely assinine about presenting Intelligent Design. But, perhaps if we all sat down to the table and discussed our concepts using observation, questioning and experimentation we might find a grain or two of truth in common!

But that’s not as much fun, is it. And it doesn’t keep those damn Christian fundamentalists in their place. As long as we are subjugated, we can’t corrupt anyone with our confining 10 commandments and narrow moral standard.

Bummer. But my 10 commandments and narrow moral standard have done ok for me. I’ve never had an STD, abortion or served time. I’ve never harmed anyone physically and I am confident in my eternal destination. I’m happily and faithfully married, my kids aren’t in counseling and I can walk in my town without wondering whom I may run into and what story I should remember to tell. My life is so restrictive.

Maybe I should live a little, huh?