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Sneaking God Into Science Classes: The Rise Of The ā€˜Academic Freedom' Bill

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Sneaking God Into Science Classes: The Rise Of The ā€˜Academic Freedom' Bill

February 21, 2013 By 110 Comments

Right-wing religious groups are fighting harder than ever to bring Christianity into the classroom, and in some states, they're actually winning.

 

Since 2004, militant Christians in various states have pushed for legislators to pass "academic freedom" bills. According to the National Center for Science Education, these bills permit, but do not require, teachers to include Creationist material in science classes:

 

 

There are two main strains of "academic freedom" bills. The first mandates that teachers be able to discuss "the full range of scientific views regarding biological and chemical evolution," and offers students "protection for subscribing to a particular position on views regarding biological or chemical evolution."

 

The second strain does not purport to be concerned with student rights, and cites the need to help students develop "critical thinking skills" on "controversial issues." To this end, it permits teachers to discuss "the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories."

 

Writing in February for The Week, Dana Liebelson called the bill "Creationism in sheep's clothing." It's trickier to navigate than your average Intelligent Design bill, she wrote, because it technically doesn't mandate religious curriculum. Instead, it advocated for students to consider different "perspectives" when it came to science education.

 

A U.S. district court ruled in 2005 that teaching Intelligent Design in public schools is unconstitutional, but this type of bill might be a way for Christian zealots to sidestep that hurdle. And now that activists have discovered the loophole, academic freedom bills are showing up in more legislatures than ever before:

 

In the last few years, the number of these bills has skyrocketed, with 51 proposed since 2004, and twice as many proposed this year than in all of 2012. (Remember, it's only February).

 

According to Liebelson, academic freedom bills specifically target science education, encouraging students to explore "alternative theories" to well-established scientific principles like climate change and evolution (apparently you can get away with anything if it's in the name of creative exchange):

 

The secret weapon in these bills is the idea that pupils should understand the "strengths and weaknesses" of different scientific theories. Which theories? Well, as a bill proposed by four Republican state senators in Arizona makes clear, that would be "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning." Coincidentally, these are the exact same theories that House Bill 1674 in Oklahoma, proposed by GOP state Rep. Gus Blackwell, considers controversial. His legislation even prevents teachers from flunking students who write papers debunking their textbook material. Seriously.

 

Thankfully, scientists don't exactly agree with Blackwell's proposal:

 

Teachers and scientists say they're all for scientific questioning - when it's actually about science. "Teaching about the existence of genuine scientific controversy is educationally valuable, but it must be genuine controversy, with serious scientists lining up on both sides," says Richard Dawkins of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. "Intelligent design is not a scientific theory."

 

Because an academic freedom bill can, in some ways, seem less threatening than a bill mandating religious curriculum, provisions for anything-goes science education can go virtually undetected:

 

The language in most of these bills is so obtuse that you might not even know if you live in one of the six states considering them (Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri, and Indiana).

 

In most states, academic freedom bills have failed - but they're gaining momentum. In 2008 Louisiana became the first state to successfully pass one. In 2011, another passed in Tennessee. Colorado rejected an academic freedom bill in early February, while bills have been tabled in several other states.

 

But it's a slippery slope from so-called academic freedom to outright evangelizing in schools, and that might be where we're headed if the trend keeps up. As Liebelson writes of one politician:

 

Rick Brattin, a Republican state representative in Missouri, went so far as to propose a bill late last month that actually requires Missouri public school teachers to devote equal time and space to the teaching of intelligent design, "destiny," and any other creation theory a teacher might want to rustle up. "I've had numerous college professors within biology, school science teachers... who say they are not allowed to teach any type of theory [like Intelligent Design]... They are banned from the science community," he tells The Riverfront Times.

 

Ironically, the state rep's frustration says it all. We've reached a point where elected officials are disgusted that science classes teach, well, science. Politicians may hold whatever beliefs they choose, but hijacking a student's education in the name of religion is more offensive than anything.

 

by on Feb. 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Replies (41-50):
stormcris
by Christy on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

There are many schools of intelligent design thinking of which several who do not even involve a deity. The hypothesis would be that beings resulted through purposeful design. However, I would suggest supporting evidence be directed in the form of mathematical probability and quantum physics as it would relate to a universal order rather than perceived chance or happenstance evolution. It is rather easy for someone to take a philosophy book and say well it says this and I feel those people were correct it stretches the ability of critical thought to ignore it and find a sound explanation.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

Developing a testable theory as to where or not god exists and the study of abstracts under the scientific method could prove beneficial. Creationism in sheep's clothing I think is a stretch. If you are giving critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligence design through hypothesis it could have its place. Critical thinking seems to be a weakness in school studies.

