Thursday, October 01, 2009


Poor Kids!

Barbara Forrest has been following the shenanigans of the creationists in Louisiana as they rig the system to make it possible to foist their anti-science materials on students in public schools in the state. It all started with the "Louisiana Science Education Act," the name of which would fill George Orwell full of envy.

One of the main perpetrators of this educational three card monty game is the Louisiana Family Forum, a state affiliate of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. And ... surprise, surprise! ... the LFF has its own supplementary materials ready to go. I just opened one up, more or less randomly (the "addendum" for Biology by K. R. Miller and J. Levine, 2002) and, sure enough, it's as bad as you'd expect:

An addendum is necessary because the authors have written the text around the idea that evolution is an essential part of biology. It should be remembered that biology is the study of living things . It is not necessary to know about an organism's origin to determine how it functions internally and extern ally, to how it relates to other organisms and to make predictions about other organisms. Origin of and similarity to other organisms, while interesting, is not necessary to understand the detail functioning of a specific organism.

Not necessary? To understand why life is the way it it? Why some organism are more similar than others? How they changed over time? All you need to know is rote information and stamp-collected facts?

But it doesn't end just with a plea to students to squelch their curiosity. There is also the old guff about microevolution (okay) and macroevolution ("Has no proven examples"). And what would any creationist bafflegab be without a quote mine?:

All paleontologists know that the fossil record contains little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions between major groups.

... Or two:

The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology. The evolution trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches, the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of fossils.

... Or three:

Why then is not every geologic formation and stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic change, and this is perhaps the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory [of macro-evolution].

Education is already in short supply in that state and now the children of Louisiana will have to beg for scraps.


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