Monday, April 2, 2012

From Excellence to Excresence

From the Midwest Science of Origins Conference to Rebuilding the Foundation: Demolishing the Pillars of Evolution...

PZ Myers was disheartened to hear that while we were enjoying the MSOC, the unsuspecting people of Bemidgi, Minnesota, were mistreated to seven hours of intelligent design/young earth creationist (?!!) lectures.  I wrote as follows to the apparently credulous writer of an article on the meeting which appeared in the Bemidgi Pioneer.

"Dear Ms. Wesley,

Patrick Moynihan once said “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but they are not entitled to their own facts.” Creationists hold strong opinions based on fanciful (and by no means universal) interpretations of origin stories found in Hebrew, Christian and Muslim holy books; proponents of biological evolution present facts – in the form of provisional knowledge – derived from over four centuries of accumulated scientific progress.

"Penni Cairns...said students raised on Creationism concepts can be confused and frustrated with evolution theory teachings because their beliefs are shot down by teachers following educational guidelines."

Science teachers are not responsible for their students' confusion, their parents and pastors are. Creationism is a religious concept not a scientific one. It does nothing to prepare our children for the demanding disciplines of science, biology, physics, and math they need to make their way in the world.

"The inclusion of Intelligent Design in schools’ studies of life origins is overdue, said the superintendent of Bagley schools."

Superintendent Cairns should know that intelligent design was repudiated as a poorly concealed religious dogma in the Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707, Docket no. 4cv2688). It is illegal to teach intelligent design in the public school classroom.

Most surprisingly Drs. Morris and Jeanson seem to be arguing in favor of both intelligent design and young earth creationism. These are conflicting concepts among the myriad sects of evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity. I wouldn’t expect you to know this without advance study, but the presenters at “Rebuilding the Foundation: Demolishing the Pillars of Evolution” certainly should.

This weekend my kids and I attended the excellent Midwest Science of Origins Conference at the U of M – Morris.  Among the many fine talks we heard was a lecture by Dr. Neil Shubin, the paleontologist whose team discovered the important transitional fossil, Tiktaalik Roseae, in the Canadian Arctic, precisely where the science suggested it would be found. The story is also told in his book, Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body.  I commend it to you if you are interested in learning more about the marvels of human evolution as illuminated by modern science.

Be well."

We shall see if Ms. Wesley has anything to say in response.

UPDATE: Never heard from her...quelle surprise