 

How in the world would you give critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligent design through hypothesis?



I want to discuss the first sentence before anything else.

Please explain to me what that means, an intelligent designer that would not involve a deity.


A cosmic balance or force that exists much like gravity. I sort of went into it with speaking on how to go about the hypothesis in order to use critical thinking. Basically the idea that the universe is ordered not random and creates to keep a set balance.

I don't know what that means.

When people say "intelligent design" they are positing a designer.

What sort of "balance or force" could there be that exists to design without purpose or mindfulness about it?

Gravity has no mind to it at all, matter acts as it does, unthinking.

Not everyone who says intelligent design posits a designer.

If you contend the universe has a purpose to its design it is therefore intelligent. It becomes the designer. The universe is not a deity. There is also the intelligent design idea that concious thought from another universe created this universe which would likes be intelligent.

The student would most likely have to use the Theory of Everything and its corresponding conditions via String Theory, Guage Theory and M-Theory in conducting a proof but they could choose another route. 

Everything in your middle paragraph is just supposition.  There is nothing remotely scientific about it.  If a person supposes an intelligent designer or posits that conscious thought from another universe created this universe, they should be prepared to have some evidence.  

I don't even know how you'd test such a thing.

And....realistically, this is really all about making non-science scientific so we can add in everything but the kitchen sink God.

That would be the point of the exercise to use evidence to support your position which is critical thinking and science. It is the very foundation of it.


Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:18 AM
1 mom liked this

RAmen

Quoting Goodwoman614:

Pasta! I demand pasta in science class!


Sekirei
by Nari Trickster on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Well, to be fair, then they need to teach every creation story of every faith practiced...

Asatru, Wicca, Hindu, Kemetic Orthodoxy, Shinto, ..hell, I believe that each Native American tribe has their own creation story

romalove
by Roma on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:22 AM


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

There are many schools of intelligent design thinking of which several who do not even involve a deity. The hypothesis would be that beings resulted through purposeful design. However, I would suggest supporting evidence be directed in the form of mathematical probability and quantum physics as it would relate to a universal order rather than perceived chance or happenstance evolution. It is rather easy for someone to take a philosophy book and say well it says this and I feel those people were correct it stretches the ability of critical thought to ignore it and find a sound explanation.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

Developing a testable theory as to where or not god exists and the study of abstracts under the scientific method could prove beneficial. Creationism in sheep's clothing I think is a stretch. If you are giving critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligence design through hypothesis it could have its place. Critical thinking seems to be a weakness in school studies.

 

How in the world would you give critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligent design through hypothesis?



I want to discuss the first sentence before anything else.

Please explain to me what that means, an intelligent designer that would not involve a deity.


A cosmic balance or force that exists much like gravity. I sort of went into it with speaking on how to go about the hypothesis in order to use critical thinking. Basically the idea that the universe is ordered not random and creates to keep a set balance.

I don't know what that means.

When people say "intelligent design" they are positing a designer.

What sort of "balance or force" could there be that exists to design without purpose or mindfulness about it?

Gravity has no mind to it at all, matter acts as it does, unthinking.

Not everyone who says intelligent design posits a designer.

If you contend the universe has a purpose to its design it is therefore intelligent. It becomes the designer. The universe is not a deity. There is also the intelligent design idea that concious thought from another universe created this universe which would likes be intelligent.

The student would most likely have to use the Theory of Everything and its corresponding conditions via String Theory, Guage Theory and M-Theory in conducting a proof but they could choose another route. 

Everything in your middle paragraph is just supposition.  There is nothing remotely scientific about it.  If a person supposes an intelligent designer or posits that conscious thought from another universe created this universe, they should be prepared to have some evidence.  

I don't even know how you'd test such a thing.

And....realistically, this is really all about making non-science scientific so we can add in everything but the kitchen sink God.

That would be the point of the exercise to use evidence to support your position which is critical thinking and science. It is the very foundation of it.


Does any exist?  Where would a student get such evidence, since scientists themselves don't find it?

stormcris
by Christy on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:27 AM


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

There are many schools of intelligent design thinking of which several who do not even involve a deity. The hypothesis would be that beings resulted through purposeful design. However, I would suggest supporting evidence be directed in the form of mathematical probability and quantum physics as it would relate to a universal order rather than perceived chance or happenstance evolution. It is rather easy for someone to take a philosophy book and say well it says this and I feel those people were correct it stretches the ability of critical thought to ignore it and find a sound explanation.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

Developing a testable theory as to where or not god exists and the study of abstracts under the scientific method could prove beneficial. Creationism in sheep's clothing I think is a stretch. If you are giving critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligence design through hypothesis it could have its place. Critical thinking seems to be a weakness in school studies.

