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As others have pointed out, OSC's problem is that he's not really read the actual evolutionist reactions to Behe and company. That's not to say there aren't evolutionists who get riled up and say silly things. Indeed far too many have. And I think, by and large, these hurt rather than help the cause of science. But there most definitely are responses and its unfortunate that Card isn't aware of this.

Given that the ID debate is currently going on in Utah, I find it curious that to my knowledge, nobody has brought up the fact that Utah schoolchildren are all given the opportunity to learn not just ID but outright creationism! The class in which this is taught appears on a highschool transcript as "Release Time" otherwise known as Seminary and is available to students of any (or no) faith. Why Utah needs a law forcing all students to learn ID is beyond me.

Actually, Buttars' bill doesn't prescribe the teaching of ID. Like Card, he proposes that more tentative language be used when teaching evolution. My counterproposal is that Buttars get over his phobia of theories that challenge popular views.

Thanks for pointing out this essay, which I might otherwise not have seen.

Dave wrote "I'm not sure the article really makes clear what OSC's own position is on evolution or ID."

That is actually what I liked most about his article. He steers completely clear of any form of fanaticism, to the point of not offering his own opinion. This only further punctuates his point that all schools of thought should always be considered, and taught. We are blinded when we become so concerned with our own opinions that we are unwilling to question all existing theories.

Text of Buttar's bill.

It seems that the bill goes further than Card does. To me, Card is saying that the biochemical details of the first origins of life are unclear, but that evolution and natural selection are concepts that are supported by both evolution and serious ID. Buttars is saying something much less specific which might be regarded as anti-science. To me the bill is saying that we aren't very sure about anything, which isn't the case.

Vie, there's no way to consider and teach all schools of thought, nor would we want to. We have to apply some kind of filter to sift the wheat from the chaff. This is what science is all about.

Personally, OSC should have professed his belief in the one, true Designer, for everone should be touched by his noodly appendage.

Darren--that is awesome. He is truly a genius.

No one would argue that it is impossible to teach in a classroom setting every school of thought that exists. However, I think Card makes a valid point that Darwinism is often taught as a fact more than as a theory. I think the best solution would be to apply a filter as you suggested, but rather than filtering out everything but Darwinism, leave room for several theories to be examined until such time as one theory can be made fact.


I'm not aware of any scientific theories that compete with Darwinism. (There are a few supplementary theories.)

The confidence level associated with Darwinism is quite high. Whether it's high enough to consider it a fact is a question of semantics.

I would say the confidence level for evolution is quite high. It seems even Darwin wasn't totally confident about Darwinism. It's a theory, and anyone who believes it is a fact is treating Darwinism as a religion, believing based on faith regardless of new evidence or questions that come up.

If by Darwinism we mean evolution through mutation and natural selection, then yes, there is a very high confidence level for Darwinism. How high does it have to be before we can call it a fact?

There are very few 'facts' in all of science. Theories are a sets of proposed explanations of observed phenomena, subject to further alteration/refinement based on further evidence. Biological evolution has butt-loads of directly observed and indirectly observed evidence which fits well into the framework set forward by biologists. All good scientists are open to additional evidence and acknowledge that ALL the data may never be in, but no good scientist wants to stop looking for evidence to further test the theory, which is what ID is: things are so complex (irreducibly complex, I believe) that a creator MUST have done something at some time.
That ID is an ‘alternative’ is utter BS.

I can't help but wonder if you read this article. I would not be able to explain any better than Card does. Refer to the sections with the headings "Darwinism vs. Evolution", "Insufficiencies" and "Why Theories Get Revised".

In case of confusion, my comment was meant for Will.

In the context of the Utah's legislature present consideration of an ID bill, there's a new book out on the Mormons & Evolution theme: see this post for a nice summary.

Do scientists have significantly less confidence in the theory of evolution than they do in the theory of gravity or the theory of relativity, for example? If creationists or IDers succeed in changing science teachers' language to be more tentative on one theory than on another, when really the degree of confidence is about the same, students will get the wrong impression.

Beijing hit the nail on the head. Every field has a handful of crackpots who come up with their own theories, evidence be damned. So according to Buttars' logic, every fact that's taught in school should be preceded by the disclaimer: "Not everyone agrees with this."

In my experience, textbook authors are generally quite open about distinguishing material broadly accepted within the field from particular points that are subject to dispute (which are noted as disputed and differing viewpoints are often summarized).

On occasion, even a particularly interesting or relevant item of speculation is included, generally identified as such.

Given this approach, it's hard to see why some bio textbook authors don't include a chapter entitled "Why Evolution is so Controversial," in which different views are discussed, including the ID critique. Biologists don't have to endorse it, just give it a fair enough summary in a few pages that the broad sector of the public who sympathize with that view feel it is at least given its 15 minutes in the curriculum. I think this would eliminate some of the public rancor on the curriculum issue.

A chapter? A sentence would suffice.

"Evolution is only controversial among religious nut jobs who think 'In the beginning...' is sound science."

Hmm. Maybe that's a bit harsh. It might take a paragraph. But a whole chapter?

One of the main problems with the way the "debate" has been framed is that ID-ers stack the debate. That is, there will be two ID-ers and two evolution-ers presenting the case, and the audience thinks that's how scientific opinion falls - 50/50. Of course, it's not.

One of my favorite illustrations of this is the NCSE's Project Steve.

I thought (I know I'm probably wrong) that the theory of relativity is being reviewed due to new theories (string theory?). Again, I could be wrong, but it seems as though I was watching a physicist explain this somewhere.

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