 

How in the world would you give critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligent design through hypothesis?



I want to discuss the first sentence before anything else.

Please explain to me what that means, an intelligent designer that would not involve a deity.


A cosmic balance or force that exists much like gravity. I sort of went into it with speaking on how to go about the hypothesis in order to use critical thinking. Basically the idea that the universe is ordered not random and creates to keep a set balance.

I don't know what that means.

When people say "intelligent design" they are positing a designer.

What sort of "balance or force" could there be that exists to design without purpose or mindfulness about it?

Gravity has no mind to it at all, matter acts as it does, unthinking.

Not everyone who says intelligent design posits a designer.

If you contend the universe has a purpose to its design it is therefore intelligent. It becomes the designer. The universe is not a deity. There is also the intelligent design idea that concious thought from another universe created this universe which would likes be intelligent.

The student would most likely have to use the Theory of Everything and its corresponding conditions via String Theory, Guage Theory and M-Theory in conducting a proof but they could choose another route. 

Everything in your middle paragraph is just supposition.  There is nothing remotely scientific about it.  If a person supposes an intelligent designer or posits that conscious thought from another universe created this universe, they should be prepared to have some evidence.  

I don't even know how you'd test such a thing.

And....realistically, this is really all about making non-science scientific so we can add in everything but the kitchen sink God.

That would be the point of the exercise to use evidence to support your position which is critical thinking and science. It is the very foundation of it.


Does any exist?  Where would a student get such evidence, since scientists themselves don't find it?

Using the evidence discovered on the theories I mentioned or by using mathematical formulas or a combination of the two or combining other already proven scientific principles.  Theories are not proofs but when you allow students to test their ideas in such a manner occasionally great things are discovered. 

romalove
by Roma on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:30 AM


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

There are many schools of intelligent design thinking of which several who do not even involve a deity. The hypothesis would be that beings resulted through purposeful design. However, I would suggest supporting evidence be directed in the form of mathematical probability and quantum physics as it would relate to a universal order rather than perceived chance or happenstance evolution. It is rather easy for someone to take a philosophy book and say well it says this and I feel those people were correct it stretches the ability of critical thought to ignore it and find a sound explanation.

Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:

Developing a testable theory as to where or not god exists and the study of abstracts under the scientific method could prove beneficial. Creationism in sheep's clothing I think is a stretch. If you are giving critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligence design through hypothesis it could have its place. Critical thinking seems to be a weakness in school studies.

 

How in the world would you give critical thinking lessons of the idea of intelligent design through hypothesis?



I want to discuss the first sentence before anything else.

Please explain to me what that means, an intelligent designer that would not involve a deity.


A cosmic balance or force that exists much like gravity. I sort of went into it with speaking on how to go about the hypothesis in order to use critical thinking. Basically the idea that the universe is ordered not random and creates to keep a set balance.

I don't know what that means.

When people say "intelligent design" they are positing a designer.

What sort of "balance or force" could there be that exists to design without purpose or mindfulness about it?

Gravity has no mind to it at all, matter acts as it does, unthinking.

Not everyone who says intelligent design posits a designer.

If you contend the universe has a purpose to its design it is therefore intelligent. It becomes the designer. The universe is not a deity. There is also the intelligent design idea that concious thought from another universe created this universe which would likes be intelligent.

The student would most likely have to use the Theory of Everything and its corresponding conditions via String Theory, Guage Theory and M-Theory in conducting a proof but they could choose another route. 

Everything in your middle paragraph is just supposition.  There is nothing remotely scientific about it.  If a person supposes an intelligent designer or posits that conscious thought from another universe created this universe, they should be prepared to have some evidence.  

I don't even know how you'd test such a thing.

And....realistically, this is really all about making non-science scientific so we can add in everything but the kitchen sink God.

That would be the point of the exercise to use evidence to support your position which is critical thinking and science. It is the very foundation of it.


Does any exist?  Where would a student get such evidence, since scientists themselves don't find it?

Using the evidence discovered on the theories I mentioned or by using mathematical formulas or a combination of the two or combining other already proven scientific principles.  Theories are not proofs but when you allow students to test their ideas in such a manner occasionally great things are discovered. 

stormcris...we are talking about high school kids here.  We are talking about science classes of less than an hour a day.  In a biology class, where they have to get so much information in, they don't have time or the need to do such esoteric nonsense.  Yes, nonsense, because we're not talking about researchers in a lab.  We're talking about teaching kids what we already know.

I don't even know how to respond to "theories are not proofs".  Scientific theories are designated as such after all the hard science work is done, after hypothesis and experiment and checking and rechecking of work, etc.  High school students aren't going to be making experiments on string theory in biology class in order to research whether or not intelligent design is actual science.

We teach science that's already science, not stuff we hope will be science.

redhead-bedhead
by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:36 AM

Careful that sounds suspiciously like something a Pagan would say.

Remember it's the big man in the sky telling you what to do.

Quoting rayroe2:

 do you take mushrooms? I don't know what those are. I do know you can get them on your pizza. You don't know how to relax and just let the earth tell you what to do.

Quoting LindaClement:

Is there a recommended dosage for those mushrooms?

Quoting rayroe2:

 The human body is science and God created us so therefor ladies it is in science deal with it. Get you're simple minds to expand.


 


stormcris
by Christy on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:45 AM


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:
evidence, since scientists themselves don't find it?

Using the evidence discovered on the theories I mentioned or by using mathematical formulas or a combination of the two or combining other already proven scientific principles.  Theories are not proofs but when you allow students to test their ideas in such a manner occasionally great things are discovered. 

stormcris...we are talking about high school kids here.  We are talking about science classes of less than an hour a day.  In a biology class, where they have to get so much information in, they don't have time or the need to do such esoteric nonsense.  Yes, nonsense, because we're not talking about researchers in a lab.  We're talking about teaching kids what we already know.

I don't even know how to respond to "theories are not proofs".  Scientific theories are designated as such after all the hard science work is done, after hypothesis and experiment and checking and rechecking of work, etc.  High school students aren't going to be making experiments on string theory in biology class in order to research whether or not intelligent design is actual science.

We teach science that's already science, not stuff we hope will be science.

Ok had to cut the tree

When I said theories are not proofs...

Theories demonstrate evidence that a hypothesis is true. It however is not proof because that would make it fact. 

The point would be to formulate a paper in which you supported your hypothesis based on research from science. 

The idea is to get them to think and support their position which prepares them for college. I will say that very little is done in many high schools today toward this. I am not thinking about this on lab experiments or long term studies because high school does not allow for that no matter what is being taught. We need to up our children's education and doing things like this teaches much more than intelligent design.

They could just as well do it for evolution and it would help. But my point being is I can see reasoning to showing multiple theories that are under development because you never know what can open a child's mind up. The could even go over the Theory of Everything which is certainly a controversial idea as much as Intelligent Design Theory. I just see how this if done correctly could be very helpful to the overall of society. Intelligent design is believed by a lot of people. It gets the students involved in their learning rather than just getting a bunch of information into their brain on the short term in order to pass some test.

Yet, I will concede if it becomes a religion class then it serves no purpose. 



romalove
by Roma on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:53 AM


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting stormcris:


Quoting romalove:
evidence, since scientists themselves don't find it?

Using the evidence discovered on the theories I mentioned or by using mathematical formulas or a combination of the two or combining other already proven scientific principles.  Theories are not proofs but when you allow students to test their ideas in such a manner occasionally great things are discovered. 

stormcris...we are talking about high school kids here.  We are talking about science classes of less than an hour a day.  In a biology class, where they have to get so much information in, they don't have time or the need to do such esoteric nonsense.  Yes, nonsense, because we're not talking about researchers in a lab.  We're talking about teaching kids what we already know.

I don't even know how to respond to "theories are not proofs".  Scientific theories are designated as such after all the hard science work is done, after hypothesis and experiment and checking and rechecking of work, etc.  High school students aren't going to be making experiments on string theory in biology class in order to research whether or not intelligent design is actual science.

We teach science that's already science, not stuff we hope will be science.

Ok had to cut the tree

When I said theories are not proofs...

Theories demonstrate evidence that a hypothesis is true. It however is not proof because that would make it fact. 

The point would be to formulate a paper in which you supported your hypothesis based on research from science. 

The idea is to get them to think and support their position which prepares them for college. I will say that very little is done in many high schools today toward this. I am not thinking about this on lab experiments or long term studies because high school does not allow for that no matter what is being taught. We need to up our children's education and doing things like this teaches much more than intelligent design.

They could just as well do it for evolution and it would help. But my point being is I can see reasoning to showing multiple theories that are under development because you never know what can open a child's mind up. The could even go over the Theory of Everything which is certainly a controversial idea as much as Intelligent Design Theory. I just see how this if done correctly could be very helpful to the overall of society. Intelligent design is believed by a lot of people. It gets the students involved in their learning rather than just getting a bunch of information into their brain on the short term in order to pass some test.

Yet, I will concede if it becomes a religion class then it serves no purpose. 



We are definitely going to disagree on this one, in part because you are throwing everything into the same pot as a "theory", whether it's a theory or a scientific theory, which is like comparing oranges and hammers.

luckystars2012
by Silver Member on Feb. 25, 2013 at 8:57 AM
I'm not seeing the problem.
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